In Colorado, our dogs are family. We take them everywhere, from hiking trips to our favorite outdoor patios, and would do just about anything to keep them happy and healthy. But no matter how many kisses, belly rubs, and treats we bestow upon them, we can’t always protect our furry friends.
In Forever Faithful, a new film that’s screening in Denver on Wednesday night, writer, producer, and director Angie Ruiz explores the aftermath of her Rottweiler Samson’s osteosarcoma (bone cancer) diagnosis—and offers a hopeful look at recent advancements in canine cancer treatment, many of which are happening right here in Colorado.
One in eight Rottweilers are affected by cancer. But thanks to organizations like the Rottweiler Health Foundation, which was created by the American Rottweiler Club in 1998 to raise money for research into diseases that plague the popular breed, outcomes for dogs with cancer have improved. The film showcases some of the treatments available in rehabilitation programs at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Hospital in Fort Collins.
Two Rottweilers from Colorado also star in the film. Brutus was the second dog in the world to get four prosthetic legs at CSU as a result of frostbite, and Squirt had an amputation and fought bone cancer with immunotherapy, a treatment that elevates the immune system to fight off cancer. Thanks to Squirt and other dogs like him, immunotherapy is now used to treat cancer in humans.
Squirt’s story illustrates the film’s core message: Dogs play a vital role in the lives of people. “In terms of cancer, they are not just man’s best friend, they are helping save man’s life,” Ruiz says.
If you go: Catch Forever Friends on Wednesday, June 7, at 7 p.m. at the Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. Ten percent of DVD sales from the film’s website support the Rottweiler Health Foundation.