Fraser’s Story

Alex has cerebral palsy and Fraser, his service dog, helps him maintain his independence by doing the things he can’t. When Fraser was diagnosed with cancer, it was Alex’s turn to be there for him and thanks to the Pet Cancer Awareness Campaign he could be.

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

PCA + Fraser

Service dog’s symptoms don’t seem like cancer at first

Alex Stone got Fraser, a black Labrador Retriever, at two-years-old from Summit Assistance Dogs in Seattle, Washington.

Stone has cerebral palsy and says Fraser helps him maintain his independence by picking up and carrying things and turning on and off light switches. Fraser knows 60 specific commands to help Alex manage his day.

When Stone went to college, Fraser carried his books to class. When Stone accepted an internship with the African Disability Alliance in South Africa, Fraser helped him travel halfway around the world and live independently for five months. When Stone accepted a job with the Summit Assistance Dogs in Seattle, Washington, Fraser didn’t just go to the office; he accompanied Stone around town while he made speeches about service dogs.

“When Fraser came into my life, I was hoping to utilize his physical skill set,” says Stone. “But the added benefit was the companionship and social benefits of helping me engage with others. Before Fraser, people were unsure of me so they would avoid talking to me. Now they talk to Fraser, which gives me an opportunity to talk to them and verify that I am a viable conversation partner.”

Alex and Fraser were never apart.

"Alex and Fraser were never apart."

 

Cancer treatment requires four weeks’ treatment

But things changed when Fraser, now 12, developed significant mobility issues. Doctors thought it was arthritis and prescribed pain medications, acupuncture, and massage. A local neurologist performed an MRI, which revealed a tumor – a malignant meningioma – putting pressure on his spine.

“They tried to remove the entire tumor, but they couldn’t get it all,” says Stone.

Doctors referred Fraser to Colorado State University’s (CSU) Flint Animal Cancer Center for an evaluation. CSU provided a $5,000 Pet Treatment Grant, funded by Petco Foundation’s Pet Cancer Awareness campaign, to cover the recommended radiation treatments.

Afterward, Fraser completed a physical therapy program to regain his strength. His treatments at CSU took four weeks, which meant the two had to be apart for the first time.

Stone makes extra effort to be with Fraser

Stone couldn’t bear to apart from Fraser for that long. So, he traveled from Washington to Colorado to visit Fraser during his treatment.“I didn’t want him to be in the hospital over the weekend by himself,” says Stone. “I wanted to be with him.”

Fraser is doing well and is back home in Seattle. At 13, Fraser has earned a wonderful retirement and perhaps will serve as a mentor to Alex’s next service dog. “Fraser will have a little brother or sister here very soon,” says Stone.

Join the fight

Each May, the Petco Foundation teams up with Blue Buffalo and Petco for the Pet Cancer Awareness campaign to fight pet cancer. Thanks to donations raised during this campaign, the Petco Foundation is able to partner with organizations like the Flint Animal Cancer Center to help pet parents afford the costs of pet cancer treatment.

Make a donation today to join the fight.

If your pet has been diagnosed with pet cancer and you need assistance with the cost of care, please see our Pet Cancer Resource Guide featuring some of the organizations providing help thanks to the Pet Cancer Awareness campaign.

Get the warning signs of pet cancer.