David Story Foster grew up with animals. He knew how his canine companions, Australian cattle dogs, had enriched his life.
And when he died in May 1996, he also remembered those who treated his beloved pets well in crises.
After a year of paperwork, Foster’s estate has left $7.5 million to the Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital.
The Lucky Dog Fund, as Foster named it, will be administered by the Oregon Community Foundation, which invests and oversees $190 million in charitable funds for individuals, families and businesses.
The gift will mean an estimated $400,000 yearly to the 24-hour emergency and critical care hospital.
“It is the largest single bequest we have received in our 24-year history,” president Gregory Chaille said.
Foster, a bachelor with no children, was 49 when he ended his life last year in Gaston. What his family remembers most is how kind and thoughtful he was to others during his life. His brother remembers him as a quiet, private and introspective person.
Foster’s love for his animals may even have been a little puzzling at times for his human family.
“The animals were really important in his life,” said his big brother, Thomas N. Foster, one of David’s four siblings. “They were his real family.”
David Foster may have been private, but he was shrewd when it came to investments.
As a general partner in the family commercial real estate business, the Foster Group Partnership in the San Francisco Bay area, David Foster built the estate that led to his generous gift to Dove Lewis.
“He was very intelligent,” Thomas Foster said. “He knew stocks and bonds. He read a lot.”
Born in San Jose, Calif., David Foster came north to go to Lewis & Clark College. After earning a degree in business administration in 1969, he returned to California for postgraduate work in viticulture - the science of grape-growing.
For many years, until the spring of 1996, he was a vineyard manager at Tualatin Vineyards near Forest Grove.
He became close friends with his immigrant crew and helped the men gain financing for homes and seek U.S. citizenship, recalled vineyard culinary director Kathy Goans.
Besides emergency and veterinarian-referral critical care, the 24-year-old regional hospital offers pet loss support-group services and a therapy program with pets helping people.
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