Smile For A Cure - Part 1
A Project of The National Canine Cancer Foundation
Photo by Julie Clegg
(page 1 of 2)
Part 1 of 2.
LIFE+DOG is proud to support the 2012 Smile For A Cure initiative from the National Canine Cancer Foundation (NCCF). The NCCF is a nationwide, contribution-funded, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health issue in dogs. For two months each year, participating photographers join forces and dedicate their time and energy to raise funds and awareness for the organization. Through September 2012, if you book a session with a participating photographer, 100% of the session fee is donated to the NCCF. It’s a small way that you can make a big difference. Visit their website for a list of participating photographers—there's one in your area—and book a session before the campaign ends.
LIFE+DOG presents the following dogs from the 2011 campaign by participating photographers Julie Clegg, Nunthany Johnson and Kelly Schulze. Each of the dogs featured in these images has a touching story of their own battle with canine cancer. This is the first of a two-part series on dogs from the Smile For A Cure campaign.
Photographed by Julie Clegg
Indy hadn't been able to use his hind legs for about one year when we met Julie. He had torn both ACLs in the past and had terrible osteoarthritis. We were able to keep him extremely happy, though, in his cart and then later in a stroller. (Pictured here) About one month before our photo shoot he started collapsing on his right front while riding in the cart and you could feel a swollen area when you touched him. We took X-rays and only saw a soft tissue mass that we removed out of caution, but it was a non-cancerous lipoma.
Shortly after our shoot Indy started crying and whimpering at night, which he NEVER ever had done before, through all of his surgeries on his knees and then his subsequent arthritis. We immediately took him back to work and X-rayed his right shoulder and found the classic signs of an osteo-sarcoma: occurring at either end of the longer bones; lyses the bone; and causes extreme pain. He was a hearty soul and a fighter to the end, but the strongest pain medications, including morphine, were not able to alleviate the pain he was experiencing. The most effective treatment for osteo-sarcoma is amputation of the affected limb, followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation. The time came when we had to evaluate his quality of life with his hind legs as well his age at 15 and a half years, and euthanasia became the most humane choice for him. My Bubba will always be in my heart.
April 9, 1996 - November 7th, 2011.
Photographed by Kelly Schulze
A cuddly and happy Bichon Frise, Jeremiah was diagnosed with lymphoma a little over a year ago. Despite terrible odds, his people, Warren and Linda, remained optimistic and decided to fight. I will always remember what Warren said, “we knew it would be expensive and a lot of people think we’re crazy to spend so much money on a dog. But it comes down to keeping him with us for $35 a day. We’re fortunate to still have him. He still has a purpose. He still makes everyone smile.” He went into remission for about 10 months before the cancer came back. After a second round of chemo he was in remission for another few months. Amazingly, Jeremiah has just begun his third, and sadly final, round of chemo. You’d never know it to look at him. His coat has grown back soft and thick, his appetite is healthy, and he can chase chipmunks out of his yard. He is under excellent care with the specialist staff of Burlington Emergency Veterinary Service.
Warren and Linda are friends of mine that specialize in wedding photography and people portraiture. I’m always nervous to photograph for another photographer, but as soon as I told them about Smile For A Cure they signed up. We planned Jeremiah’s session for a morning in between chemo treatments and kept our fingers crossed that he’d feel good that day. As soon as he tasted the treats I had brought, it was a great day! He was incredibly expressive and eager to please. When he felt tired about halfway through the session we let him take a quick nap on the porch in one of his favorite beds. After his nap he was silly and animated, much to the delight of Warren and Linda. We finished the morning with some group portraits, which were the hardest as we all started to realize how bittersweet the day was.
I appreciate how meaningful these portraits are to Warren and Linda, and to all the families that participate in the initiative. They cherish Jeremiah and have dedicated themselves to his happiness. To Linda especially, Jeremiah is her “heart dog”, that one dog that everyone has in life that really understands us.
I truly hope that the money raised from Smile For A Cure helps more “heart dogs” chase more chipmunks.
Continue reading for more incredible stories.