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March 3, 2022 — Nan Stuart knows golden retrievers in a big way. Nan has been a fan of the breed for decades and has devoted much of her enormous energies toward improving their health. Like so many golden owners, Nan’s experienced the heartbreak of losing a beloved dog to cancer too many times.

Nan has been a supporter of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study since its inception, promoting the Study through her many contacts. Nan went a step further and enrolled seven puppies – Kono, Khaki, Koaster, Kevlar, Kubota, Kizzy and Korrigan - from the same litter! When Nan placed the puppies in their forever homes, she required the new pet parents to continue to participate in the Study. Nan knew that having siblings placed in different areas of the country would provide a unique opportunity to examine how the environment might affect health outcomes in genetically similar dogs.

When the Golden Oldies project was first announced in 2020, Nan knew she had a unique contribution to make to the project. She enrolled Kelsey, the mother of the litter of pups already in the Study. Golden Oldies enrolls healthy golden retrievers over 12 years of age to participate as control subjects in a cancer research project.

“I thought it would be important for me to enroll the mother of all the pups in Golden Oldies,” said Nan. “Kelsey’s genetic data could be compared with her pups. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!”

Nan would like to know if there is a genetic marker for cancer development in the breed. Her hope is that this could help breeders, veterinarians and owners make more informed decisions when it comes to health care and breeding. She’s excited to see what new findings are discovered when genetic analysis is complete.

“I believe we can learn a lot from these dogs,” said Nan. “They’re teachers in life and teachers in death. I hope my dogs can contribute to improving the health of golden retrievers and all dogs.”