COSTA MESA — Ever since the dog died in Janurary, Joe Fuller, 11, has been wearing a blue shoestring around his neck to school with his German shepherd's I.D. tag hanging from it.
Sirius, or "Si" as the family called him, was a giant dog who could close doors on command. He died of lymphoma Jan. 2, only months after the family learned the 7-year-old pet was ill.
Losing Si was hard on the family, but it was Joe who decided to do something about it. He wanted to eliminate doggy cancer.
So Joe put together the March 6 Bark-A-Thon fundraiser walk around the Back Bay to raise money for the National Canine Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit that fundraises for cancer research, better treatment and better ways to diagnose the disease.
"I really don't think anyone has to go through the pain we did," he said.
Joe could only describe losing Si as "painful," before he ducked his head and teared up.