The Jean and Don McColl Estate Gift to Leader Dog

Published in: Update - Issue 2 - 2017 »   
Photo of Don and Jean. Jean is seated and smiling at the camera. Don is standing next to Jean's chair with his left hand behind Jean on the chair

Don and Jean McColl

Michiganians Jean and Don McColl were a quiet couple, passionate about dogs. As the owners of Shaggy Shoes MacDuff, the North American Grand Champion Old English sheepdog in the early 70s, they travelled the country together to show “Duffy” and share their dedication to the breed.

The couple also fostered a commitment to the Leader Dogs that they observed training in the metro Detroit area. Upon retirement they adopted a career changed Leader Dog, Bandit. Later, they adopted Buddy, a black Labrador retriever who allegedly “flunked squirrel” during training and who became their constant companion for the next 14 years.

When Don passed away in 2003, Jean and Buddy moved to a senior community where Buddy became the first therapy dog at the rehabilitation units and where everyone greeted the friendly black lab by name. Although Buddy was by far one of the largest dogs at the center, he socialized well with everyone in true Labrador style and kept Jean company.

Photo of black Labrador Buddy. Buddy is lying outdoors on grass with a large bone

Career changed Buddy

Jean was a loyal donor who supported Leader Dog with steadfast and regular gifts. As she aged, Jean was no longer able to care for Buddy; so at age fourteen, he went to live with a close friend. Buddy still visited Jean regularly and always on his birthday, which came complete with birthday cake.

Jean passed away in October of 2016, just days after her last donation to Leader Dog. She selflessly helped others right to the end of her life. Buddy, her loyal canine companion, passed away in February 2017 at the age of seventeen.

Jean and Don McColl were private, deeply humble people and quiet philanthropists. Upon Jean’s death the couple’s estate made a $2,800,000 gift to benefit the Leader Dog mission.

Generous gifts such as the McColl bequest allow Leader Dog to support people who are blind in transformative ways, providing new opportunities for our clients and their families. It is with deep gratitude that we honor Jean and Don McColl’s commitment and their lasting legacy.

Please consider remembering Leader Dogs for the Blind in your estate plans. Contact Roberta Trzos, CFRE, manager of gift planning, at 248/659.5014 to learn more about leaving Leader Dog an estate gift.