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WeatherTech CEO buys ad to thank vets for saving dog

After a team of veterinarians saved his dog from a deadly form of cancer, an Illinois CEO is taking out a Super Bowl commercial to thank them.

Last year, David MacNeil’s seven-year-old golden retriever Scout was diagnosed with a tumor in his heart after collapsing at home. His diagnosis, a severe form of cancer of the blood vessel walls called hemangiosarcoma, gave him less than one month to live.

“Scout’s illness devastated us,” said MacNeil, the owner and CEO of WeatherTech, a company that makes automobile accessories, in a statement. 

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MacNeil’s family took Scout to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where an intense, experimental procedure consisting of chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy has shrunk the tumor to nearly nothing, per the university.

“Scout is kind of the perfect patient in that he’s tolerated multiple modes of therapy very well, his primary tumor has responded beautifully to treatment, and we’ve been able to maintain his quality of life at a very high level,” said David Vail, a professor at University of Madison-Wisconsin’s veterinary school, in a statement.

MacNeil was so grateful that he took out an ad for the university’s veterinary school, the first time the school will be featured during the Super Bowl. Scout has been featured before in ads for WeatherTech. 

In the campaign, called “Lucky Dog,” Scout runs on a beach, before footage cuts to him being treated by UW-Madison veterinarians. The spot features a donation link on the WeatherTech website, with all the proceeds going towards UW-Madison’s veterinary school. It will air in the second quarter of the Super Bowl.

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“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 UW School of Veterinary Medicine, where Scout is still a patient,” MacNeil said in a statement.

Dogs and people, the university points out, share similar cancer rates, as well as similar traits in their spread and treatment. The National Cancer Institute notes that canine cancer research efforts, as a result, can help facilitate human cancer research — and vice versa.

Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote

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