When Missy Grider passed away very suddenly from cancer in January 2021, Dr. Janice Coffey knew her office — Coffey’s Veterinary Center — needed to do something to honor her legacy.
Missy was not only the office manager but also a good friend, and her death “shook Coffey’s Vet Center to its core.”
“Missy was such a cornerstone to our business, as well as a fantastic patient-advocate, and an honorary part of our family,” Coffey said.
Because of this, Coffey thought the best way to carry on Missy’s legacy was to take the office’s patient-advocacy efforts to the next level.
What they came up with was “Missy’s HEART,” which is an acronym that stands for “Helping Every Animal Receive Treatment.”
“Our office has always prided itself on offering quality care for an affordable price, but through Missy’s HEART, we plan to greatly improve our diagnostics, offer cutting-edge regenerative medicine to eliminate pain, and help facilitate the creation of new, local veterinary talent so that this care can be continued even after I eventually retire,” Coffey said. “We want to make specialized care that you would normally only find in large cities available locally at lower costs that better fit our rural community.”
Coffey’s Vet Center offers cutting-edge services like CT scans, canine immunotherapy, and stem-cell tissue regeneration for “a fraction of the cost” required at urban specialty clinics.
But paying for these procedures can still be prohibitively expensive for some, not allowing everyone to be able to benefit from the innovative technology available at Coffey’s Vet Center.
Coffey hopes to change that with Missy’s HEART.
“As veterinary technology advances, ailments that previously had no cure can now be addressed,” Coffey said. “We offer immunotherapy for canine cancer and stem-cell treatments to rebuild lost tissue and reverse degenerative disease, and we can refer patients to specialized surgeons that can perform complex corrective procedures on the spine, heart, and lungs.
“To honor Missy Grider, we want to help offset the cost of these treatments for our clients that otherwise cannot afford them,” she added. “We want to create a future where no owner has to forego treatment due to cost, and every pet can receive these amazing new treatments and live a long and fulfilling life. We want to make this technology available for everyone in our local community and beyond, which will be facilitated through our referral program. Other veterinarians will be able to request these services for their clients without having to obtain the materials and equipment themselves, allowing them to specialize in other veterinary technologies and further expanding the pool of possible medical options for pet owners.”
The money raised for Missy’s HEART — which will include special keepsakes (hats, t-shirts, jackets, etc.) and other special merchandise that can be purchased to support the program in addition to donations — is kept separate from regular business transactions and does not contribute to the office’s profits.
Even though it’s a new program, the center has already had success in implementing it for patients, but Coffey wants to see the fund continue to grow and help out as many pets in the community as possible.
“We have already used the program to assist in the treatment of a few severely ill patients whose specialized treatment costs would have been thousands of dollars,” Coffey said. “Our goal over the next few years is to grow the fund so that it can serve more families in our local community. We also plan to partner with other veterinarians and offer a referral program for our advanced diagnostics (such as our 3-D CT scan) and our regenerative medicine (such as Ardent Actistem).
“Our referral services will eventually be housed in our Missy Grider Memorial Imaging Center — that blue-sided addition to our main building. Our goal is to have the Memorial Center and our referral services fully operational by summer of 2022.”
In addition to offering financial aid to assist local pet owners with pets in need of specialized care, the Missy’s HEART fund will also be used to create scholarships for local students looking to enter the veterinary field.
Coffey wants the Missy’s HEART program to help foster newcomers into the veterinary field and for Missy’s legacy to reach “far beyond our office for both current and future pets.”
This year, the office is currently offering a total of three scholarships for high school students in Adair and Russell counties, with hopes of expanding that reach to include students in Casey, Pulaski, and Taylor counties in the next few years.
“Right now, we are offering scholarships for local students, but hopefully, we will eventually have a vigorous pre-vet internship program and demonstrative sessions highlighting new veterinary technology for veterinary continuing education,” Coffey said.
Even with the different facets of the program, Coffey’s goal for helping to keep Missy’s legacy alive comes down to one thing: helping as many animals as possible.
“Missy loved animals dearly and would often sacrifice her own time and money to help foster orphaned kittens at the office,” Coffey said. “She was a patient-advocate, working closely with pet owners and myself to help create treatment plans that worked for everyone’s budget and get relief for their pets. The best way we can honor Missy and keep her spirit close is to help as many pets live fulfilling lives as possible.”
The County Line and Coffey’s Vet Center are partnering to help get the word out about Missy’s HEART program and other great opportunities that Coffey’s Vet Center has to offer Adair and Russell counties. Each week, The County Line will feature a column from Coffey’s that will touch on wide-ranging and important topics for pet owners.
“We plan to use our weekly column for public education about good pet-keeping practices, opportunities for those interested in veterinary medicine, news about our Missy’s HEART program, and other information we feel will better pet health in the community,” Coffey said. “Topics will likely range wildly but follow a general theme of increasing knowledge of pet health and veterinary medicine for the people of Adair and Russell counties. We will also use the column to advertise special opportunities for local pet owners, for example: vaccination clinics and spay/neuter clinics.”
Click here for the first installment of the column.
You can also check out Coffey’s regenerative medicine videos on their new webpage at and keep up with Coffey’s Vet Center on Facebook to stay up-to-date. Coffey’s Vet Center is located at 314 Hurt Street in Columbia and can be reached via phone at 270-384-2152. They are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday and Saturday. For more information, visit https://www.coffeysvetcenter.com/.