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Foundation Volunteers Find That Their Collective Power Really Can Make a Difference

Spring is finally upon us and if you weren’t already aware, April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month. Throughout the month, Morris Animal Foundation will be celebrating our many wonderful volunteers who selflessly fuel our mission to create a better and brighter future for the animals we all cherish.

Lisa Dowell, of San Jose, California, has been volunteering for Morris Animal Foundation as a walk day supporter and committee chair member for the K9 Cancer Walks since August 2010. The reason Lisa was first compelled to become involved is truly fortuitous.

“The whole reason I got involved with Morris Animal Foundation is that I was in a coffee shop and I saw a poster for an upcoming K9 Cancer Walk. The poster really caught my eye and I thought to myself how cool it was that there would be a walk for canine cancers,” Lisa says. “One month later, my own lab, Xanadu, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, and my mind just kept going back to that poster.”

In the midst of Xanadu’s radiation therapy, Lisa called the number on the poster and got involved to make a difference.

“I knew from my past experience as the special events manager for the Alzheimer’s Association that walks bring people with similar life experiences together and when they come together, they’re just joyful,” Lisa says. “There’s a sense of community, and you no longer feel like you’re doing this alone. I knew that the K9 Cancer Walk would be no different.”

The K9 Cancer Walks are an opportunity for all dog lovers to walk with their furry companions and to celebrate the lives of their canine best friends or to walk in memory of dogs that have lost their battles with canine cancer.

Cancer is the No.1 cause of death in dogs over the age of 2. Sadly, Xanadu lost his fight with the disease in April 2011. Despite her loss, Lisa remains steadfast in her involvement.

“Honestly, I continue on in Xanadu’s memory,” she says. “It’s something I can do to actively fight back and be alongside those who are going through what I went through with my dog. My husband and I have three other rescue dogs and I know that there’s a chance they could also get cancer. So I continue my volunteer work because I know it’s important to raise money and do the research to find a cure. The walks give me a sense of empowerment and a feeling that I am going to make a difference.”

You, too, can make a difference. Visit to learn more about events in your area or how to host your own event.

Categories: Animal health
April 7, 2014