Every Dog Matters Hero # 2016
Morris Animal Foundation appreciates the commitment made by our study participants, and we want to honor and recognize that commitment. Each month, we’ll share their stories and learn about the families and veterinarians who care for them. This month, meet Cooper(pictured in the back), Hero Dog #2016.
As golden retriever owners, we hear a lot about cancer. Renee Wampler, pet parent to Cooper, reminds us that cancer has many different faces.
Although Cooper is Renee’s first golden retriever, she has shared her life with many dogs. Unfortunately, Renee has had more than her share of experience with cancer, losing her first three dogs to the disease.
Until Cooper came into her life, Renee had always had small breed dogs. Her first dog, Mollie, was a zippy wire-haired dachshund whose life was cut short at only 4 years of age from a bone tumor that infiltrated her spine. Renee’s next two dogs, a Cairn terrier named Sassy and red standard dachshund named Maggie, were both diagnosed with cancer. Sassy had two cancerous growths successfully removed before developing an inoperable mast cell tumor in her neck. Tragically, Maggie also was diagnosed with an inoperable abdominal cancer during the same veterinary visit. Renee and her veterinarian did what they could to make both dogs comfortable, but Renee felt helpless as she watched both dogs eventually succumb to their diseases.
Renee was devastated by these losses, and it made her determined to do something to stop canine cancer. When she learned of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, Renee knew she had found a way to help.
Renee decided to jump into new territory when she got her first “big dog.” Even though she wasn’t planning on getting a puppy, Renee accompanied her daughter Ashley to pick out a golden retriever puppy. One thing led to another, and before she knew it, Renee was taking home her own puppy, Cooper.
“Cooper is so funny,” said Renee. “As with all golden retrievers, he is very smart. But if he doesn’t get a chance to work off his extra energy, he gets into mischief!”
Cooper and his brother, Tucker, do a lot of roughhousing and wrestling together, while Renee’s other dogs, a miniature wired haired dachshund named Abby (who “rules Cooper and Tucker with an iron fist”) and Callie, a Cairn terrier, make sure they stay far away from the commotion. According to Renee, one of Cooper’s most endearing qualities is his kindness and gentleness with smaller dogs, which she believes is a by-product of having grown up with Abby and Callie.
Renee’s experience reminds us that cancer can take many forms and affect dogs of all sizes. Renee hopes that all dogs, great and small, will benefit from the results of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.
Thank you, Renee and Cooper. Every participant in the Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, human and dog, matters!