Washington State Magazine

Washington State Magazine :: Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Points of views

In This Issue...


Mountains and Rivers and Prairies Without End—Recollecting Washington’s landscapes :: “The whole concept has burgeoned ... to one where the landscape is part of why people select to live in certain locations, has political meaning, has religious meaning, has all of these other kinds of meaning.” by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Trips: Washington road trips from Tim Steury and Kathleen Flenniken}

A True Story Fraught with Peril :: Buried in hundreds of layers of rock are tales of fire, brimstone, destruction, and fragility. by Eric Sorensen

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Trips: Flood Basalts and Glacier Floods: Roadside Geology of Parts of Walla Walla, Franklin, and Columbia Counties, Washington }

A Dose of Reason—Pediatric specialists advocate for vaccines :: In 2011, Washington’s vaccination rate was dangerously low. According to the CDC, 6.2 percent of children in kindergarten had not been fully immunized. by Hannelore Sudermann

An inquiring mind :: Ken Alexander ’82, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital.


On the Road :: Washington’s Poet Laureate brings poetry to, and discovers it in, each of the state’s 39 counties. by Kathleen Flenniken ’83


:: Backyard boarders

:: Google ranking molecules

:: Music to a closed country

:: The calculus of caring and cooperation

:: Sorting debitage from rubble

:: A wider canvas

:: Predictive software helps communication

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: WSU chemist applies Google software to webs of the molecular world }


:: First Words

:: Posts

:: Sports: After the games

:: In Season: What about buckwheat?

:: Last Words: Everyone could use a lift

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Recipe: Sonoko Sakai’s Nihachi Soba Noodles }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Campus shortcuts }


:: Robert Franklin ’75, ’76, ’79—A new leash on life

:: Pavlo Rudenko ’09—As fast as he can go

:: Nancy Gillett ’78—The business of science

:: Alumni news: Two alumni recognized for their contributions to food and agriculture

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Guide: A Guide to TriboTeX Nano-based Lubricant }

New Media

Soldiers of Paint by Doug Gritzmacher ’98 and Michael DeChant Jr.

Civility and Democracy in America: A Reasonable Understanding edited by Cornell W. Clayton and Richard Elgar

A Yankee on Puget Sound by Karen L. Johnson ’78 and Dennis M. Larsen ’68

New & Noteworthy: Operation Cody: An Undercover Investigation of Illegal Wildlife Trafficking in Washington State by Todd A. Vandivert ’79; Isaiah Shembe’s Prophetic Uhlanga by Joel E. Tishken; The Business of Android Apps Development/Taking Your Kindle Fire to the Max/LEGO Technic Robotics/Practical LEGO Technics by Mark Rollins ’94

On the cover: “Washington Road Trips” by John S. Dykes

Veterinarian Robert Franklin has helped change Oregon animal welfare laws. <em>Photo Bill Wagner</em>


Veterinarian Robert Franklin has helped change Oregon animal welfare laws. Photo Bill Wagner

Robert Franklin ’75, ’76, ’79—A new leash on life

by | © Washington State University

Over more than three decades, veterinarian Dr. Robert Franklin has advocated for animal welfare—even when those animals never set a paw into his specialty practice in Beaverton, Oregon.

Franklin ’75 BS, ’76 BS, ’79 DVM is on the frontlines of animal wellbeing and companionship issues in the Pacific Northwest, whether he’s working behind the scenes to save a stray or squarely in the spotlight ensuring that famed orca Keiko was getting appropriate medical care.

“The animal welfare movement is waiting for veterinarians to lead it like we should,” says Franklin, who recently received Washington State University’s Distinguished Veterinary Alumnus Award. “We’ve got to look at what’s in the best interests of the animals we take care of.”

“I think he’s somewhat of a pioneer,” says David Frei, an admirer who is best known as the cohost of the Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show in New York City.

Frei says Franklin always seems to be out front with new ideas in the pet world, actively supporting endeavors such as hospice care for terminally ill animals and grief counseling for their human companions, setting up pet blood banks, and pairing at-risk children or prison inmates with shelter animals.

“He’s making it a better world for animals, and he’s making it a better world for people,” says Frei, who met Franklin when they both served on the board of what is now Pet Partners, a Bellevue-based nonprofit organization that promotes pet companionship, therapy, and service to improve people’s lives.

“The benefit of animals is far more a reality than I think the human medical community is willing to admit,” Franklin says.

When he served on the executive board of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), including a term as president in 1998, he helped convince state legislators to make animal abuse a Class C felony. He also helped change the state law for dogs who kill livestock, giving them a chance to avoid a death sentence if they could be resettled out of temptation’s way. Franklin later pushed for a law that required veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal abuse.

“We do know that there is a direct relationship between people who abuse animals and their tendency to be violent” to people, says Franklin.

“He’s always challenging the profession to reconsider our points of view on animal welfare,” says Glenn Kolb, executive director of the OVMA. In 2013 the association awarded Franklin its highest honor, a Meritorious Service Award. “Bob was really at the forefront of getting the organization to move in the right direction,” says Kolb.

Franklin was leading the state veterinary board when Keiko was at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, following his star turn in the movie Free Willy, recovering from living in poor conditions at a Mexican amusement park.

A rift over his medical care developed between the Newport aquarium’s vet and a California-based vet for the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation, which was planning to release him back into the North Atlantic Ocean in 2002, where he was captured as a youngster in 1979.

Franklin and the OVMA demanded that an independent veterinarian give Keiko a checkup. Even though that exam showed Keiko’s health had improved significantly in Oregon, Franklin disagreed with the plan to release an animal that had spent its entire adult life as an aquarium entertainer.

“This whale was like a pet. He was sitting off the coast of Norway, playing with kids” after his release, says Franklin, who believed Keiko was doomed well before the orca died in 2003, in part because the animal didn’t belong to a pack like his wild kin. “There was no way he was going to survive.”

Franklin shows the same passion for his patients at Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital, where he is a partner and specializes in internal medicine.

“This is a guy (who) will turn things upside-down to get to a proper diagnosis,” says Trish Clark, a psychologist who started out as a pet-owner and now teams with Franklin to help homeless cats in the Portland area. “He’s just unbelievably dedicated.”

Born on Long Island, New York, and raised for a time in Bellevue, Washington, Franklin has always kept pets and longed to be a veterinarian from his earliest memory. At WSU, he fell under the influence of Professor Leo K. Bustad ’49 DVM, a groundbreaking researcher of the human-animal bond and cofounder of the organization that would become Pet Partners.

“We think Leo would be looking down and be quite proud of Bob Franklin,” says Frei.

Categories: Alumni, Veterinary medicine | Tags: Animal health, Animal welfare

Comments are temporarily unavailable while we perform some maintenance to reduce spam messages. If you have comments about this article, please send them to us by email: wsm@wsu.edu