By Meg Cowan
February 10, 2012
I've had dogs my entire life, and though I've loved them all, there was one that was special. His name was Elway. He was seven weeks old when I brought him home and a bundle of energy. There were three things I could always count on with him - he always had to carry something in his mouth, his tail wagged non-stop, and he hardly ever slept in fear he'd miss something.
In so many ways Elway was your typical Lab - he loved the water, his tennis balls, hiking and going everywhere. I would often find him standing over me at five am on weekend mornings ready to go. There were places to see and things to do and he wanted to experience them all.
There was little we didn't do in his ten years. He made the most of his time, from hiking several trails, to swimming in the ocean, digging holes in the sand and several visits to the local veterinary clinic. He was happy no matter what. He had endured hip replacement surgery, knee surgery, stomach surgery, and in the end surgery involving an osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in his spine. I would tell everyone he was my cat because he seemed to have nine lives. No matter what happened, he always seemed to bounce back and happier than ever. The minor setbacks in life never seemed to slow him down.
Elway came to Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center in October of 2010 for treatment of the cancer in his spine. He had endured a couple of surgeries in Tacoma, WA in hopes of saving his life. Unfortunately, the cancer spread and we brought him to CSU in hopes of buying him more time. We knew from the start CSU wouldn't be able to save him, but our hopes were that Elway could get time and good quality of life. However, the cancer he had was extremely aggressive and Elway lasted just a little over a month following his visit to CSU.
In the short time he had back at home he was able to enjoy many of the things he had before the cancer thanks to the medications to manage his pain and other symptoms. He could walk without crying, play ball, and would often entice his brother (also a lab) to a wrestling match. He became a regular at Wendy's for his daily hamburger, and still enjoyed many car rides. Those days flew by, and in the end I let him go peacefully.
I can't thank the team at CSU enough. All we really have with the people or pets in our lives is time. I'm incredibly thankful for the time I had with Elway.
In honor of Elway, Meg Cowan and a handful of other generous supporters have helped the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center launch One Cure, an initiative founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors who are working with both people and animals.
Our hope is that many join in our efforts to eradicate cancer in people and pets through a charitable gift to One Cure or through the purchase of One Cure collars, leashes and other pet-friendly products.
Join us. Together, we can give hope. Together, we can find a cure.