Lifestyle & Human Interest

After Dog Saved from Deadly Cancer, CEO Buys $6 Million Super Bowl Ad Featuring Pet To Thank Veterinarians


When cancer threatens a loved one’s life, we often dive into finding out as much as we can about the type of cancer and its possible treatments.

Even when the prognosis doesn’t look good, so many people hold out hope that a cure will be found.

That applies to our four-legged friends, too.

We have a responsibility to care for the creatures in our lives, and for dog owner David MacNeil, that meant finding the silver lining in a grim situation.

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MacNeil owns Scout, a 7-year-old golden retriever who’s become a bit of a mascot at WeatherTech — a company that manufactures automotive accessories and home and pet care products — where MacNeil is also the CEO.

Last year, Scout and MacNeil got some horrible news: Scout had a tumor on his heart.

The cancer was labeled aggressive, and the pup was given a 1 percent chance of survival and one month to live.

Many people would’ve been stopped by news that dire — but MacNeil wanted to fight.

“There he was in this little room, standing in the corner… and he’s wagging his tail at me,” MacNeil told WMTV. “I’m like, ‘I’m not putting that dog down. There’s just absolutely no way.'”

MacNeil turned to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, which, according to Scout’s story on WeatherTech, came up with a “cutting-edge treatment plan that has resulted in Scout’s tumor all but disappearing.”

While the dog will continue treatment at the university, he’s doing so much better and continuing to uphold his mascot duties.

He made a positive impact with the people who cared for him, too.

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“Scout is kind of the perfect patient in that he’s tolerated multiple modes of therapy very well, his primary tumor has responded beautifully to treatment, and we’ve been able to maintain his quality of life at a very high level,” David Vail, a professor of comparative oncology at the school, told WMTV.

“At the end of the day, Scout’s quality of life is his family’s most important concern, as it is ours.”

Not every dog owner has the sort of sway that MacNeil has, but certainly many have felt the depth of gratitude he experienced after his very good boy was cared for and started to heal.

In a bid to thank the medical team and bring the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine more notice (and hopefully, donations), MacNeil had a Super Bowl ad made, featuring Scout and his carers.

The bill for the advertisement came in at around $6 million.

“This is an amazing opportunity not only for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the School of Veterinary Medicine, but for veterinary medicine worldwide,” Mark Markel, the School of Veterinary Medicine’s dean, said.

“So much of what’s known globally today about how best to diagnose and treat devastating diseases such as cancer originated in veterinary medicine. We’re thrilled to share with Super Bowl viewers how our profession benefits beloved animals like Scout and helps people, too.”

“When our clinicians began caring for Scout in July 2019, they had no idea they would soon inspire, and appear in, a national commercial,” the school posted on Tuesday. “As Super Bowl LIV airs on Sunday, the UW Veterinary Care patient will appear alongside the school’s faculty and staff who have been part of his cancer treatment journey.”

Scout and MacNeil certainly appear thankful for the role the university played in their lives, and no doubt many more dogs and their humans will be helped by the innovative care at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

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