In June 2002, the Winn Feline Foundation announced the creation of The Ricky Fund, set up to accept donations specifically for feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) research.Steve Dale, nationally syndicated pet columnist and radio show host, worked with Winn to create this fund in memory of his Devon Rex cat, Ricky.
Ricky was a special cat indeed. He had been featured on National Geographic Explorer, CNBCPets: Part of the Family, on a Canadian TV show called The Pet Project, and on virtually every local TV station in Chicago. Steve says, "... Ricky had more face time on TV than some politicians - he also appeared with me many times on my own radioprograms. It's because Ricky was a virtuoso piano player, and he could jump through a hoola hoop ... I taught Ricky these and other tricks to prove you can train a cat."
During a routine physical examination at one year of age, Ricky's veterinarian heard a heart murmur, and Ricky was eventually diagnosed with HCM. Steve says, "The good news is that Ricky never realized he was sick. I dutifully returned to the cardiac veterinarian for ultrasound checks, and while the disease was progressing, it seemed a slow progression." Sadly, Ricky died at the age of four years. In one of his columns, Steve wrote, "Ricky was a very small cat, but the hole he left in our hearts’ is enormous. Our house seems empty without him. And at least for now, our lives seem empty too." Please help Steve fight HCM through your donation to the Ricky Fund.