Dan-the-Cat and Dr. Warren met in Northern California the year she graduated college.  Dan’s first job was keeping mice away from a country store called Dandelion.  When the store closed, Dandelion Dan moved in with Natalie.  She worked in the same outdoor mall, and they had come to know one another while bird watching during their lunch breaks. These kindred spirits quickly developed a magnificent bond.  A couple of years later, for no apparent reason, they moved to Colorado in a rented Ford van loaded with their stuff. 

After meandering in Denver for a bit, they determined veterinary school to be their calling.  Dan studied diligently with Natalie.  Sometimes he kept the text book pages warm and protected while she tried to read them, but most often he rapidly flipped through the pages himself, since her reading pace clearly lagged behind his.  To relax, they gardened together and spent time with the horse they kept on their property.

Dan and his girl moved many times over their 10 years together – the typical lifestyle of a perpetual student and her trusted companion. 

“Home is where Dan-the-Cat is,” Natalie used to say. 

But, when vet school was coming to an end, and Dr. Natalie was entering a new phase of life, Dan’s work was done.  During the winter of senior year, Dan started having seizures.  After an extensive workup (including a “CAT scan”), an inoperable brain tumor was diagnosed.  Dan-the-Cat was put to sleep shortly thereafter.  Two weeks later, when Natalie drew up the courage to pay her bill at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, she shed a new set of tears.  Dr. Steve Withrow, Oncology Department Head, had paid the entire bill from his reserve fund.  It was then that Dr. Warren resolved to forever work to pay back the gift that had been given in respect to her love of Dan-the-Cat.

And so, the Dandelion Fund was created. 

For every patient’s life that comes to a close, Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital contributes to the Fund.  The hospital also shares a portion of its annual profit with the Fund.  When the Met Vet staff recognizes true crisis in one of its client-patient relationships, they have the opportunity to contribute a portion of the Dandelion Fund to help ease the financial burden.

Please contribute, when you are able, and know that you, too, are paying respect to the Human-Animal Bond and all of the Dan-the-Cats of our community.