It takes a lot of love and dedication to keep up with something for 27 years. Ramona Widick sure knows this. For each of the past 27 years, she has made a donation to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.
Widick made her first gift when her seven-year-old black lab and Irish setter mix, Megan, hurt one of her vertebrae.
“We don’t know how she did it,” Widick reflects. “She was completely paralyzed — couldn’t stand or walk.”
Megan was an active dog, which made the prospect of a spinal injury particularly worrying.
“She had a personality of ‘Irish shredder.’ She was wild,” Widick says. “I taught her to dive off the pier. She’d run twenty feet down and fly off. Every day I’d go swimming, and she’d swim with me.”
Megan’s veterinarian in Minocqua, Wisconsin, told Widick to go to the UW School of Veterinary Medicine’s teaching hospital for spinal surgery. The pair headed to Madison immediately.
“They were waiting for us at the doors and took Megan right away,” Widick recalls.
After Megan’s surgery, UW Veterinary Care clinicians called every day to see how she was recovering. They told Widick to anticipate that Megan wouldn’t be able to walk for a week.
“I had a sling and took her out to do her business,” Widick says. “But, almost one week to the day after her surgery, she just got up and walked to us.”
Just like that, Megan was back to swimming with Widick. Megan lived for seven more years, passing away at 14 years old.
Since Megan’s surgery, Widick has donated to the School of Veterinary Medicine. When asked why, she expresses thanks for the care the school provided her dog.
“I just think it’s a great program down there,” she says.
But even more so, Widick’s dedication and philanthropic spirit stem from her love of animals.
“When I was a young girl, I always wanted to be a vet,” she notes. “Growing up, we had horses, dogs, and cats, you name it.”
After Megan, Widick has continued to have several pets at her home in Woodruff, Wisconsin, including her current companion, a cocker spaniel.