For the Love of Maude

May 31, 2017

By definition, all companion animals are special. By circumstance, some are extra special. Maude was extraordinary. 

When Rebecca Camden first spotted the tiny wire-haired dachshund on a rescue website, the little dog was an unlikely candidate for a fundraising social media star. “Her picture was the most pitiful I had ever seen,” Rebecca recalls. “I knew she was meant for us.”

Under Rebecca’s care, the shy little dog quietly blossomed, bonding almost immediately with Ellie, the other dachshund in the Camden family. As Ellie lost her eyesight, Maude became Ellie’s guide dog. 

But Maude had more caregiving to do.

In 2013, Rebecca lost her husband, Steve, as well as Ellie. Maude was there to help heal the wounds left behind. “We were inseparable for the final three and a half years of her life,” Rebecca says. “She went everywhere with me: to work with me every day, traveled with me, many visits to OSU. She was the perfect companion. She demanded nothing but gave unconditionally.”

Maude’s arrival in Rebecca’s life coincided with the beginning of Rebecca’s connection to OSU – Steve’s alma mater – and the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine. A retired finance executive, Rebecca long had been involved with dachshund rescue, and she cares deeply about excellence in veterinary medicine. She joined the college’s advisory board, and together with Steve made a generous gift creating an endowed professorship: the first in the college to recognize four-legged friends. The Camden Professorship honors all the family dachshunds: Millie, Sophie, Cindy, Winky, Ziggy, Prudie, and Pretzel – as well as Ellie and Maude.

Yet Maude’s impact on the college was just beginning. In 2014, as OSU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign wound down, Rebecca decided to make a challenge gift to help the college meet its goal. Maude became an Oregon State celebrity through the “Maude Match,” promoted through a series of posts on Facebook. It was a doggone success.

The little rescue dog’s giant legacy continues to grow through the endowed Maude Camden Memorial Scholarship, providing support for veterinary medicine students with interest in shelter medicine and rescue animals.

“People don’t go into veterinary medicine because they want to make money; it’s because they love animals. And that’s all the more true for students with a heart for shelter medicine. It’s even more important to support their education,” Rebecca says. “For many of us, companion animals are our family. We want to be sure they have outstanding health care.”

For Rebecca, the concept of family has grown even larger. “When people ask me if I have children, I say I have 224 – the college’s whole student body,” she says. 

There are many ways to support Oregon State University – and Rebecca Camden has done them all, pretty much. 

  • A gift of property funded the Camden Professorship. 
  • She established a life-income gift – a charitable gift annuity – to support college programs. 
  • An outright gift created the Maude Camden Memorial Endowed Scholarship and the Steven K. Camden Memorial Scholarship. 
  • And in her estate plans, she named the College of Veterinary Medicine as the primary beneficiary of her estate.
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