50% of dogs over 10-years-old will develop some type of cancer within their lifespan, but it’s not just older dogs in danger.

A growing number of young dogs are also developing cancer. Certain breeds are far more susceptible than others. For instance, 60% of all golden retrievers develop cancer, making them one of the most susceptible breeds of all.

In 2008, Debbie’s golden retriever Shirley was diagnosed with cancer. After doing everything she could to try and save her, Shirley passed away in 2009. The same day that Shirley went to doggy heaven, her granddaughter Qupid was born. To Debbie and her family it seemed like a miracle, as if Shirley had come back to them in the form of her granddaughter. Qupid is eerily similar to Shirley in so many ways, she loves catching tennis balls, getting into a little trouble and has some adorably noisy dreams. Unfortunately, she also carries her grandmother’s genes for cancer. Only instead of 10, Qupid was only 5-years-old at the time of her diagnosis.


Debbie, her husband, 3 daughters and 3 dogs.

The diagnosis was a devastating blow to say the least. Qupid was still so young and Debbie had done everything to keep her healthy. She used non-toxic cleaning products, home cooked all of Qupid’s meals, and even refused to buy dog toys made in China.

For the next year, Qupid underwent chemo treatment while Debbie spent countless hours in the waiting room talking to others in the same exact predicament. She saw old dogs and dogs as young as two, plus plenty of kitty cats too. No matter the type of animal, age, or breed all owners were going through the same devastating motions.

One afternoon while driving home from the cancer treatment center with Qupid beside her, Debbie was overcome with emotion. Not just because her dog had cancer, but also because so many other dogs (and devoted humans) were going through the same exact thing. A voice somewhere deep within told her exactly what she needed to do: paint personalized portraits of pets to earn money for canine cancer research.

The only problem with that message, Debbie said, “I had never drawn more than a stick figure in my life.”

For the next 6-months, as Qupid’s cancer treatments rolled on, Debbie poured her heart and soul into learning how to draw and paint. All of her hard work has finally started to pay off, as Debbie’s artwork clearly speaks for itself. Debbie’s desire to help dogs fighting cancer allowed her to tap into a new artistic talent she never even knew she had, now she spends nearly all of her free time drawing portraits of pets for people.

Debbie has the unique ability to capture the heart and soul of an animal on canvas. She is excited to use her newfound talent to help dogs everywhere have a better chance at fighting cancer, in hopes that one day cancer will not be an issue at all.

Click here to learn more about The Special Care Foundation, the non-profit cancer research organization Debbie supports.