Six months ago, Anja Peumans made the decision: she changed her will so that part of her inheritance would go to the Ghent University Animal Clinic. “I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Finally, I thought, I can fulfil my dream after I am gone”.
Fortunately this is a long way off, as Anja is a healthy and sprightly fifty-something. “I know that most of my contemporaries have not yet thought about their wills. But I am single and have no children. In those circumstances you have to think about it a little more.” It is no coincidence that the Limburger has included the Ghent University Animal Clinic in her will. It was the place that saved the life of her oldest dog.
Ghent University Animal Clinic: the last roll of the dice
It is now almost a year since Miep, a tough 11-year-old Westie – or West Highland Terrier – was given her death sentence after years of heart medication. “There’s nothing more we can do for her,” Anja’s local vet told her.
Anja would not accept this. As a last resort, she drove her dog to Ghent University’s Animal Clinic. It did not matter to her that she had to travel to the other side of Flanders. “My little dogs are my children. I would do anything for them.”
As for where to turn to, Anja had no hesitation. “I grew up on a farm. If ever there was a problem with the calves, my parents would go to the animal clinic of Ghent University. Without the clinic, a friend’s Westie would no longer be there, as she had something wrong with her kidneys. And then there was a colleague who took her dog to 13 different vets, but only the doctors in Ghent were able to treat her dog’s epilepsy. Everyone knows that’s where you should go if your pet has something serious”.
Quality costs money
For Miep, too, the consultation made all the difference. There was no question of imminent death. “They found out that there was nothing wrong with Miep’s heart, so she had been receiving the wrong treatment for years,” says Anja. Miep was healthy, suffering only from age-related conditions, so she was not out of treatment at all.
“Everyone at the clinic was very professional and correct. They took their time with me and Miep. I was very impressed. At the same time, I realised that quality costs money. The high-quality research materials and the top-class research they use to save animals: it’s all very expensive. I wanted to contribute to that.”
It was something that had been on Anja’s mind for some time. “I have loved animals all my life. My little dogs mean everything to me. But really, all animals are in my heart. That’s why I work for charities that help animals, support animal shelters... I would really give all my money to give them a better life”.
A will via Ghent University’s fundraising service
Of course, she still needs her money to live. “That’s why I thought ahead: I would donate my inheritance to a better life for animals. Impressed by the professionalism of the veterinary clinic, she soon met Terry and Elien from Ghent University’s fundraising department. “The great thing is that I can choose where my money goes: a part of it now goes not only to an animal shelter, but also to the veterinary clinic. That’s how it’s written in my will. When I am no longer here, I will be saving animals’ lives. How good is that!”
Terry and Elien helped her with all the practicalities. Anja smiles: “All I had to do was say what I wanted, and they took care of everything else. I received a ready-made will, completely adapted to my personal wishes. I could then go straight to the notary”.
“And you know what the best part is?” she adds enthusiastically. “I’ve set up a stream of people in my network who will look after my dogs when I’m not around. And if that is not possible, the veterinary clinic itself will look for a suitable foster home. I have also included this in my will. Now I have complete peace of mind!”
Your donation will make a difference in tackling the problems and issues of today and tomorrow. Contact our legacy experts: Terry Ediers (09 264 83 31) or Elien Wanzeele (09 264 33 88).
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