John and Kristina Murphy let their devotion show through everything they do. At their home in East Troy, Wisconsin, their family of pets is largely rescue animals, including a poodle from a puppy mill and a cat with a fierce attitude that were both deemed “lost causes.” With patience and consistent care, however, all these pets have found a happy home with the Murphys.
When their standard poodle Luther was diagnosed with oral melanoma, John and Kristina gave him that same devoted care, although his prognosis was poor. “It’s a horrible disease,” said Kristina, “But we wanted to do something to improve the quality of his life. Our veterinarian suggested that we contact the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.”
Although no cure had yet been found, the Murphys were impressed by the developments being made in research and clinical trails at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM). John explained that recent clinical trials gave them hope for truly cutting-edge treatments for Luther as well as the idea that Luther’s experience might be able to benefit others.
“We felt there was a greater good,” said Kristina.
The Murphys began making weekly trips from East Troy to the Veterinary Care Teaching Hospital for treatments to improve Luther’s quality of life. “In spite of everything, we started looking forward to it,” said John. “It was a really great experience.”
“They treat the whole family,” said Kristina. “The owners and the pets.” The Murphys credited the friendly, enthusiastic veterinarians, technicians, and staff at the SVM for turning a terrible experience into a bearable one. Although they eventually lost Luther to cancer, John and Kristina gained a new connection with the people of the SVM and shared their passion for advancing animal and human health.
“When giving opportunities came around, we started giving modest gifts,” said Kristina. “If more people did that, those modest gifts would turn into something much greater.”
“We’ve given steadily through the years,” John added, explaining how they love helping the SVM work towards its goals in any way they can. “It gives a sense of involvement.”
The Murphys chose to donate to the Dean’s Annual Fund, which provides the school with flexibility to improve and expand upon its mission in education, research, and clinical service. According to Kristina, donating to the Dean’s Annual Fund was an easy choice. They wanted the school to have funds available to meet its needs and that the school could best decide what those needs are for itself.
“I’m confident that our gift, whatever it is, will be used wisely,” said Kristina.
The Murphys plan to continue giving to the SVM to support their work in the hope that dogs like Luther, and even humans who suffer from cancer and other debilitating diseases, may one day find answers.
“It’s an extraordinary place,” said Kristina. “We’re glad to be involved.”