Header image  
If we all work together WE ARE THE CURE  

How Suni is still fighting Hemangiosarcoma

by Elicia Calhoun

The Suni Fund was created in honor of Suni, my heart and soul, who at the age of 11 ½ died in the prime of her agility career.  As one of the most widely recognized agility dog icons on Animal Planet and top Agility Dogs in the world, she was not only a model representative for the USA at international events, but also for the Australian Shepherd breed. Suni touched many people’s lives both in and out of the sport of dog agility.  She represented the true meaning of teamwork and relationship, shining with all of the attention.

Losing Suni to cancer left me feeling cheated – cheated out of a longer life together.  Everyone knows their time with their beloved animals is limited.  But, to be full speed ahead in prime form one day, and the next day save her life and be told she only has 1 to 4 weeks to live, just seemed wrong and unfair.

I wanted to continue making a difference in the world in honor of Suni, as we did during her life in the sport of dog agility.  So even though her body may be gone, her spirit will live on.  She touched so many people’s lives both in and out of the agility ring, that I felt we could use this level of recognition to benefit others who might find themselves in a similar situation.  I want to raise the level of awareness and education of this disease in order to save lives.  I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did.

I was introduced to the NCCF when I received a card with a picture of Suni on the front, and a note stating that a large donation had been made in honor of Suni by many of her friends and agility fans.  It was then I realized what an impact in losing Suni to cancer would have not only in my life, but in the world of dog agility.  She was so respected and loved by so many people, that I felt we could help promote action to find a cure.

After speaking with Gary Nice, I decided to work with the National Canine Cancer Foundation because it truly is a “nationwide, contribution funded, non-profit corporation dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem in dogs.” 

My goal for the Suni Fund is to raise the level of awareness for a specific type of cancer called Hemangiosarcoma.  It is a cancer of the blood and most often is found in the spleen or heart, if it is diagnosed at all. 

As I went through the three extra ‘bonus’ months with Suni and doing everything possible for her treatment in hopes of a cure or buying quality time together, I came to realize just how many dogs in the sport of dog agility have died of Hemangiosarcoma.  Most of the dogs, however, were not able to get the extra time as Suni did, because it was not diagnosed in time.  Even more, there is still no cure. 

A number of contributing factors can play into this, but no one knows how to determine if dogs are predisposed to H.S.A.  Certainly we need to find a marker so that preventative action can be taken.  Also, if dogs are lucky enough to be diagnosed before the condition is too far gone, we need to find a treatment to cure them.

This is our purpose.  The Suni Fund is focused on supporting grants for Hemangiosarcoma cancer research so that accurate diagnoses, preventative treatments and a cure can be found!  I believe that any of the treatments and cures that we find for cancer in dogs will benefit cancer in humans as well, so what have we got to lose!?!

We need your help to save lives!  Don’t let another animal die because we didn’t find a way to stop the cancer from killing them! 

Why Suni?


I would like to honor her by allowing her recognition and notoriety to bring more attention to finding a cure


Suni's Career