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Whitefish avalanche rescue dog is battling cancer

Posted at 7:35 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 21:35:16-05

WHITEFISH — The ski patrol team at Whitefish Mountain Resort is asking for community support after an avalanche rescue dog was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Jett, a seven-year old smooth-coat border collie, was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma after his owner and Whitefish Mountain Resort snow safety coordinator Lloyd Morsett found a lump on Jett’s neck.

The cancer diagnosis came as a surprise due to Jett’s on-the-go active lifestyle. Morsett explained, “Jett is a go-getter and didn’t show a single symptom, no pain, no fatigue, no lethargy, just a lump in his neck.”

Jett is one of just two avalanche rescue dogs at Whitefish Mountain Resort; he started patrol back in 2015.

After the diagnosis, Morsett and his ski patrol team quickly started a fundraising account for their beloved teammate to help cover Jett’s medical bills that are nearing $4,000 due to ongoing chemotherapy.

“We certainly appreciate the support we’ve gotten so far, and anything if we do happen to get donations past that amount will just go to support the dog program as a whole,” Morsett said.

Jett’s initial diagnosis was too similar to the Morsett’s as both Lloyd and his wife are cancer survivors. “We know the ins and outs of treatment, how it can go, how it can go well, and how it can go poorly. At first, it hit us pretty hard but then it was we got to get down to business and get this guy healed up,” Morsett told MTN News.

Lloyd says Jett will continue to work alongside his ski patrol teammates this winter as he undergoes treatment, adding that Jett’s favorite place to be is up on the mountain. “He is going to spend as much time as possible on the mountain. As long as he feels good and can perform, he’ll be up working every day,” Morsett said.

Jett has undergone five weeks of chemotherapy and has 14 weeks remaining. If you would like to donate to help, click here to visit the fundraising page, which provides this background:

Jett is a 7-year-old Smooth Coat Border Collie and Whitefish Mountain Resort’s first certified avalanche search and rescue dog. Jett started life with a pretty rough start. He was found wandering the streets of Mt Pleasant, UT, surviving off the peanut butter sandwich scraps fed to him at a nearby elementary school. Jett (then Rocket) hit the jackpot when he was picked up by the folks of Western Border Collie Rescue and eventually found his forever home right here in NW Montana. Jett started working for The Whitefish Ski Patrol in 2015, passing his validation exam with the National Search Dog Alliance in 2017. He gives 100% every day on the hill in hopes that he will never be needed. Now Jett is the one who needs help.