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.
Links for support group information, as well as books and articles on anticipating the loss of your pet, and other resources.
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.
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.
"I have been through the unbearable pain of losing my precious Goldendoodle, Gryffindor to canine cancer and find comfort in knowing 'Czar's Promise' will provide that much-needed education, funding, and support to those in our local community. It honors all those who have lost loved ones to cancer, and those who may be experiencing that hurt and uncertainty. Czar's Promise will be there to let others know you are not alone and provides a rainbow of hope for the future!"
"Brady and I were fortunate to have the BEST veterinary oncology team in our own back yard. Through our terrible journey that was Osteosarcoma, Brady and I made life long friends, and I am blessed to be part of an organization that is so personal and important to me and doing remarkable work. Brady touched so many lives all over the world and was an inspiration to all that knew him. To Dr. Shiu, his staff, Beth Viney and everyone at Czar's Promise, thank you! I love you all!"
"When I found a small toe mass on my 3 year old, running partner Rogue’s foot that was confirmed Malignant and Aggressive Digital Melanoma, I was devastated and confused. Although the cancer diagnosis was incomprehensible, the excellent care, counsel and treatment we received from Dr. Shiu, Dr. Singh, and the entire care team gave us more than we expected...no more cancer! I am so happy that we have our very own refreshingly local support group, Czar’ Promise to continue awareness, education, and promote healthy lifestyles for people and their pets who have been touched by cancer. Thank you for what you're doing."
—Dr. Laura Oxley, Healthy Pet—
"When my Sammy was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, I thought my world would end. I was terrified and felt hopeless. The Czar's Promise family understood it all. I had people to talk with who understood my journey like nobody else did. And they helped me process through Sammy's treatment options so I could make the best choices for her and our family."
"Czar’s Promise has given me the invaluable gift of time, of another morning of snuggles, and another long evening walk. There is nothing more precious or worthy of cherishing than our time with loved ones, and I cannot convey how much this will forever mean to me. From the depths of my heart, I thank you all at Czar’s Promise."
Czar's Promise Mission
Inspiring Hope. Funding Research.
Our mission, the first in our country with three key areas of impact, is a unique approach to helping companion animals in their cancer journey, while funding companion animal and pediatric cancer research to help find a cure.
Financial, educational and emotional support for families whose canines and felines have been diagnosed with cancer and receiving treatment
Grant funding for pediatric cancer research at UW Health Kids – American Family Children’s Hospital, Madison, WI
Grant funding for companion animal cancer research at University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, Madison, WI
Czar's Promise is a 501 (c)(3) organization, #47-2163857
Connect With Us
PO Box 5061
Madison, WI 53705