Cathy Morrison was born with a heart for animals in need

Cathy Morrison and her dog Annie Mae snuggled up together.

“One day, when I was about six years old, one of my grandmothers was putting down a litter of puppies because the mother had died,” said Morrison, who grew up in the area. “I was told to stay away, but I didn’t. Instead, I took the last puppy and ran to my other Granny who was visiting us and asked her to please save him. She said she’d try, but the puppy was so young it might not live.

“Granny fed him every couple of hours with tiny baby bottles for dolls and he did make it. We named him Lucky, and he lived a long, happy life.”

Morrison’s lifelong passions for animals and for giving back have dovetailed through her generous support of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

“I’ve always loved animals of all kinds. I grew up with cats, dogs, horses, and farm animals,” Morrison said. “My mother’s cousin, Emil Grinstead, graduated from WSU. I was totally awe-inspired by him because he was a small animal veterinarian, and I’d only known those that cared for large animals.”

Though she did not attend WSU, Morrison has been a Coug in spirit for nearly 30 years. Her long-time commitment to the CVM has been motivated not only by her love for animals but also by a fortuitous tour of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) in the mid-1990s.

“I watched a horse come out of anesthesia and put into water to swim and calm down. Then, it was picked up in a hoist and taken to a recovery area. I was amazed to see horses and cows being cared for like that,” she said.

“I also listened to veterinarians talk about how complex it is to enter the profession. They must learn about so many animals, and I was truly impressed by their depth of knowledge.”

Since that enlightening and inspiring visit, Morrison has not only given generously to the VTH, but her animals have also received expert care from the hospital’s team.

“The veterinarians have helped my dogs with several medical and behavioral issues. I’m most grateful for their caring words and support,” she said.

Morrison’s contributions to the VTH include a gift of land in 2020.

“The six-acre parcel had fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and the lights from Cle Elum and Roslyn. I bought the land in 2000 and my plan was to build a dream home there,” she said. “But life changes – and so do goals and desires. As a result, the land sat idle.”

While Morrison’s plans for a mountain-view home never came to fruition, she made a decision to ensure her land fulfilled a different dream and purpose.

“I thought about selling the property, but that felt wrong in my heart,” she said. “I’d already included WSU in my estate plans and asked myself why the school should wait to have this land to sell and its proceeds to benefit the hospital.”

The property sold earlier this year.

“I was aware, from previous conversations at WSU, that I could designate where the funds would be used,” Morrison said. “I asked for advice and was told the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s radiology department could really use a new ultrasound machine. There have been so many medical advances in recent years, and every new piece of equipment helps students and animals.

Morrison’s recent gift aligns with her deep-rooted commitment to giving. “I believe every person should, in some way, give back to society, people, animals, and the planet. The amount of time, money, or perhaps both, isn’t important. It’s the act of giving. If you’re lucky you’ll see, firsthand, the positive changes that occur.”