College of Veterinary Medicine

Bear’s Story Inspires Young Philanthropist

10-year-old to use photography skills to help more animals.

by Elizabeth Field
07.28.16

Bear’s sad story was all over the newspapers. On April 22, the chocolate Labrador mix was brought to the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital showing many signs of abuse, including a lower jaw shattered by a gunshot.

The public reacted to the news articles by sending thousands of dollars in donations to cover Bear’s medical bills.

Of all of his donors, the youngest was a 10-year-old named Ellie from Petersburg, Ill. Ellie found out about Bear’s case after overhearing her mother and grandmother talk about the inhumane situation.

Feeling compelled to help, Ellie took $20 out of her piggy bank, and asked her friends and family to add to it. After everyone pitched in, Ellie raised about $65 to put toward Bear’s medical expenses. (Read her letter.)

“Ellie is a child with a big heart. She understands saving animals and the impact that any donation can have,” said Christine Dietrich, associate director for advancement at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

A side passion of Ellie’s is photography; her talents took her to the Illinois State Fair, where she won both first and third place.

“Ellie takes amazing pictures. I didn’t know she could take such pretty pictures,” said Stephanie Hough, Ellie’s mother.

After raising money for Bear, Ellie came up with a business strategy to help other animals in need.

Ellie won first place with this photo in one of the contests at the Illinois State Fair.

“I’m going to take [funny] pictures of pets and sell the pictures on magnets…. We will use that and give it to animal shelters.”

Ellie’s donation was impressive and heart-warming. Hers and every other donation to the College of Veterinary Medicine makes it possible to carry out the caring and life-saving work of the college.

Anyone can donate by visiting the online giving page or contacting the Advancement Office at (217) 333-2761.

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