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Valvo Raag

The Inspiration

In the midst of his wife's mounting battle with cancer, Valvo Raag, of Lincoln, Mass., faced yet another challenge—his dog, a Belgian Tervuren named Taurus, was becoming increasingly aggressive. "We were struggling with what to do and did not want to have him euthanized," says Raag's daughter, Tarja Raag, who believed the stressful atmosphere in her parents' home was the likely cause of Taurus's behavioral change. Worried not only for her parents' safety, Ms. Raag also feared for her children. "Moreover, I was personally concerned that my dad be able to get his buddy healthy," she adds, "in case my mom did not make it through her treatment."

She did not. Sadly, Kaija Raag passed away last May, but her husband is not alone.

The day the Raag family realized that Taurus's condition required professional attention, Mr. Raag immediately recalled a letter he had received from the Cummings School development office. "I called on a whim," says his daughter. "They were very compassionate, listened to our long story, and made a connection for us with the behavioral department at the Foster Hospital—they saw Taurus that day."

After a year of medical treatment and training, Mr. Raag's beloved friend is back to his old self—but "1,000 percent better," according to one veterinary technician. "Taurus has really become a sweet and gentle guy," adds Raag's daughter. "He and my dad have become the sweetest pair. They are very close and it is really special to know that they have each other."

The Gift

In honor of the time that Drs. Nicholas Dodman, Niwako Ogata, and Steven Rowell spent with Taurus and the Raag family over the course of a very difficult year, Valvo Raag gave $10,000 to the Cummings Veterinary Fund for the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals. In a note attached to his gift, Mr. Raag wrote that these three doctors showed a kindness to him and his wife during her illness. Their care not only saved a dog's life, but also helped a grieving man.

The Impact

The Foster Hospital for Small Animals provides 24-hour service 365 days a year for dogs, cats, and other small animals kept as pets. More than 26,000 cases a year are treated at this teaching facility, with faculty specialists on hand for every field of animal medicine. And the hospital's devoted staff helps families like the Raags keep a happy, healthy home.