This Husky mix with one beautiful blue eye and one soulful brown is Mouse. He is one of our Canine Citizen Scientists from the Phase 1 Rapamycin Intervention Study conducted nearly two years ago. The goal of this study was to verify a safe dosing level of the drug rapamycin. John, Mouse’s owner, volunteered Mouse for the trial in the hopes of having a positive influence on Mouse’s lifespan. In the hopes of helping all dogs have a longer, healthier life.
Mouse originally came from a rescue organization in Los Angeles. The rescue org takes in dogs that are not or cannot be sold, from backyard “designer dog” breeders. Without this rescue org, Mouse may well have ended up in the kill-shelter animal system in LA County. It was his personality that drew John to him. “I picked him out from the other puppies because he was very calm,” John recounts. “His brother started biting at my shoe laces. Mouse did the same, but when I looked down at him, he paused and looked up into my face, making eye contact. He stopped biting, it was as if he was almost looking for approval and understood to alter his behavior. I knew from that moment he was a thoughtful and considerate dog. I haven’t had to train him very much and have had no major behavioral issues.”
As demonstrated early on, Mouse is a highly intelligent dog. He doesn’t bark unless someone knocks on the door. As a puppy he was able to find hidden toys and collect them. He likes to fetch and play tug with a rope toy. He also likes ripping the stuffing out of stuffed toys, occasionally throwing in a nap for balance. His favorite treat is marrow bones. A dog’s life for sure.
Mouse was enrolled in our Phase I study in 2016 and was a model citizen scientist in every respect. His calm nature and engaging attitude made him a pleasure to share company with. He was charming, eager to visit the staff at our veterinary site and a joy for everyone to interact with. After the study was over, we learned that Mouse had been randomly assigned to the placebo group, one of the several dogs who served as the critically important controls for our double-blind trial. We appreciated both Mouse and his owner’s conscientious participation and friendly manner. Like several other dogs who participated in our first study, Mouse was featured in the news. You can read more about him and our first trial here.
Though the first trial is complete, your dog can still be a Canine Citizen Scientist. If you are close to College Station, Texas, your dog is at least 40 pounds and at least 6 years of age, he or she can be considered for the Phase2 rapamycin intervention trial. Register for it here. Otherwise, you can register your dog for our Longitudinal Trial here. Read more about either trial on our webpage.
by Tammi Kaeberlein
photos by John Benavente