Last year, David MacNeil's golden retriever, Scout, was given a month to live. The 7-year-old dog had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. But MacNeil refused to give up and now he's purchased a $6 million Super Bowl commercial to thank the veterinarians who saved Scout's life.
Scout was also featured last year in a Super Bowl ad for WeatherTech, which manufactures automotive accessories and home and pet care products. The company calls him its official "spokescanine."
According to UW-Madison, MacNeil previously lost three dogs to cancer, the number one cause of illness and death in aging dogs. Scout was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of blood vessel walls, after collapsing at home last summer and given a 1% chance of survival.
"Scout's illness devastated us," MacNeil told the school. "We wanted this year's Super Bowl effort to not only raise awareness, but also financial support for the incredible research and innovative treatments happening at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, where Scout is still a patient."
Scout began chemotherapy at UW Veterinary Care last summer, followed by radiation therapy for the tumor found on his heart and immunotherapy to stimulate his immune system. The tumor decreased in size over several months and today, it has all but disappeared, the school said.
His cancer also spread to his lungs, but doctors caught it early, according to Scout's Instagram. Tuesday marked his first day of ten rounds of radiation therapy.
"We wanted to use the biggest stage possible to highlight Scout's story and these incredible breakthroughs, which are not just limited to helping dogs and pets," MacNeil said. "This research will help advance cancer treatments for humans as well, so there's the potential to save millions of lives of all species."
All the funds raised from the Super Bowl commercial will be used to support research at the veterinary school and to buy specialized equipment. The goals are to better diagnose, treat and prevent cancer and identify new drugs and treatments using the funding.
"Pets make a difference in your life," the ad concludes. "You can make a difference in theirs."