Skip to Main Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer Navigation
Give Now

Profiles in Giving

Homage to Otto

Love of Doberman pinscher inspires a clinical residency focusing on kidney disease

Miles and Parker Collier adored Otto. The Doberman pinscher, says Miles, had a “captivating personality. Anyone who met him immediately fell in love with him.”

Otto was only 15 months old when he threw up after a long walk in the meadows and woods near the Collier home in Vermont. Concerned, the Colliers took him to the local veterinarian’s office, where blood tests revealed something was dangerously wrong with Otto’s kidneys. He needed immediate, specialized care. The Colliers rushed him to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, where Tufts veterinarians raced to save his life. Despite their efforts, after 10 days of urgent care, he succumbed to inexplicable kidney failure.

The Colliers were devastated. But out of their grief came a desire to honor Otto and the veterinarians who cared for him during his final days.

Their generous gift establishes a new three-year clinical residency position with a focus on nephrology (kidney disease). The residency strengthens the school’s research on small-animal nephrology and allows clinicians and veterinarians to spend more time helping dogs and cats with renal disease.

“It seemed like a natural thing to do, we were so impressed by the whole team involved in trying to help Otto,” says Miles. “Everyone obviously cared about Otto. Dr. Daure and Dr. Labato did their absolute best and were as heartbroken as we were when he died. That kind of passion deserves to be supported and we are pleased to do so.”

“Human patients and their families should have the time and caring and communication we experienced for Otto,” says Parker.

Mary Labato, V83, a clinical professor with a primary interest in disorders of the kidneys and bladder, says the gift will advance the school’s focus on a disease that threatens both dogs and cats.

“Kidney failure puts the animal at serious risk; kidney cells can’t regenerate like they can in the liver, lungs, bone, and skin,” she says. “We’re grateful to the Colliers for giving us the means to advance our research and training on how renal disease can be treated and managed so that animals can continue to have a quality life.”

Dr. Melisa Rosenthal, a graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, says she was thrilled to be selected through the highly competitive annual residency match program. “I chose Tufts for my residency largely because of the excellent dialysis program and the amazing advancements Cummings is making in treating kidney disease,” she says. “Having both treated and seen the challenges of kidney disease in my own pets, I understand how devastating this disease can be, and I wanted to be at a hospital where I felt like I could help make a difference in the lives of animals and the people who love them.” Peggy Manker, the Colliers’ long-time dog trainer, says the gift is an apt reflection of the family’s deep devotion to animals. “When I learned the Colliers made this gift in his honor, I cried,” she says. “I didn’t want people to forget Otto. I’m so glad they could turn his passing into something that will help other animals.”