When Danielle Nau and her future husband were considering adopting a dog, they did their research. “We knew we wanted a companion to share our active lifestyle,” said Nau. “After reading and even taking an online quiz, a Chesapeake Bay retriever kept coming up.”
With their decision made, they located a litter of puppies ready for adoption. Their heads led them there, but their hearts drew them immediately to an energetic little girl they named Scout.
As a Chicagoan, Scout spent her first few years swimming in Lake Michigan and taking daily walks in the city. That’s also where she learned to play Frisbee. When the family moved to Colorado in 2016, Scout added hiking to her list of most-loved activities. She climbed nine 14,000-foot mountains in four years.
“She’s happiest when she’s outside and active,” said Nau.
In December 2019, Scout jumped off the bed and let out an agonizing howl upon landing. Nau brought Scout to her local veterinarian immediately.
The X-ray showed she had bone cancer in her left front leg. Nau and her husband were devastated. Amputation was the recommended treatment, but they worried about her quality of life. Would she be able to do everything she loved on three legs? After some thought, the couple moved forward with the surgery at a specialty veterinary practice near their home in Denver.
Each day, Scout made progress. After two weeks, she went for a walk assisted by a harness. After four months, she was able to take a short hike and play Frisbee. Life felt normal again. Scout could do everything she wanted to on three legs. She even completed another 14,000-foot climb.
At a follow-up appointment in November 2020, the family learned the cancer had spread to Scout’s lungs. Unfortunately, Scout was one of the 80 percent of dogs to face this disheartening diagnosis. After two rounds of chemo, the cancer stubbornly progressed. As a last effort, Scout’s veterinary oncologist suggested a clinical trial at the Flint Animal Cancer Center.
After meeting with the One Cure clinical trials team at the FACC, Nau enrolled Scout in a study for dogs with metastatic osteosarcoma. The treatment protocol examines the anti-tumor effects of a three-drug combination.
Nearly a year into the clinical trial, Scout isn’t slowing down. She enjoys her role as a big sister to two human siblings, Harper and Quinn, fits in two Frisbee sessions per day, and swims as much as possible. She still enjoys regular walks and hiking, just not as many miles.
Scout’s Instagram (@scoutdogchessie) has given Nau a chance to connect with the worldwide tripawd community and other families who have dogs with bone cancer. “We’ve tried to use Scout’s experience as a source for inspiration and support for other families,” said Nau.
Reflecting on the last two years, Nau would do it all over again. “We are so grateful for the excellent care she has received and hope that her participation in a clinical trial also will help future cancer patients. The fact that she’s made it nearly two years since her diagnosis and is still doing the things she loves is amazing. We are thankful for each additional day.”