The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Celebration of Life allows students, community members to reflect on animals lost recently

School of Veterinary Medicine hosts event to allow grieving and healing of lost pets
Those+grieving+their+pets+made+ribbons+to+commemorate+their+lost+pets%2C+Jan.+6%2C+in+Pullman%2C+Wash.+
BRANDON WILLMAN
Those grieving their pets made ribbons to commemorate their lost pets, Jan. 6, in Pullman, Wash.

The School of Veterinary Medicine hosted a Celebration of Life Saturday for community members who lost a pet in the past year. 

After walking into the building, community members were directed to an optional ribbon-making table, with blue, white, red, green and yellow ribbons symbolizing different elements that harmonize and balance the environment. 

Different colored pens were available as well, for attendees to write their pets’ names and memories on the ribbons.

The ribbons represented cherished memories and connections with a loved pet who has passed, and community members were given the opportunity to tie their ribbons on a garland during the ceremony. 

WSU Veterinary Chaplain Scott Campbell said the Celebration of Life allows people to embrace grief around the loss of animals and heal from the loss because society does not always allow the opportunity to grieve a pet that has become a friend. 

“The college has a long tradition of respecting the human-animal bond,” Campbell said. “The bonds animals and humans build are real and mutually valuable. This sort of continues on in this same vein, perpetuating that respect for the human-animal bond.”

Campbell said pets awaken something profound within people, allowing people to connect to the beauty of nature and allowing people to be more compassionate. 

“They teach us about love, loyalty, friendship and forgiveness. They show us how to live in the present moment. How to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and how to cope with pain and loss,” he said. 

The Celebration of Life allows people to acknowledge the impact their pets had on their lives and reflect on the lessons learned from their pets. 

“Healing in grief is not about forgetting, it’s about remembering with less pain,” Campbell said. 

Fourth-year veterinary student Tori Whitworth said she recently lost her dog, Charlie, and when someone experiences a loss of their own, they are reminded of how fragile an animal’s life is. 

Whitworth said she lost her dog at the beginning of her fourth year of veterinary school, and every patient she works with reminds her of Charlie. 

She said she loves that the school puts on events like the Celebration of Life, and it is important to remember veterinary staff is experiencing loss similar to their patients and can understand what they’re going through. 

Fourth-year veterinary student Brooke Fairbanks said she has lost multiple pets, but came here to celebrate the patients whose animals’ lives have been cut short. 

Fairbanks said as veterinary students, it is oftentimes easy to focus on the learning rather than the sacrifices students make and there is not a lot of time to reflect every day. 

But, she said WSU does a good job of allowing students to show and reflect on their feelings, which is why events like the Celebration of Life are so important. 

Dori Borjesson, School of Veterinary Medicine dean, said veterinarians care about the health and wellbeing of their pets, but it is almost important to care for the veterinarians and their patients who have lost their pets. 

“This is one way…we can do that,” Borjesson said. “We can care for the people who love these animals that were such a joy in our lives.”

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About the Contributors
ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Editor-in-chief
Alexandria started working for the Evergreen in October 2020 as a news reporter and eventually hopped around to the roots/life, opinion and culture sections. She was a copy editor for three semesters beginning in January 2021 and was the Life editor in fall 2022. She was the copy chief for the summer and fall 2023 semesters, and is currently the editor-in-chief for the spring 2024 semester. She is from Tri-Cities, WA, and is always writing in her free time.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.