Duke was a Labrador Maremma Sheepdog cross, who sadly passed away from an aggressive form of cancer called Histiocytic Sarcoma (HS), which is found in both animals and humans.
His parents, Brooke and Clinton, decided to organise a fundraising event to support the not-for-profit research charity Australian Animal Cancer Foundation (AACF).
Day for Duke was first held in 2016 and due to the incredible success, it was decided to hold the event annually. The day is full of excitement, and has included a range of activities for families and their fur friends, featuring entertainment by Larrikin Puppet Show, famed medium Amanda De Warren from radio, tv and Woman’s Day, talented performers Natalie Mead and Teagan Norman, DJ Bryon Bay, fun pet competitions including best dressed, best trick, waggiest tail and owner pet look alike, a dog washing and grooming parlour, doggie boutiques and accessories, obedience and agility demonstration, pet photography plus face painting, raffles and much more.
The incredible Jamie Dunn and his mate Agro were featured guests at the first ever, ‘Day for Duke’ where the, ‘Survivors Parade’ was launched! The ‘Survivors Parade’ was the first of its kind in the world! This is an opportunity for people and their companion animals who have fought cancer or are fighting cancer, to walk hand in paw together in a united fight. The parade is an emotional moment and at the same time uplifting to all involved.
Dr Rod Straw, founder of the AACF, says it is important to bring much needed attention to the prevalence of cancer in small animals.
“At Brisbane Veterinary Specialist Centre, we treat hundreds of animals with cancer each year and with the help of The Foundation, we can learn how to better manage and even cure cancer in pets, which translates directly to benefit people,” Dr Straw said.
Duke had his leg amputated and underwent surgery and chemotherapy to remove his cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer was too aggressive and soon returned as a mass in his abdomen.
Duke’s mum, Brooke, says she wants other dog owners to know what warning signs to look for and be vigilant in recognising them, after Duke was initially misdiagnosed from an occurring limp.
“It doesn’t matter what age or breed your dog is, cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can also metastasize at a much faster rate in dogs than humans,” Brooke said.
In humans, cancer kills 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men. The incidence is almost equal in dogs, killing 50% of dogs over the age of 10 and 33% of those under.
Duke’s parents intend for the event to continue to be an annual occurrence, providing long term support to the AACF and cancer research in animals and humans alike.