WSU therapy dog helps others

Mia the bassador was diagnosed with lymphoma in February 2012 just before her 10th birthday.

The half basset hound and half Labrador is now in remission for the second time and can continue her work as a therapy dog for cancer patients raising money for the WSU Veterinary Oncology Center.

Mia has been a therapy dog for more than nine years. She helps those with chemical dependency in junior high and high school and is currently in semi-retirement.

However, she still visits patients in hospice care and continues to fundraise through online donations and marathons.

Rachel Wright, who currently runs her own business called Compassionate Canine, adopted Mia from Bassett Rescue. Mia had previously lived in four homes before she turned 1 year old. Wright’s business trains people to participate in therapy work as well as facilitate the opening of therapy programs.

“My husband and I are alumni ‘96 and ‘97 and have always been very supportive of the oncology center and veterinary school,” Rachel said. “We decided to raise money specifically for companion pets.”

To that end, Rachel and her husband Brian adopted Mia. Rachel and Brian are both athletic and run marathons, and they wanted to use that as a way to raise money. However, not seeing the results they hoped, they contacted Kay A. Glaser to help them get Mia’s story out there.

Glaser is the assistant director of development CVM veterinary teaching hospital. Glaser said the Wrights wanted to raise money for cancer research, but that her center wasn’t the one that treated Mia.

Glaser publicized Mia’s story and created an online donation option on WSU Oncology Service website.

The last marathon the Wrights participated in was the 2013 Leavenworth half marathon for cancer research. Although Mia herself cannot run she is there on the sidelines cheering on her owners, Rachel said.

“Mia is an amazing being. She is a fighter and an inspiration for us every day,” Brian said. “She loves her work as a therapy dog, with Rachel, and they currently visit together at Bailey-Boushay House in Seattle.”

Rachel said Mia loves even small acts like a patient, family member or staff member petting her or watching her do tricks.

“We have even had her in bed with people that were dying or just coming back from chemo and not feeling very well,” Rachel said.

While Mia struggles with lymphoma herself, she also helps those with similar struggles. Anyone wishing to donate in honor of this canine can visit the WSU Oncology Service website and click donate, and enter Mia Wright in the “in honor” box.