If you’ve had a dog, you know how hard it is when your dog suffers an illness, especially one like cancer. Peggy Mitchell knows too. That’s why she’s helping to end canine cancer, along with Morris Animal Foundation. It’s been more than a year since Peggy Mitchell’s dog, Emily, died of cancer. “I try to get through talking about Emily without crying,” Mitchell says, “but it’s hard.”
Mitchell says she was lucky that Emily lived two-and-a-half years after veterinarians realized that she had the same, highly invasive cancer, hemangiosarcoma, that Emily’s mother succumbed to within two weeks of diagnosis.
Unfortunately, thousands of dog owners across the country share similar experiences. Canine cancer is the number one killer of dogs over the age of two. About 50% of dogs will develop cancer in their lifetime, and one in four will die of the disease.
These days, Mitchell puts her sadness to good use. As one of the volunteers for the 2010 Morris Animal Foundation K9 Cancer Walk in Estes Park on August 21, she’s marshaling public support for canine cancer research. She’s also helping build a community for dog owners who share her fear and frustration. Dog owners can convene at the walk to talk about their canine best friends’ battle with the disease.
Volunteers like Mitchell will be helping with two other K9 Cancer Walks this year. There will be walks in Los Gatos, Calif., at Vasona Lake Park on Sunday, Oct. 10, and at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, Fla., on Sunday Dec. 5. Walk proceeds will go directly to the Foundation. Money raised will help fund research and train the next generation of researchers around the world.