Canine Hero

Canine Hero

For each PuppyUp Walk, the Event Manager and their Walk Team select both a Human Cancer Hero and a Canine Cancer Hero, to be honored during the Walk ceremonies.

These Heroes are chosen because of their exemplary attitude towards their particular type of cancer, showing bravery and hopefulness in their fight against this terrible disease.

Gizmo’s Story

Gizmo has always been a fighter. From her broken paw at just 8 weeks young to having an emergency splenectomy to receiving chemotherapy after her cancer diagnosis in Sept of 2015, Gizmo has never given up. During her recovery at Premier she was being her sassy little self and not cooperating with the staff. She would not do her business or eat for them. When the vet called me he said that they don’t normally release dogs so soon after surgery, but she would do best recovering in the comfort of her own home. She was determined to go home to be with mom and dad and she succeeded.

Gizmo lives in the Chicago area as a princess who is loved and waited on hand and foot by her parents. She enjoys her home cooked meals of boiled chicken and steamed vegetables. When she’s not laying in her favorite window spot or barking out orders for her doggie bagel treats, she enjoys leisurely wagon rides around the neighborhood.

Since the day we heard the “C” word we have been blessed with the kindest and most compassionate care team. They’ve been there every step of the way, even when I had a million neurotic questions. Dr. Portela, Keri, and all the staff at Premier Veterinary Group are truly Gizmo’s Guardian Angels.

In Memoriam

April’s Story

April is truly a girl’s best friend! She loves people especially her family. However, April’s biggest motivation is food! She’s a cocker that never met a burger she didn’t like. April has many talents. She has eaten through a paper box in order to eat the pie inside and has surreptitiously opened a big pot on her own in order to help herself to a tamale.

April has a big heart and an even bigger will to survive. She was first diagnosed with cancer in March 2013 and has fought it four times! April is a fighter who never gives up. Her happy-go-lucky personality, her love of food and her zest for life are what keep her going!

April has gone through this journey with the best veterinarians and medical staff. The way she is treated at Premier Veterinary gives us comfort in knowing she receives the best care possible.

April has received radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy which have contributed to her tumor control and wouldn’t be possible without previous research into effective therapies for melanoma. She is the perfect example of how far we can go when science can give you treatment options. Sadly, April passed away in June from other medical issues.

Juno’s Story

Juno was born on July 25, 2008 in Lansing, Michigan. At 8 weeks old, she moved to NYC to meet her forever mom Katy. Juno and Katy had many NYC adventures together. They shopped in Soho, dined in fine restaurants, and explored every corner of Central Park. Juno carried her “Chewy Vuitton” bag everywhere.

After conquering New York, two years later they moved to Chicago where Katy worked as a surgeon. Juno was thrilled to discover Lake Michigan right outside her front door. She couldn’t believe the vast green spaces and how friendly everyone was!

One night in mid-winter, Katy and Juno were walking in a parking garage, and Katy fell down and lost consciousness. Juno laid on top of her all night to keep her warm while she waited for help. The next morning, Juno chased down a car and guided the driver to find Katy who was unconscious, and she was rushed to the hospital.
After that night, Juno never let her Katy out of her sight.

Several months later, Katy and Juno went for their nightly walk, and Juno spotted a taxi driver opening his back door. She jerked away and jumped into the backseat of the taxi onto an unsuspecting man’s lap! The following week, Katy and that man went on a date, and several years later they were married.

The next several years were filled with happiness and many, many memories. Juno ran through countless screen doors, she was “discovered “ on the streets of Chicago and became a dog model. She disrupted strangers’ tennis matches every time she saw a moving ball. She travelled across the country, always ending up in the front seat of the car. She swam in every visible body of water, including lakes, streams, algae-filled ponds, public water fountains, and hotel swimming pools, including one incident that got her family kicked out of their hotel. She lived most moments of her life with at least one, and preferably two, balls in her mouth. But of all the antics and adventures, most of all, she preferred to be next to her Katy, even if that meant skipping a walk or a swim.

Just before Juno’s illness, she was thrilled to learn that Katy was expecting a baby girl.

When Juno was diagnosed with lymphoma at age 6, she battled it bravely, tolerating many months of chemotherapy. She lost her vision and physical strength but never her enthusiasm to play ball, to swim, to eat treats and to show endless gratitude for her life. She held on to meet her baby sister – named Sienna June in her honor – and passed away on November 25, 2015, after a wonderful but far too short life on earth.


  • info@puppyup.org
  • Sunday, April 30, 2017