Orvis Canine Cancer Campaign
At Orvis–like you–we love our dogs. They lead us into the field, share our beds and our campfires. They are part of our pack, and we want them to live their best lives with us. That’s why we partner with Morris Animal Foundation in the fight against canine cancer, the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of two.
Since 2009, Orvis has supported Morris Animal Foundation’s canine cancer research program through our Cover Dog Photo Contest. Each vote cast by Orvis customers is a dollar donation given directly to finding new diagnostic tools, treatments and cures for the cancers that take our dogs too soon.
To date, Orvis customers have donated more than $1 million for cancer research grants at Morris Animal Foundation through Cover Dog Photo Contest voting. And it’s making a difference.
MORRIS ANIMAL FOUNDATION
Since 1948, Morris Animal Foundation has funded more than 250 canine cancer studies at research organizations and universities around the world – studies funded in part by your contributions through the Cover Dog Photo Contest. You’ve helped fund:
New treatments for lymphoma, one of the most common cancers in our dogs
Studies to help us fight hemangiosarcoma, one of the most deadly cancers affecting dogs
Advanced diagnostic imaging for head and neck cancers
Innovative studies in genetic risk factors and environmental exposures
The development of more effective chemotherapy and radiation therapy protocols
New surgical procedures for cancer treatment
Nutrition research as it relates to the development of as well as the potential treatment for cancer
The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, investigating the risk factors for cancer and other major diseases in dogs
But there is still so much more work to do.
Ambassadors for Cancer Research
For Eric and Renee Chester, cancer is personal. They lost their first two golden retrievers to lymphoma and Renee lost both her parents to cancer. Like so many people touched by this disease, Eric and Renee were looking for a way to make a difference.
Their search led them to Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, a groundbreaking project to help identify risk factors for canine cancer and other diseases. Eric and Renee’s two young golden retrievers, Elliott and Henry, are Study participants.
“Most people know goldens are a high-risk breed for cancer,” said Eric. “And, while we know the Study may not have an immediate impact on our dogs’ lives, I believe 20 years down the road, we will still be learning more things about cancer from this study that will help countless pets and maybe people, too.”
Sharing what they have learned is part of the philanthropy journey for Eric and Renee. And the dogs are adorable, willing helpers.
“We take Elliott and Henry with us as we travel the East Coast,” said Renee. “And the boys have become wagging ambassadors for the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. They provide us a great opportunity to talk about the Foundation and the Study’s cancer work with the people we meet.”
Life Interrupted – Cancer Takes a Beloved Dog Too Soon
Oso, a beautiful Great Pyrenees, did everything with his family, from snowshoe trips in the mountains to supervising the building of his family’s home. But his real passion was tending to the sheep and protectively looking after the chickens. His guardian instincts were strong, and he took to his job like a pro. Losing him to cancer at 8 years old was one of the hardest days of Kellie Dunn’s and her partner Gary’s lives.
“We first noticed a limp on Oso,” said Kellie. “I didn’t think much of it as it seemed to resolve itself. But then it reappeared.”
A trip to the veterinarian revealed that Oso had osteosarcoma, the most prevalent bone cancer in dogs. And, worse yet, the cancer had caused a bone to break and had already metastasized, spreading throughout Oso’s body. Heartbreakingly, it was too late for treatment. Wanting to do something with her grief, Kellie later reached out to her veterinarian to find out the best place to support cancer research. Her veterinarian recommended Morris Animal Foundation.
Their journey with Oso taught Kellie and Gary a lot about cancer in dogs. They now know one of the top health concerns in Pyrenees is bone cancer and plan to regularly screen their recently adopted Pyrenees mix, Arlo, for the disease.
“There is a screening blood test that we now know about,” said Kellie. “And, while it’s not always the best indicator that a dog has osteosarcoma, it’s all we have right now. We hope more research will improve the ability to catch this disease early and provide better treatment options. It also makes us feel better knowing we can screen Arlo once a year. We want to always do our best for him.”