Statement from Dean Mark Markel on Passing of Scout MacNeil

We at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine extend our deepest sympathies to David MacNeil and all of Scout’s loving family. Scout was a beloved companion and family member in the truest sense of the word. He was also a dear member of our School of Veterinary Medicine family – for many months Scout visited the school’s teaching hospital, UW Veterinary Care, to receive cancer therapy. He trotted through the hospital with the most joyful demeanor, greeting all with a big smile and ever-wagging tail, and I know we will all miss him terribly.

Last summer, when Scout was given a grave prognosis for even short-term survival due to a heart-based tumor, his people refused to give up. They traveled to UW Veterinary Care seeking hope and alternatives. And indeed, this heroic golden retriever beat the odds, all the while maintaining a tremendous quality of life. Along the way, Scout’s heartwarming story was broadcast to millions through a Super Bowl commercial that not only shared his journey with the world but also drove support for the UW School of Veterinary Medicine’s clinical research to advance cancer treatments and technology – an unprecedented opportunity to highlight on a global stage the importance of veterinary medicine for both animals and people, and our impact in advancing innovative therapies to fight cancer and other devastating diseases.

Scout touched many lives and we share our condolences with all who feel his loss. We will proudly carry on Scout’s legacy and his shining spirit.


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Dear friends, Our beloved Golden Retriever Scout MacNeil has crossed the rainbow bridge into a place where he does not have to fight cancer anymore. In the last couple of weeks the cancer tumors started to bleed around his heart and around his lungs. The doctors were able to stop the bleeding for a while, but his body became anemic and weak. Scout was fighting hard and he bravely tried his best to stay strong, but it became clear his quality of life had seriously declined. Of course there is much sadness as he will be unbelievably missed, but we have so much to be grateful for because we knew his sweet and loving soul. Sweet is just the beginning when describing Scout. He was something larger than life that is hard to put into words. Kind, loving, caring, joyful, happy, intuitive, and brave are just a few. Nonetheless, he had an ability to reach right into your heart and make you feel loved. He lived to love and to be loved. Scout will live on in all the people he met including his amazing Doctors at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary School who valiantly tried to save him. Scout’s legacy will live on by the lives he touched with his enormous spirit and by bringing international attention to canine cancer and his own personal fight against hemangiosarcoma cancer. When Scout passed away today, a little of all of us died with him. Scout started his life in Midland Texas playing with all of his siblings on a farm. Today he died a hero. He was everyone’s sweet little baby puppy golden angel and will remain in our hearts forever.🧡

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