The Center for Companion Animal Health at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has been awarded $200,000 from the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians.
The award has been designated for construction of a memorial garden adjacent to the new Center for Companion Animal Health now approaching completion on the UC Davis campus.
"This garden will be a testament to the special bond that has existed between humans and dogs for 40,000 years or more," states Niels C. Pedersen, director of the center. "Evidence suggests that modern man migrated out of Africa in two waves, one wave occurring 80,000 years ago, with a second 40,000 years later. The second migration of humans went straight into the heart of the Middle East and Caucasus, with various groups radiating throughout Europe and Asia."
Pedersen explains, "Genetic evidence suggests that the domestic dog accompanied humans on the second great migration from Africa. Many bands of people from this second migration came to reside in Asia, but wanderlust caused one or more of them to cross the Bering straits 12,000 to 14,000 years ago and populate all of the Americas. As with the earlier migration from Africa, dogs accompanied these daring pioneers as explorers, companions at the hearth, helpmates of the hunt and trek, and guardians. Given this long and important relationship, the influence of the dog on the evolution of modern man cannot be underestimated. With this garden, the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians pays tribute to the role that the dog has played in the history and destiny of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and indeed, to all humankind."
Founded in 1992, the Center for Companion Animal Health fosters advanced studies of disease and other health conditions in dogs, cats and other small pets. Faculty associated with the center conduct investigations to develop new scientific knowledge about nutrition and naturally occurring diseases such as cancers and infectious diseases.
The center's new facility, to be completed in early 2004, will provide greater access to specialized clinical services. The center's new oncology unit may be the largest of any in the country dedicated to treatment of large and small companion animals. Faculty will also expand studies of genetics, shelter animal medicine, and relationships between humans and animals.
The Rumsey Band owns and operates the Cache Creek Indian Bingo & Casino. The Rumsey Community Fund, a philanthropic organization of the tribe, supports regional needs in education, community health, arts and other efforts. www.cachecreek.com/wintun/index.html
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu, conducts a statewide mission of teaching, research and service benefiting animal, human and environmental health.