As a bird dog, Josie is one of the best. The 9-year-old chocolate lab goes everywhere with her owner and is a popular guest at the Cordelia Duck Club, tucked away in the Suisun Marsh.

She is very social, extremely good at her sport and would really be missed if she weren’t around.

In June, her devoted owner noticed she was bleeding slightly around her chin. An exam revealed a small growth on the roof of her mouth. Like oral melanoma in humans, Josie’s cancer was aggressive by the time it was discovered.

Josie was given only two to four months to live.

Fortunately for Josie, UC Davis human oncologist Robert Canter and veterinary oncologist Michael Kent had just launched a clinical immunotherapy trial to keep cancers in canines from metastasizing or spreading.

Josie entered the clinical trial and was infused with NK, or natural killer cells, that came from a healthy dog. The NK cells attack tumor cells and prevent them from creating new tumors.

It is too early to tell if the immunotherapy will work for Josie but, six months later, she is back duck hunting.

Josie is doing what she loves, and her family knows they’ve done all they can for a dog who puts a smile on everyone’s faces — especially during visits to the duck club.