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April 16, 2015 – “Having lost my parents and a 3-year-old golden to cancer within a four year span, I could not be more dedicated to this study,” said Julie Deveso.  Julie’s good friend and veterinarian, Dr. Melissa Mroziak, echoes Julie’s sentiments.  “We feel good that we are doing something to help.  This is what we need to do.”

Julie and Melissa have been friends since high school, and have supported each other through some tough times; Melissa lost her dad around the same time as Julie’s mother passed.  Enter Ozzy, a “gorgeous” golden retriever who became a comfort to Julie as she navigated through this sad time.  Unfortunately, Ozzy developed lymphoma at the tender age of 3, and succumbed to the disease very quickly in spite of chemotherapy.  Melissa remembers the sense of helplessness she felt as she watched her friend’s dog, her “baby,” decline.  “I remember thinking ‘I can’t help this dog’. We were devastated by his loss.”

Melissa was proud when she heard that Julie wanted to get a new pup, and she had an idea - together they would participate in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study as a team.  “I’m in if you’re in, I told Julie,” Melissa said.  “It is an opportunity to do something positive, not just for goldens, not just for all dogs, but for people, too!” said Julie. Her involvement in the study also is fostered by her work as a registered nurse with an interest in research with broad applications.

The decision to enroll Lacey, Hero Dog #2399, into the study was made even before she was born.  Lacey is now an active and happy 1-year-old (“She is so stinkin’ cute,” said Melissa).  Together, these two good friends are working together to provide a brighter future in honor of the loved ones, both furry and human, they’ve lost to cancer.

To learn more about Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, and our other studies, visit