Local Foundation Pledges $2.5 Million to Keep Boston-Area Pets Healthy

Let's say you have a sick dog, cat, guinea pig, or even a snake. If you live in the Boston area, you might consider taking your ailing pet to the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals, part of Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. With a long history of supporting animal health causes, the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund pledged $2.5 million towards facility renovations—but there's a catch.

The animal hospital must raise $5 million more before the end of 2014 to receive the Peabody funds. Fortunately, a generous couple from Connecticut, Travis and Anne Engen, kicked in $2.5 million, as well. According to the veterinary school, the Engens were motivated to chip in because of positive personal experiences they had with the Tufts veterinarians. There's a couple million dollars left to raise, but there is still plenty of time in 2014.

This matching grant strategy seems to be the favored way to do business over at the Peabody. If you recall, we recently covered a $25,000 challenge grant that the foundation pledged to a domestic violence home -- as long as it raised that much on its own (Read Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund: Boston Area Grants).

At the Foster Hospital for Small Animals, common and exotic pets receive top-notch medical care from licensed veterinarians and veterinary students. The hospital was designed to care for about 12,000 small animals, but it treated twice as many last year, and the number of sick pets is growing. The money will be going toward Phase I of a renovation project that is estimated to cost $8 million. This project will increase the number of high-tech exam rooms and create larger specialty services treatment rooms for ophthalmology, cardiology, neurology, and dermatology care.  In turn, the veterinary staff hopes these renovations will reduce client wait times for specialized care.

"The Engen family and trustees of the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund understand what the hospital renovation will mean for us and truly value the school's mission of clinical service, teaching and research," said Deborah T. Kochevar, dean of the Cummings School. "With their support, the Cummings School is now much closer to obtaining the funding needed to start Phase I construction and we hope to be able to do that soon with continued support from the community."