Czar's Story

It began as a love story; the attraction, immediate. In 2001, a small white fluffball with an infectious smile that had me at “hello”, came bounding full steam ahead and into my arms; and yes, that was all it took. This 8 week old Great Pyrenees puppy, now named “Czar”, was destined to wrap up every ounce of his heart into mine, and that he did.  It did not take long to recognize that Czar was truly special. His calm, loyal, gentle and proud demeanor, proved others found peace and calm in his presence. He brought smiles, laughter, and absolute pure joy. At first, his experience led him to Oakwood Lutheran Homes in Madison, WI, where he visited residents in the extended care facility. After a bit of time, Czar was accepted into the Pet Pals Animal Assisted Therapy Program, at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, where for 5 years, he lay gently at the sides of children who were captivated by his warmth, sincerity, and provided loads of belly rubs, ear scratches, and snuggles. Czar enjoyed this time immensely, and shared his love of animal assisted therapy with Dr. Patricia McConnell, and participated in her training DVD, “Lending a Helping Paw”, to educate others to understand the journey of helping humans through the love and strength of the canine/human bond.

But in April of 2012, something wasn’t right. Seemingly overnight, a hard lump had formed on his back right hock. After spending an entire day with local specialty veterinarian, Dr. Dave Edinger, Czar was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, or bone cancer. Shock did not even begin to cover the news. I had never traveled this road before; and on that day, Czar’s life, and mine, were forever changed. A thousand questions, a sick feeling in my stomach, and decisions, which I learned, needed to be made quickly. Czar was 10 years old but in perfect health aside from his diagnosis. An amputation of his back leg was performed, he underwent 2 rounds of chemotherapy, and it was as though his life did not skip a beat. He was back to livin’ large, enjoying life and even returned to private in home therapy visits, as well as gracing residents of Willow Pointe Assisted Living in Verona with his smile. For 19 months, along with care from Veterinary Oncologist, Dr. Kai Shiu, Czar lived nothing less than his happy and charmed life. But on December 20, 2013, Czar shared with me it was his time for him to start a new chapter. The pain of osteosarcoma could no longer be controlled; he was tired; he was hurting; his eyes told the story, and I was heartbroken. My one-in-a-million was leaving life as we knew it for 12 years; to say I was devastated was an understatement. And as I held him in my arms for the very last time, as I listened to his last breath, the promise was made. I would never, ever stop fighting, to help stop this horrible disease from impacting canines, humans and their families. And with that promise made, Czar was gone.

Since 2013, Czar’s inspiration has led to a movement to unite our Madison, Dane County, and southern Wisconsin communities. To educate people on what canine and human cancer really means. Options, treatments, and that funds are desperately needed to continue this fight, to help keep the promise, and to find a cure.  


Czar in front of the state Capitol in downtown Madison, Wisconsin

Czar posing in front of the state Capitol in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.

Get Involved

We are a volunteer organization that supports canine cancer and research. Learn how you can get involved.

Our Partners

We could not do what we do without the help of our community partners. Click here to learn more about them.

Our Events

Learn more about our events and what we do with our fundraising money – keeping it local for the most impact.

Woof Pack

Want to help a dog (and family) in need? Here is how you can help with our Woof Pack.


It began as a love story; the attraction, immediate. In 2001, a small white fluffball with an infectious smile that had me at "hello", came bounding full steam ahead and into my arms; and yes, that was all it took.

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If you're reading this, you are most likely a dog lover! These images are photos of Czar’s Promise fun filled events, as well as photos of our Canine Cancer Crew, beloved canines who have had their own battle with cancer. Shown here is Gobi.

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