Sir Walter Scott said, “Cats are a mysterious kind of folk. There is more passing in their minds than we are aware of.” Cat owners reading this are probably nodding their heads in agreement.
Years ago, early in Tom and Nancy Clark’s marriage, there was a black cat who lived across the street from them. His name was Shady and he had long black hair and absolutely loved Tom. Because of this when they decided to get their own cat, they decided it had to have long black hair and be named Shady.
Their second cat looked like a cross between a wolf and a tiger. Nancy, a Kansas native with a Kansas accent, told Tom the cat looked like a wolf but Tom because of his own New York accent and how he pronounced words, heard “wuff.” In the end, Wuff just seemed to fit and they named her Wuffy.
The adventures of Wuffy and Shady began when the two were born in Kansas. According to the cats, they discovered just how special they were when humans, Tom and Nancy Clark, adopted them.
As cats do, Wuffy and Shady spent their days running and playing. They played throughout the Clark’s home in New Mexico and Nancy taught them to ring a bell on the door when they wanted out. The two were also very well-traveled. In fact, Tom once said they slept their way through about 15,000 miles.
When Tom took a position as professor of physics at Purdue University, they all moved to West Lafayette, Ind. and came to know the doctors, students and staff at Purdue’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital where the cats were well cared for. Wuffy and Shady advanced gracefully and with much dignity into the realm of the elderly where Wuffy lived to be 19 and Shady 22.
The story and passion behind what motivates our giving is different for everyone. For Tom and Nancy Clark, these two cats enriched their lives to such a degree that they wanted to memorialize them. But as much as the cats enriched their lives, the Clarks felt such fondness for the people at VTH who showed such care for their beloved animals and decided to endow a scholarship, in Wuffy and Shady’s names, for students pursuing the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in the College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s a way for us to say thank you to all the doctors and personnel, and it also provides assistance to those students who strive to learn and care for animals. Wuffy and Shady gave generously of their devotion and love,” says Tom. “Their lives serve as an example to those students who dedicate their time and talents to the study of veterinary science and the wellness of all animals.”
Because of the Clarks generosity, more than $8,000 has been awarded in scholarships.
Cats are indeed a mysterious kind of folk as Wuffy and Shady displayed throughout their adventurous lives. Because of the rare gift they brought to the Clark’s life, the Wuffy and Shady legacy will live on, and touch and improve countless student and animal lives.
Editor’s note: The story of Wuffy and Shady was originally written by Tom and Nancy Clark.