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June 14, 2022 — Julie and Marc Cuenod’s annual trek to Colorado Springs will be a bit sadder this year. The couple lost their beloved Tate, Angel Hero Dog #2460, last summer to stomach cancer. In addition to Tate, Julie and Marc’s other dog, Ellie, Hero Dog #2349, also struggled with cancer. Luckily for Ellie, her mast cell tumors were removed and she’s doing well.

Julie and Marc were featured in another Foundation story back in 2019. They spoke about their beloved golden Teddie, another dog lost to cancer. It was Teddie’s death that spurred Julie and Marc to enroll Tate and Ellie in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.

Julie was researching cancer in the breed and discovered Morris Animal Foundation. The timing was perfect – recruitment was nearing completion and Julie knew she had to participate in honor of Teddie.

Wrangling two dogs for Study visits and completing multiple questionnaires can be a bit like herding cats (or is it goldens?), but Julie and Marc were up to the task.

Unfortunately, both Ellie and Tate had health issues crop up in late 2020. Ellie had stomach and intestinal symptoms that put her in and out of the hospital, in addition to a diagnosis of mast cell tumors. Tate also had stomach issues which eventually led to a diagnosis of inoperable stomach cancer. Ellie is now stable, but Julie and Marc said good-bye to Tate in August 2021. She was just shy of her eighth birthday.

Despite the challenges of the last 18 months, the Cuenods take comfort in knowing that scientific learnings from Ellie and Tate’s experiences could help other dogs in the future.

“It breaks my heart because these are our kids,” said Julie. “We hope that the Study finds a breakthrough that can lower the number of golden retrievers that suffer and die from cancer.”

As we near the end of the Study, there’s so much more to learn from this amazing cohort of dogs. But we need your help.

With support from animal lovers like you, we can make a difference for dogs like Teddie, Tate and Ellie. Help us continue to move forward and Stop Cancer Furever.


Learn more about our Golden Retriever Lifetime Study and what you can do to help dogs suffering from cancer live longer, happier lives!