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December 9, 2021 — While the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is in its 10th year, the ages of dogs enrolled ranges from 7 to almost 12 years old. Bowie, Hero Dog #26, has the distinction of being the oldest dog currently in the Study (11 years and 9 months) and Blaze, Hero Dog #3044, the youngest (at just over 7).

Diane Yotter, pet parent to Bowie, is happy to report that he’s still going strong. But, like so many participants, Diane is no stranger to the problem of cancer in the breed, having lost her last golden, Maizy, to the disease.

Maizy was elderly when she passed, but as a veterinary hospital employee, Diane’s seen plenty of other pet owners struggle with the disease.

“I just hope the information gathered helps other dogs down the line,” said Diane. “I didn’t have any expectations when my veterinarian first brought up participating in the Study but thought to myself, ‘I’ll do it!’”

Blaze isn’t just our youngest dog at just over 7 years of age – he also happens to be the last dog enrolled in the Study, our Hero Dog #3044.

Dr. Sharon Albright, Blaze’s pet parent, says that despite the current pandemic, Blaze continues to stay active. Blaze competes in obedience and hunt tests, taking after his big sister Reese.

“The goal,” says Sharon, “is to keep Blaze happy, fit and engaged. We have a lot of fun competing.”

As a veterinarian and a golden retriever owner, Sharon’s seen her fair share of dogs with cancer and her hopes for the Study’s outcome reflects this perspective.

“Even if we don’t find the smoking gun for cancer,” said Sharon, “I think even the data on spay/neuter and obesity has made a difference in how we practice veterinary medicine. I also think the new data being collected on cognition and arthritis in older dogs will add objective data to help us take better care of our aging dogs. That alone is worth it to me.”

We thank Diane and Sharon for their dedication to the Study, and we wish Bowie and Blaze good health in 2022!