Last year, David MacNeil's Golden Retriever Scout had one month to live. An aggressive form of cancer was diagnosed in the 7-year-old dog. But MacNeil refused to give up and now bought a $ 6 million Super Bowl commercial to thank the vets who saved Scout's life.
MacNeil, founder and CEO of WeatherTech, acquired the ad to highlight Scout's cancer treatment journey and raise funds for the University of Wisconsin veterinary program. The "Lucky Dog" 30-second ad will air on Sunday in the second quarter of the Super Bowl LIV.
Scout was also featured last year in a Super Bowl ad for WeatherTech, which manufactures car accessories as well as household and pet care products. The company calls it its official "Spokescanine".
According to UW-Madison, MacNeil previously lost three dogs to cancer, the main cause of illness and death in aging dogs. Scout was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of the blood vessel walls after collapsing at home last summer with a 1% chance of survival.
"The Boy Scout's illness devastated us," MacNeil told the school. "We wanted this year's Super Bowl campaign not only to raise awareness but also to fund the incredible research and innovative treatments that take place at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Faculty where Scout is still a patient."
Scout started chemotherapy at UW Veterinary Care last summer, followed by radiation therapy for the tumor found on his heart and immunotherapy to stimulate his immune system. The tumor has shrunk over several months and has practically disappeared today, the school said.
His cancer also spread to his lungs, but according to Scouts Instagram, doctors recognized him early. Tuesday was his first day of ten rounds of radiation therapy.
"We wanted to use the largest possible stage to highlight the history of Scout and these incredible breakthroughs that aren't limited to helping dogs and pets," said MacNeil. "This research will help advance cancer treatment for humans, with the potential to save millions of lives of all kinds."
All funds from the Super Bowl commercial are used to support research at the veterinary school and to purchase special equipment. The goals are to better diagnose, treat and prevent cancer, and to identify new drugs and treatments funded by the funds.
"Pets make a difference in your life," the ad closes. "You can make a difference with them."