Two benches face each other across a sidewalk in front of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Health Center. Each bears a plaque inscribed with a message.
The poignant memorial on one reads: In memory of Bridget and Bailey. Great Dogs and Greater Friends. Miss you always.
The second states: In honor of Hope, Josie and Connor. People rescue dogs. Dogs rescue people.
William H. Canney, a Detroit banker, has been rescuing, and in turn being rescued by, Brittany spaniels for the past eight years. When the Mizzou alumnus contemplated support for his alma mater, he chose the College of Veterinary Medicine as the beneficiary of his philanthropy.
“I thought that contributing to Vet Med was a furtherance to my assisting dogs,” he said. “I believe that the College of Veterinary Medicine is an undiscovered gem within the university. Through its mission, it benefits people throughout the state, from owners of domestic pets to Missourians raising farm animals. It transcends economic and geographic lines,” he said.
Canney said that he enjoyed his years at MU, which saw him involved in student government and inducted into one of the university’s elite honor societies. “Mizzou was an important part of my life and still is,” he said. He said he considers himself fortunate to be able to give back.
Canney has supported several CVM programs. In addition to the gift that financed the benches, he has donated to the Veterinary Health Center for the purchase of medical equipment, Barkley House, the Together in Grief Easing Recovery (TIGER) program, and he has endowed two student scholarships.
Each year the Abby Magnolia Scholarship provides an award to a student who demonstrates a commitment to rescue groups, shelters and community outreach. Canney named the scholarship in tribute to a 12-year-old dog he rescued. The Bridget and Bailey Scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates an understanding and commitment to strengthening the bond between people and animals. With the scholarship, Canney further honored the two beloved Brittanys he memorialized on the bench.
“The scholarships provide a legacy to these dogs and how special they were,” he said.
People rescue dogs. Dogs rescue people.