Morris Animal Foundation logo

Canine Cancer: Louie's Story

Golden Retriever standing in the grass

The Mesingers are no strangers to canine cancer. Elliot, their lovable Golden Retriever, spent 14 wonderful years romping nose deep in the snow in the winter and swimming in his favorite Montana lake in the summer. At age 13, however, Elliott’s family noticed occasional drops of blood coming from his left nostril. A trip to his veterinarian in Boulder, Colorado, determined the cause: a large nasal tumor.

After hearing the diagnosis, the family wanted all of Elliott’s remaining days to be filled with play, good rest, hugs and kisses, so their goal was to maintain his quality of life for as long as possible. Despite an initial prognosis that Elliott would live only a few months, he lived more than a year longer, passing away in December 2010. Sadly this was not the family’s only canine companion to develop cancer, which affects half of all dogs. In addition, their Bernese Mountain Dog, Carter, had a large tumor successfully removed from his ribs last summer.

The family has no plans to give up on dogs, though. In fact, they recently committed to helping them. They’ve enrolled their Golden Retriever and newest addition to the family, Louie, in Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. Part of the nonprofit organization’s Canine Lifetime Health Project, this study will be the longest and largest ever conducted in veterinary medicine, and it has the potential to significantly change veterinary medicine for all dogs.

The study’s goal? To figure out why Goldens get cancer and other disease so that scientists can learn how to better prevent, diagnose and treat dogs.

“We care so much about helping with this project and doing what we can to help find ways to prevent and cure canine cancer going forward,” Josh Mesinger says. “Louie is part of something special and will help millions of dogs with his participation in this amazing study.”

Morris Animal Foundation and the Orvis Company have been partners in fighting canine cancer since 2009. Through the Orvis Cover Dog Photo Contest and donations given through the Orvis Company Catalog, Orvis and its customers have raised more than $1 Million, all of which has supported Morris Animal Foundation’s efforts to invest in science that improves the health of dogs.

Now Orvis is helping Morris Animal Foundation once again in its quest to enroll 3,000 Golden Retrievers under the age of 2 in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. This observational study will last 10 to 14 years.

Learn more and register your dogs at Your participation will help ensure a brighter future for Golden Retrievers and all dogs. 

Morris Foundation logo

Orvis Canine Cancer Campaign

Canine cancer affects 1 in 4 dogs, and half of all dogs over ten years old. Fortunately, in recent years, veterinary scientists have made tremendous research strides—recent studies have led to new research tools, better diagnostics, and improved chemotherapy treatments. But there is more work to be done. That's why The Orvis Company partners with Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit organization that invests in animal health science, to support canine cancer research and improve the health of all dogs.

Learn More

Is Your Dog the Next Cover Dog?

Partnering with Morris Animal Foundation, a global leader in advancing veterinary medicine, we’ve raised more than $1 million through our Cover Dog contest to support canine cancer research. Enter your dog, vote for your favorite, and help us raise $1 million more in the fight against canine cancer.

Submit your pup Learn More
Dog jumping in the air, catching a frisbee