An Interview with dedicated PetAid donor, Mary Anne Mills

Mary Anne is a retired social worker who received her Master’s from the University of Denver and specialized in hospice care. Now retired, she spends much of her time supporting great causes such as PetAid Colorado, the Lutheran Medical Center Pet Therapy Program, and the Nature Conservancy.

About her pet:

Teddy, Toy Poodle b. 4/30/06 . . . While I don’t know his real birthday, as he was rescued from a puppy mill in Missouri, I’ve been told by one veterinarian who said Teddy was about nine years old, and another who said about eight, so I’ve chosen the “younger” year so we have as much time together as possible. When Teddy was rescued from the puppy mill, his long hair was matted and the people at the puppy mill thought he looked like a teddy bear, so thus the name, Teddy. I kept the name and he seems to like it!

How long have you been a pet owner? And when did your love for animals begin?

I always wanted a dog, but felt I didn’t have enough time to be a responsible pet owner. When my first pet, little Gizmo (an ancient Chihuahua/Poodle mix), walked into my life during a blue moon (really!) in Pagosa Springs at the local humane society, I came to understand that I’d learn how to make time for this important and incredible relationship. The origin of Gizmo’s name was derived from the humane society who thought he was a weird-looking little thing, and called him “Gizmo” after the character in the 1984 movie Gremlins, and it fit. We were together just 10 months and 24 days. We adopted each other on September 3, 2009 and said goodbye on April 27, 2011. To non-pet people this may sound peculiar, but Gizmo’s death was the most difficult loss of my life. But he also gave me so much life.

I consider myself a fairly recent pet owner, but now that I have the time and have experienced the rewards (and sometimes sorrows) of being a pet parent, I cannot imagine not having an animal in my life. They practice unconditional acceptance and love, a lesson all humans should learn. So along came Teddy, a grey one-eyed Toy Poodle. He came into my life as a foster dog and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with him. Having been rescued by a team of volunteers from a national mill dog rescue, he overcame a tough beginning and is now a pet therapy dog at Lutheran Hospital and Hospice. I’m grateful to little Gizmo because his presence in my life taught me about being a dog mom and prepared me to be patient as Teddy transitioned into a terrific little companion whose favorite thing in life is to visit people and their families and friends at the hospital.

How long have you been supporting PetAid Colorado?

I first became a supporter in 2011, when I discovered PetAid Animal Hospital through the Pet Loss Support Group I attended at the PetAid offices after the death of Gizmo. I wanted to support an organization that recognizes the terrific importance of pets to their owners and helps keep those relationships healthy. People should never have to choose between healthcare for themselves and healthcare for their pets.

Since 2011, I not only support PetAid but attend their annual fundraising event, Mutts & Models | The Fundraiser for Underprivileged Pets, every year. I am honored to have been chosen to serve as the honorary chair of this year’s event, which will be held May 16 at the Seawell Grand Ballroom in Denver. I hope to help PetAid continue its mission of helping pets and people in need, and plan to introduce as many people as possible to PetAid, encouraging them to get involved and support this wonderful organization in all that it does in our community and throughout Colorado. Won’t you join me?