Web Extra

by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04 Ph.D.

“Mia,” a bassador (Basset/Labrador mix) and therapy dog, was diagnosed with lymphoma in February 2012, just five months before her 10th birthday. She received several rounds of chemotherapy at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and is currently in remission. In July, Mia with her canine family members celebrated her birthday by feasting on meat and cream cheese cupcakes.

To continue their therapy work,  Mia and her human mom, Rachel Wright (’97 BA) recently renewed their Pet Partners therapy animal team registration.  Rachel and Mia make weekly visits to Children’s Hospital in Seattle and Bailey-Boushay House. Mia now has a new connection with human cancer patients after experiencing chemotherapy herself.

“She has given so much to so many,” said Brian Wright (’96 BA). “She is in remission right now and she has been able to continue her visits while she fights this disease.”

Brian, Rachel and their veterinarian are so appreciative of the advancement in cancer treatments at WSU that have helped Mia, they want to support cancer care for others. In October 2012, Brian and Rachel ran a half marathon to honor Mia and raise money for the WSU Oncology Service.

Update:  As of October 2013, Mia is still in remission and continuing her work as a therapy dog. “She is a fighter, and an inspiration for us every day,” says Brian. “She is in remission for the second time since her diagnosis over 18 months ago. She loves her work as a therapy dog.”

Update from Mia’s owner, June 2014: Mia is in her 3rd remission. We are celebrating 27 months of her being a cancer survivor. She is our miracle dog and continues to inspire us and all who meet her. She recently completely retired after 10 years of being a Pet Partners therapy dog. And, she is now re-channeling her therapy efforts to provide support to her basset hound brother Rudy, who was just diagnosed with cancer this week. Rudy will be starting radiation therapy at WSU the week of June 23. Mia has been accompanying him to all his vet appointments. She, too, has been through radiation (and chemotherapy) and has “woofs of wisdom” to share with her brother.

Update from Mia’s owner, June 17, 2014: We heartbreakingly said goodbye to our basset boy, Rudy, last week. He made it through both surgeries, but unfortunately had serious complications during his post-surgery recovery. He experienced acute respiratory distress that he just couldn’t recover from. His veterinary care team, myself, my husband, and Mia were all by his side. He and Mia both told us clearly that it was time to let go.