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Xanadu, a fun-loving Labrador retriever, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma of his right front leg in August 2010. Lisa Dowell chronicled her dog’s ensuing struggle in a blog, documenting the ups and downs associated with chemotherapy – response, relapse, experimental treatments – all the highs and lows.

She described the agonizing decision to amputate Xanadu’s leg, after months of bandage changes and attempts to save the limb. But it wasn’t enough. In April 2011, Lisa shared the last few days of Xanadu’s life.

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer of dogs, with 10,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Highly aggressive, by the time the cancer is diagnosed, in fully 90 percent of cases it has already spread. Most dogs die within one year of diagnosis, despite treatment.

Lisa wanted to fight back against the disease that took Xanadu’s life, and began participating in Morris Animal Foundation’s K9 cancer fundraising walks. She also wanted to share Xanadu's story during the foundation's Season of Hope, when making a gift makes all the difference in helping all animals.

“The walks give me a sense of empowerment, and the feeling that I am going to make a difference,” said Lisa. “There is a sense of community, and you no longer feel like you’re doing this alone.”

Thanks to your help, and people like Lisa, Morris Animal Foundation has invested nearly $2.5 million in canine osteosarcoma research. Foundation-funded research has advanced our understanding of how osteosarcoma spreads, and how to improve the quality of life of osteosarcoma patients.

But there is still much work to be done.

Morris Animal Foundation recenlty launched a bold initiative - invest an additional $5 million for five years on osteosarcoma research. The goal is simple; to find a way to stop the spread of this terrible cancer.

Lisa is right; donating to Morris Animal Foundation will make a difference in the lives of dogs with cancer. Your gift this holiday season during our Season of Hope will provide hope for finding better treatments to improve the quality and duration of life for the dogs we love.