A passion for animals and an appreciation for outstanding veterinary care have inspired a new $1-million gift to the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

The donation from Lindy Barrow is one of the first leadership gifts to a $9-million fundraising campaign launched this fall through the OVC Pet Trust.

Lindy & Party Boy (2)
Lindy Barrow and Party Boy

OVC will use the donation to create the Lindy Barrow Minimally Invasive Procedures Suite. A first for any veterinary teaching hospital in Canada, this unit will include state-of-the-art technology that helps avoid major veterinary surgery, meaning less pain and faster recovery time for pets.

The dedicated suite is a significant component of OVC’s capital campaign, which supports surgery and anesthesia facilities to benefit companion animals.

“This generous gift will allow us to take techniques that have become the standard of care to the next level,” said OVC dean Jeff Wichtel.

“It helps us raise the bar of teaching and knowledge in veterinary medicine to help pets live better, healthier lives.”

Barrow, a retired accountant and breeder of award-winning West Highland terriers, is a longtime supporter of Pet Trust, Canada’s first charitable fund devoted to the health and well-being of companion animals.

In 2010, she saw OVC’s capabilities first-hand when her then three-year-old terrier, Party Boy, was diagnosed with a life-threatening skin condition.

Without OVC, Party Boy might have died, Barrow said. After eight months of treatment, her pet healed. In 2012, her terrier won “best of breed” at Westminster, the most prestigious dog show in the world.

“To move forward in any area of medicine requires the best equipment, facilities and innovation,” Barrow said.

“I feel very fortunate I am able to give back to organizations that align with my values and personal mandate.”

Barrow’s love for animals underpins her support for OVC Pet Trust. “Our pets give us so much and ask for so little in return. They are such a positive influence on our well-being – both mentally and physically – the least we can give them is the best life possible, including good health.”

OVC ranks No. 1 in Canada and fourth worldwide among veterinary schools, and is known for solving complex health issues in companion animals.

Every year, OVC treats more than 2,000 dogs, cats and other pets referred by veterinarians for advanced diagnostic and surgical procedures.

About 90 per cent of patients have serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and liver failure; about half require surgery and most of those need anesthesia.

A previous OVC Pet Trust campaign raised more than $13 million for the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer.

The new campaign, entitled “Friends Together for Longer,” aims to support facilities with surgical and diagnostic video and imaging devices, including operating microscopes, orthopedic and neurological equipment, and a sophisticated anesthesia and pain management unit.

More information about the OVC Pet Trust fundraising campaign is available online.