Passes Away at 35
Faculty, staff and students at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine are mourning the passing of Louise, one half of the original mule team that served as the MU College of Veterinary Medicine’s goodwill ambassadors. Louise was humanely euthanized on June 23, 2011, at the age of 35 after a team of veterinary professionals determined that due to her advanced years and deteriorating health she was failing to respond to treatment for a leg injury she sustained making the outlook for her recovery poor.
Louise and her mule team partner, Hillda, came to the college in 1984. Dr. Robert Kahrs, who was then dean of the veterinary school, purchased the mules from a Fayette farmer and brought them to Columbia to become the school’s mascots. As the official ambassadors, they traveled throughout Missouri, attending parades, picnics, petting zoos, giving wagon rides and raising awareness of the state’s mule heritage.
In 1996, a second team of mules was purchased, allowing the much beloved Louise and Hillda to enjoy a well-deserved and peaceful retirement in the pasture behind the college’s campus.
"Mules are reputed to be stubborn, but the truth is they’re just very bright creatures," said Dr. John Dodam, chairman of the CVM’s Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery and faculty adviser to the Mule Club. "Louise was one of the brightest, but she was also friendly and gregarious. I have been thinking about how many Missourians, now adults, who as children had their first up-close encounter with a real Missouri mule when they met Louise at a fair or a parade, and what a fun and educational experience that would have been. Louise’s passing is a tremendous loss for the college, and she will be missed, but we’re comforted that she enjoyed a long life and had such a positive impact on so many people."
Memorials in Louise’s honor may be sent to the MU College of Veterinary Medicine Office of Development, W213 Veterinary Medicine Building, Columbia, MO 65211; or by calling 573-882-1902.
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