Gary Bogue. (Facebook image)

When Gary Bogue died in September, he was well-known and beloved as a nature columnist for the East Bay Times and its predecessors. Before that, he had been the first curator of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, now known as the Lindsay Wildlife Experience, and founded the animal hospital there, the first such facility in the United States.

His bona fides as a champion and protector of animals were as solid as a giant redwood.

Now, the Walnut Creek-based Lindsay has established a fund in his honor, the Gary Bogue Memorial Veterinary Fund. It was set up in November to further veterinary and rehabilitation care, including the cost of providing stipends for veterinary interns; developing and delivering animal-care training to students and volunteers and purchasing medical supplies and improving hospital technology.

“Basically, it’s continuing the work Gary started so many years ago when he established what is now Lindsay’s wildlife rehabilitation hospital,” Lindsay spokeswoman Jennifer Modenessi said.

Lindsay Wildlife Experience has not, until now, had a fund dedicated to wildlife hospital operations, said Dr. Rosanne Siino, president of Lindsay’s board of directors.

Those expenses, until now, had been paid from the Lindsay general operating budget. A fund dedicated specifically to the wildlife hospital, Siino said, is “a living legacy for him.”

“We treat between 5,600 and 6,000 animals a year, and they don’t come with money, don’t have insurance, don’t have a way to pay us,” Siino said. She herself put in the fund’s first $10,000; she said she hopes that, by July 1, the fund has $100,000.

Donations to the new fund will be used to pay for not only existing veterinary and rehabilitation care, but hopefully new ventures including providing stipends for veterinary interns, developing and delivering training to students and volunteers on animal care, and supplies and technology to further the ability to treat animals.

The idea for a fund, Siino said, came from a fellow board member’s suggestion that “we have to do something for Gary that’s meaningful.”

That, she added, should be more than a bench or a monument, and “a living legacy” to Bogue. The Lindsay folks consulted with Bogue’s family, who embraced the idea.

“A fund to help pay for (the wildlife hospital’s) work seemed like a particularly fitting way to continue the work he began and was important to him,” Gary’s wife Lois Bogue said.

The Lindsay’s connection to the community was a key concern of Bogue’s, and operating it, including the hospital, is expensive.

“That was hugely important to Gary, that the community understand the concerns around wildlife and have a way to participate in caring for the animals,” Lois Bogue said.

Visit Lindsay’s website to learn more or to donate.