If you want to get to know Bob Olds ’64, DVM ’67, just ask Lizzy. Sure, Lizzy is a dog and can’t speak, but her story speaks volumes.
Found beaten on the streets of Tijuana, Lizzy’s jaw was so badly damaged she couldn’t close her mouth, and could neither eat nor drink. Rescued by members of a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, The Forgotten Dog, Lizzy got a complicated, pro bono surgery that repaired the damage to her jaw. The surgeon? Bob Olds. Lizzy is now a happy, normal dog.
Olds always wanted to be a vet. Kids love animals, he says, and he never had any doubt about his path through life. At Pasadena High School, Olds played football alongside Mel Hein Jr. Football fans will recognize the name, as Hein Jr.’s father, Mel Sr.’31, led the Cougars to the 1931 Rose Bowl. Hein Sr. went on to play center for the New York Giants and was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was the Heins, father and son, who endorsed WSU so enthusiastically that Olds applied there without hesitation.
As a vet med student, Ghery Pettit inspired and guided Olds into surgery. Olds’s WSU gymnastics coach, Hubie Dunn, and Dick Fry, former WSU sports information director, were also influential in giving the aspiring vet his start. Olds says that, after he flunked out his first semester, the two men both wrote letters in support of his reinstatement.
“That was a terrible time,” says Olds. “I feel that, without those two letters, I would have not been able to continue my education at WSU, my gymnastic career would have been over, and my dream of a veterinary career would never have come true.”
A husband of 40 years to Janice, Olds has two sons and a granddaughter.
Olds recently received the Animal Health Foundation’s Cortese-Lippincott award in recognition for making the world a better place for both animals and humans, as well as for service to his community, the veterinary profession, and—perhaps most applicable of all—the human-animal bond.