Gator alumni-led company recognized for decade of compassionate growth

Every year for the past 10 years, the University of Florida’s Gator100 program has honored the fastest-growing businesses in the world owned or led by UF alumni. In the decade since the program’s inception, only one business has managed to appear on the list every year: Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice.

Dani McVety
Dani McVety

UF College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) graduates Dani McVety and Mary Gardner founded Lap of Love, an in-home euthanasia service for pets, in 2009. Since then, the duo has expanded their Tampa-based business into a network of more than 300 veterinarians and about 300 support staff members across 40 states, and they entertain aspirations of expanding into Canada.

“We know that there are so many new families that aren’t able to access end-of-life care wherever they live, and our goal has been to continue to help those people in any way we can,” said McVety, Lap of Love’s CEO. “We’ve been focused on recruiting and growing our veterinary team to continue to meet those needs.”

McVety obtained her bachelor’s degree in microbiology and cell science from the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in 2004. Between graduation and commencing veterinary school, she volunteered in a human hospice facility. The experience inspired her to build a business offering hospice care for animals. She soon discovered, however, that most people contacted her to request at-home euthanasia services for an ailing pet to reduce stress to both the pet and to themselves.

McVety’s unlikely partnership with Gardner began in 2010.

Gardner started veterinary school at UF after working in software for 10 years. Caring for and ultimately experiencing the death of her beloved dog due to an infection caused by a dog fight made her reevaluate her life, and she decided to change careers. She was working as a general practice veterinarian when McVety, a former CVM classmate, reached out to her.

McVety leaned on Gardner’s software background, and together they designed the software that still runs their company.

Mary Gardner
Mary Gardner

“Having the ability to build our own practice management solution, which drives so much of the business, has been really impactful,” said Gardner, Lap of Love’s CIO. “We were able to create new features quickly and change the way we do things much faster than outsourcing.”

Every month, Lap of Love helps an estimated 11,000 pets pass peacefully in the comfort of their own homes. The company offers bereavement services, including free Zoom calls with counselors, guided courses for support and follow-up check-ins, for the humans left behind.

On May 24, McVety is scheduled to deliver CVM’s commencement speech, the second time she’s been asked to do so. Although she hasn’t yet finished her speech, she said she’s identified some of the advice she plans to share with graduates.

“Your career is what you make of it, and if you want to be incredibly fulfilled and love your job and be motivated every single day to go out there and do this thing that you’ve worked your entire life to do, then that’s what you’re going to find,” she said. “If you want to be depressed every day, you’re going to be depressed every day. We are, each and every one of us, in control of what we search for. So, search for the right things.”


The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. | @UF_IFAS


Megan Winslow
Posted: April 22, 2024

Category: Relationships & Family, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS, Work & Life
Tags: College Of Agricultural And Life Sciences, College Of Veterinary Medicine, Dani McVety, Euthanasia, Gator100, Hospice, IFAS, Institute Of Food And Agricultural Sciences, Lap Of Love, Lap Of Love Veterinary Hospice, Mary Gardner, Megan Winslow, Tampa, UF, UF/IFAS, University Of Florida

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