This month was my annual trip to participate in the Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.  This marks the fifth year of the study that was established to help identify the factors that lead to cancer and other diseases in dogs.   It is the largest veterinary study ever undertaken and will hopefully lead to major breakthroughs in canine cancer research.

In 2011-2012, the Morris Animal Foundation enrolled 3,044 Golden Retrievers and I am known as Hero #2512.   To participate, all Heroes had to have at least a three generational pedigree history, be one year of age when we enrolled and agree to participate in the study for our entire lives.

Each year Mom receives a big box in the mail with all my lab supplies to take to Dr. Parkin at Potomac Animal Wellness.  Dr. Parkin completes a comprehensive exam and questionnaire and sends all my important lab work overnight to the Morris Animal Foundation for analysis.   Mom helps, too, by answering an extensive questionnaire about my environment, nutrition, lifestyle and exceptional personality.

They say they chose Golden Retrievers because nearly 60% of all Goldens will develop cancer in their lifetime, but I am pretty sure they picked us because not many dogs would submit to the poke of the needle to withdraw 56 ml of blood, give toenail and hair clippings, fecal and urine samples and lump biopsies (thank goodness I have not had one of those) with the same sweet temperament as a Golden.

Dr. Parkin said this year’s results were “unremarkable” which Mom says is a good thing, but I have no idea how anything about me could be described as unremarkable.

To learn more about the Morris Animal Foundation and the great things they are doing you can check out their website and even make a donation to the cause: .

Until next year, I’ll just keep being the best Hero I can be, which sure doesn’t include being unremarkable.