Mesinger is a long-time leader in the aviation industry who discovered his love of flying when he was in high school and created what is now Mesinger Jet Sales in 1982. Through the years, his business began to highlight his family’s dogs, connecting personally with potential customers who were interested in purchasing planes so they could fly with their pets. In fact, the family’s two golden retrievers, Louie and Miles, feature prominently in his company’s ads and its website even includes a special “Golden Button” for pet-related stories. It was that same devotion to a special golden retriever that originally connected him to the Foundation.
“When our first golden, Elliott, developed a growth on his side, we took him up to Colorado State University. That’s where we met Steve Withrow and Rod Page, and later learned about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study and Morris Animal Foundation,” said Mesinger.
Begun in 2012, the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is the first Morris Animal Foundation-funded study conceived, designed and run by the Foundation and its partners. The study examines epidemiology and the long-term effects of nutrition, environment, lifestyle and genetics on health and the development of cancer and other major diseases in dogs. The study is the largest prospective study ever undertaken in veterinary medicine in the United States, gathering information on 3,000+ golden retrievers throughout their entire lives.
Unfortunately, Elliot died of cancer at 14 years old, but Mesinger found a new love in Louie (Hero #31) before enrolling the pup in the study. Miles (Hero #840), Louie’s half-brother, joined the family and study, as well. Mesinger’s connection to the Foundation then took flight as he learned about its ability to improve and protect the health of animals.
“I was aware of the Foundation, but didn’t know anything but the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study,” said Mesinger. “Now, I understand the power of it in the whole world of animals – not just dogs. And, while I don’t know much about science, I do know a lot about fundraising and people’s affinity for their dogs and for animals, and that is where I am going to start.”
“We are honored to have Jay serving on our Board of Trustees,” said Tiffany Grunert, Acting President and CEO of Morris Animal Foundation. “Jay brings to the board not only his experience as an entrepreneur and lessons learned from growing a successful business, but also a heartfelt desire to make the world a better place for animals.”
Mesinger also devotes time to other philanthropic work and is active with numerous aviation associations and boards.