Lasting loyalty

BY GREG BREINING

Kari Seime and her dog, CillaKari Seime and her dog, Cilla

Kari Seime became a booster of the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) after she lost two dogs to heart problems.

Seime, a lawyer and senior labor relations consultant at the University of Minnesota, never had dogs as a kid but always loved them. “Whenever anybody else had a dog, I always had to play with it,” she says.

She took the leap into dog ownership as an adult in 1993, buying a toy poodle puppy she named Elvis. At age 11, Elvis developed a heart murmur and an enlarged heart. One day Seime found Elvis gasping. His gums and tongue were gray. Her vet said nothing could be done to save him, and Elvis was put down. “Heartbreaking,” says Seime.

A month later, Seime bought another toy poodle puppy and named him Coal. He lived a healthy life until age 12, when he, too, developed a heart murmur. “He was listless and coughing—I recognized what it was,” she says. This time she made an appointment to bring him to the University Veterinary Medical Center in two weeks. But when he began to wheeze, she decided, “He has to go to the U now.” She raced him to the clinic, where he was admitted to the ICU, put on diuretics, stabilized, and prescribed medications.

“I got another year with my precious little Coal that I never would have gotten without the emergency room, cardiology, and ICU. I think he probably would have passed away that weekend if I hadn’t gotten him to Vet Med,” Seime says. “That’s when I decided that I wanted to include the VMC in my estate planning because I think they provide such an important service.”

In addition to setting up a gift to the Veterinary Medical Center, Seime donates through the annual giving fund. She also volunteers and raises money for private animal welfare groups.

Seime is now a regular client of the Veterinary Medical Center, paying for the care of her newest dog, a four-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel-poodle mix named Cilla, with a U Pet Wellness Plan.

“I just think the VMC offers the best veterinary care for not only dogs, but for any animal that we have available in the region,” she says.

If you are interested in supporting the VMC, contact Bill Venne, chief development officer at the CVM, at 612-625-8480 or venne025@umn.edu.

Photo courtesy of Kari Seime