Survivor Stories

These days dealing with canine cancer can be frightening. You have statistics. You have your veterinarian explaining what the cancer can do and what the prognosis is.  There is still not a miracle cure for dog cancer but do you know there are many dog cancer survivors?

We believe at times like this, one also needs HOPE. It’s our belief that these canine warriors who have survived can provide you with some HOPE. Read through the survivor stories on these pages and take away some HOPE that your sweet pup can win the battle.

Together, We Are The Cure

Would you like to share your dog cancer survivor story for our supporters to give them hope? If so please email us at suggestions@wearethecure.org and please send your dogs story, name, your name and a picture.

Thank you,

Gary Nice
Founder and President of the NCCF

Destiny’s Story

Destiny is a female spayed Corgi/Schipperke mix who is now more than five years past her lymphoma diagnosis. She was treated with chemotherapy, specifically the Wisconsin Protocol, short (no maintenance) and completed the protocol in March, 2006 and remains in her initial remission. She has had excellent quality of life throughout and will be 15 years young January 11, 2011. Destiny is my very best friend and we have been very fortunate to have had such caring veterinarians to guide us on this amazing journey of love, hope and healing. We know from first hand experience that every day is a gift.


Scitzo’s Story

citzo was diagnosed with lymphoma and started chemotherapy 2/13/08. She has officially been in remission since 2/20/08. She did 6 months of the Madison Wisconsin protocol and has not had any maintenance chemo. Scitzo suffered side effects from the chemo and some were pretty strange. She had pneumonia, UTIs, bladder infections and diarrhea. She acquired a taste for clothing and wash cloths and ate them whenever possible. She also developed a tendency to steal items, her favorite being shoes and would carry them around in her mouth. For anyone thinking about chemo, please remember that each dog responds differently. Pretreating can be very helpful and many side effects can be eliminated with medication changes. We are so grateful for the time we have with Scitzo, however long it lasts. We know we have been very lucky (we lost Oneida to lymphoma 3/4/09). Cheryl & Scitzo (33 months remission and still going) and Angel Oneida


Shadow’s Story

My Shih Tzu was diagnosed with lymphoma at four years old. I felt it was not her time and put her thru chemo and she did great. Didn’t lose much hair and wasn’t too sick. After six months she was in remission. She is now 8 years old and doing great!!! She is just like a puppy and loves to play with her toys… mainly at night when everyone else is trying to sleep. 🙂


Jack’s Story

During a routine annual vet exam, we discovered a large growth on the back of Jack’s upper jaw. A biopsy was performed and determined that Jack had squamous cell carcinoma and we really had no idea how long it had been there growing on his jaw. We were referred to a veterinary specialist and met with an oncologist and surgeon. Through additional testing, we learned that the carcinoma was localized and had not spread to any other organs. In our discussions with the surgeon, we decided that we wanted her to be as agressive as possible if it meant getting it all and clean margins. We did not want to put our baby through radiation and/or chemo. I’ll never forget the night before his surgery. We faced a whole host of emotions, but were mostly scared for what lie ahead. We took a ton of pictures of our boy while he still had two eyes and we spent the night making sure he knew he was loved before taking him in for surgery. I waited very impatiently that whole next day for a phone call from the oncologist. Finally, the surgeon called to tell me that they had gotten clean margins and felt that they had gotten all the cancer. I’ll never forget the first time I saw him after the surgery, his face all red, swollen and stitched up, but he approached me with his tail wagging and right then, I knew he was going to be ok. That was 4 years ago. We had another scare last year when we suspected the cancer had come back in his rectum. He had additional surgery to remove both his anal glands, but all continues to be well and he continues to be cancer free. Jack survived the gas chamber by mere moments, parvo and now cancer. He is my miracle baby and I thank God for him every day. I could not imagine my life without him. Now, I understand the importance of checking your dogs every month for any abnormalities, bumps and even their jaws for any growths.. Please, it is the least you can do for our furry friends! Every day after a cancer diagnosis is a gift and I am grateful for every day that I have with my boy.


Satchi’s Story

Satchi was diagnosed with Stage Vb T-cell Lymphoma during September 2009 at Cornell Veterinary School following 5 weeks of trying to get a diagnosis. He had lost considerable weight and became inappetant which resulted in him being fed pureed food by syringe. He had no tumors and his lymph nodes were not enlarged. Cornell found that he had 20-30% abnormal cells in his bone marrow. We opted for the CHOP chemo protocol at Cornell beginning in September wanting to attain the best quality of life we could for him. He was noted to be in remission when he had his next bone marrow aspirate done. He had a very difficult time with the MOPP part of the protocol in late November. But he did get through this difficulty with slight revision to the protocol. During late January he was able to resume competing in AKC Agilty. He earned his MACH5 in February 2010. He was also able to compete at the AKC National Agility Championship while on chemo in March 2010 where he placed 12th in his class. Satchi completed the CHOP chemo protocol in April 2010. Bone Marrow aspirates in June and September were clear. He discovered lure coursing with Lure for a Cure while being a spectator at the Cynosport games and absolutely loved it! He has continued to compete in AKC Agility and earned another championship, his MACH6 (only the second Standard Poodle to do so), in November 2010. He likes to remain active by playing ball, balancing on his physioball, and going for walks. As of this time, he remains health, happy, and active. His visits Cornell monthly for checkups. His next bone marrow test is Dec 21, 2010.


Louie-Louie’s Story

In Nov 2008, Louie-Louie, my Chinese Crested, was diagnosed with Stage IVa B-Cell Lymphoma. Louie-Louie started the CHOP protocol, and with his oncologist’s encouragement, continued to actively participate in Flyball and Agility. Since his diagnosis, I learned to enjoy every thing Louie and I did together, and to let him do things he loved. We got the opportunity to participate in different activities and to be grew into being an ambassador that canine cancer treatment does not mean life stops. And we made many new friends. As some of our agility canine pals came down with cancer, Louie-Louie was there to say, look, there is hope. He did this by loving life. In his third week of his initial treatment, he played flyball and finished up the Flyball Grand Champion title which meant he had earned 30,000 life time NAFA flyball points. In Week 5 of treatment, we traveled via air to 2008 AKC Agility Invitationals where he finished up in 13th place in his height division. We were often going to agility class after treatments. And he did fine. Less than 1 year from diagnosis, he completed his third AKC Agility Championship, MACH3 and attended the NAFA CaAm, a premier flyball event. Thirteen months after diagnosis and treatment start, Louie came out of remission and started treatment again. This time with a mixture of CHOP and CCNU, he quickly went into his second remission. We are now past the 24 month point of his initial diagnosis and he is still in his second remission. Louie is semi-retired but is still playing flyball and agility. What he likes best is riding to the drive-thru.


Zoe’s Story

This is Zoe. On October 15, 2008, Zoe was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. At that time, she was 11 1/2 and in no way ready to check out. The only chance she had was to have her hind leg amputed. We decided to go ahead with chemo (carboplatin) after the amputation. Zoe has been cancer free for 27 months. She has beaten all odds of survival after osteosarcoma, and has also beaten the odds of life expectancy for an Old English Sheepdog. We wish the best to all families going thru the same situation. Stay Strong.


Cayanne’s Story

Cayanne was diagnosed with stage V lymphoma with secondary leukemia in February of 2009 at the age of 18 months. She went through 6 months of chemotherapy on the Wisconsin protocol, which was completed in August of 2009. Althougth Cayanne was very sick at the time of diagnosis, she tolerated chemo very well, with few side effects. And now, 2 years later, we are so fortunate that she is still in remission. We hope Cayanne’s story provides hope to others just beginning the fight.


Mia’s Story

I came home from work on a Friday evening and Mia would not eat her dinner. Mia is a Cocker Spaniel, any one who knows the breed must know how I was immediately alarmed. Mia never misses a chance to eat, no matter what the offering. I took her to the ER Vet and after an x-ray, thry discovered a blockage in her small intestine. The Vet was thinking a ball or sock, etc., but Mia liked food, she did not eat inanimate objects. They decided they should open her up. The thoughts running through my head were, ‘I hope my underwear is not what they pull out’. Alas, the Vet called during the surgery and said her intestines ruptured while they were in there and what was there was not fabric, but a tumor. They removed about a foot of her intestines and cleaned her out the best they could. He said a lymph node looked ‘iffy’ but they did not want to take it because of chance of infection. She was touch and go for 2 days. I was a mess, and when the news came that they removed adenocarcinoma from her small intestine and she probably only had 2-4 months to live, the only thing I could think is I did not want her to die there. They released her to me with some antbiotics and pain killers. I set up a futon mattress on the floor of the living room, spread Wee Wee pads all over it and proceeded to lay with her for the rest of the week. The Vet gave me all the instructions for the medications, but what I neglected to find out is how to feed her. She had not been eating in ICU, but when she arrived home, all she wanted was to eat. I researched many holistic studies on what to do to fight the cancer in her body, since chemo was not an option. I read that Grain free was the way to go, so I began her diet regimen. When we returned, a week later, to have her staples removed, the staff was astonished! I was then told that none of them expected her to survive the peritonitis. She is amazing! That was two years ago, 3/23/2009. She is still frisky, lovey, mushy and, of course, food driven. She is now 10 years old and my miracle girl! When I thought I was going o make her comfortable for a few months, two years later, I am overjoyed that I never gave up hope and she never gave up fighting! I am now prepared for whatever happens with her, being given so much extra time.


Bryce’s Story

Bryce was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in April of 2008, after routine bloodwork revealed an abnormality in his protein values. There were no bone lesions, however it was all over his spleen and his liver. On the awful day I was given his survival prognosis (540 days if I went the chemo route (Melphalan and Prednisone, aka the MP protocol), 220 days on Prednisone alone) I remember standing there dumbstruck thinking “This just can’t be!” Having had a very bad experience with chemo in another dog, I opted to try holistic treatments first. I wish I could say they were a great success – they were not. Bryce kept getting sicker and at the end of that year I decided to start the chemo. Most dogs respond quickly to this, Bryce did not. However after the nerve-wracking initial couple of weeks, he began to respond and the meds steadily chipped away at his disease. He had no side effects from the chemo, we did have to reduce his prednisone dosage due to stomach upset. Bryce has always LIVED for doing agility, so I decided from the very start that I would let him run as much as he wanted to for long as he wanted to do it. A year after we started chemo, Bryce was declared to be in clinical remission. A week after that, he earned his CPE C-ATCH (CPE agility championship.) March of 2011 marks three years since we discovered his cancer – in that time he has earned multiple titles and awards in AKC, CPE and NADAC agility, including most recently his CPE CH-JU (jumpers champion) and his NADAC 1000 Lifetime Points award. He’s semi-retired now due to some back problems and aging vision, but when we run he still pulls me to the start line with great enthusiasm, tail in the air, having the time of his life. He’s not “cured” but has remained on a maintenance dosage of his medications which so far have kept his disease under control. Most importantly, I cherish that he’s becoming something I never thought he’d get to be back in 2008: A very, very spoiled old dog!


Cole’s Story

In Feb. of 2009 my Old English Sheepdog Cole had a huge lump on his hind leg after many doctor appointments he was diagnosed with cancer, after weighing all the options and finding a wonderful orthopedic surgeon we opted of removal of the leg in April of 2009. Cole was only 2 1/2 years old, and at 100 lbs was so concerned about his being able to live a healthy life, however he bounced right back was a trooper through everything and 2 years later is healthy and happy and cancer free!!!


Gunny’s Story

Gunny, Greylock Glen’s Camellia SH CD RN NAVHDA UT P1, is my perfect dog. My husband and I, with help from more people than we can count, trained her for everything she has done. She has spent the last 12 years trying to understand what we want and to do everything she can to make us happy. We have tried to be very conscientious with Gunny’s health care. She received thorough examinations with her annual vaccinations and was treated for every problem that came up. Our veterinarian loves her almost as much as we do and she loves him back because he gives her lots of treats to offset those nasty shots. Last spring, we took Gunny to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (the place that saved Westminster winner Stump) for what we thought was going to be a routine geriatric exam. What can I say … the vets at A&M love Gunny, too. They were so proud of her conditioning. She’s fit and strong for her age. Her health looked great until they saw the ultrasound of her abdomen. There, they found a large mass. A week later, surgery removed the softball-sized tumor and pathology identified it as a type of cancer called a gastrointestinal stromal tumor. Gunny recovered very quickly from the surgery. I had thought that she was slowing down because of her age but it turns out it was because of the tumor. She felt sooo much better without it. The bad news was that the surgeons could not get all the little tumors that had fallen off the large one and implanted into her omentum (abdominal lining – I’m learning so many big words through all of this). There was no sign that it had spread to any other organs, but they were not hopeful. Let’s see. So far, this has been three trips home crying my eyes out plus the one after the surgery when I was just slightly hopeful. One of the most important parts of this has been the continuous conversation between the A&M vets, my vet and me. Colorado State University Vet School has arguably the best veterinary oncology program in the nation and they have a telephonic second-opinion service. With the diagnostic information from A&M, they have been very helpful in explaining things and confirming treatments. This cancer is the same as one that humans can get and the medicine to treat it is the same, so my doctor and family members in the medical field have been very informative also. Since Gunny cannot talk, I must do it for her. The more I know about her condition, the more I can assist Gunny with her treatment. The end of May, the A&M vets and I decided to start her on an experimental chemo. Dog chemo is not like human chemo. The drugs are the same but the reactions to them are not. With few exceptions, dogs don’t lose their coats like humans lose hair. They rarely have the intestinal upsets that humans do, either. But the chemo did make Gunny feel “punk” and very heat intolerant. Good thing we have air conditioning, because this record hot summer would have done her in, even without the chemo. The next trip to A&M in early July showed that this first chemo had no effect on the tumors left behind. Some had grown and there were new ones not seen before, including something on her liver. Time to try a different chemo. And another drive home with limited vision. Early August brought good news! The new chemo is working! No new tumors, none have grown, some have shrunken, and the liver spot disappeared. I had made monthly trips to A&M since that first exam in April. This time I could wait 2 months! The A&M vets stated that she showed partial remission. Finally, I was able to call friends with good news instead of hearing their condolences. She did have a slight problem with regularity, but when I e-mailed the Activia yogurt people, they did not want to hear about it. Yes, Gunny took the Activia challenge and it worked. The end of September was more good news. Gunny is now officially in remission. The A&M oncology resident said we needed to start making plans to take her off the chemo in 6-12 months. I did get a second opinion from Colorado State Vet School who disagreed with stopping the chemo, but we’re making plans a year out! The way she is feeling and her reaction to the chemo even makes me optimistic that she’ll go out hunting this winter. Our hunting season starts the middle of December (woodcocks), so we started tuning up both our dogs in early November. We went to a preserve near our home to put them on quail. It seems that Gunny has an attitude. She knows how to hunt (duh!) and doesn’t need to be told what to do. If we don’t like it, what are we going to do – shave her belly? That only happens every time A&M checks her out. Actually, other than breaking on the shot for every bird whether she pointed it or not, she’s doing pretty well. We had a good 30 – 45 minute long session followed by another 30 minutes after about an hour’s rest (for me). She pointed 4 and retrieved 7 birds – our other dog was not happy. But, look out woodcocks! For some reason, the week before each appointment at A&M, I start getting a bad feeling. This time is going to be the time I’m told nothing else can be done and start saying my goodbyes. Every time, I’ve been wrong. November was no different. My appointment was with the head of the oncology department who said that Gunny now has an “unremarkable abdomen”. There are no tumors and she has no side effects from the chemo medicine. The next checkup is in 3 more months. That’s almost 2 years in dog time! When the tumor was initially diagnosed, the vets said she would only last about 6 months without surgery. With only the surgery, she might have 2-3 months more and Gunny would not have a good quality of life for a large part of that. The chemo has made a great difference. A&M has found literature on a dog with the same cancer, in worse shape than Gunny was in, that was put on the same chemo and had a good life for 4 more years. At 13 years old now, I don’t expect that much time, but going out and playing fetch with her every morning is a gift I am truly grateful for.


Vivie’s Story

Vivie, an Alaskan Malamute, was recently found to have a malignant tumor on a breast. She underwent surgery in May 2011 and we are hopeful that it was removed in its entirety. The tumor was discovered during a casual belly rub and served as a reminder to do breast exams on all females every month!


Harley’s Story

Our gentle giant, Harley, was diagnosed on 8/17/06 with intestinal lymphoma. He was 6 years old at the time and previously very healthy. He had surgery to remove the tumor and 6 inches of his intestines. The prognosis was not good as the vet said it was likely that they weren’t able to get all of the affected tissue. The previous year we lost our chocolate lab, Buddy, to lymphoma after just 40 days of chemotherapy. Needless to say, we were devastated, heartbroken and somewhat resigned to the seemingly inevitable outcome. We chose not to give him chemotherapy and just to use prednisone as palliative care. When he went into surgery he was a very healthy 102 lbs. Over the next few weeks, he got down to 88 lbs. Fast forward four months to January 2007…our family relocated 2,000 miles away all the while thinking that Harley wouldn’t be with us much longer. However, when we got to our new home, we visited his new oncologist. His blood levels and ultrasound looked great. The oncologist couldn’t believe he had only been on prednisone and doing so well. His weight was back up to 100 and he had great energy. We decided to start him on a low-dose of chemo — chlorambucil. Fast forward 4 1/2 YEARS… Harley is still with us and doing amazingly! He visited the oncologist every 3 months for blood work and ultrasounds for the first two years and then every 6 months for the next two years. In February 2011, our oncologist recommended taking him off the chlorambucil. She said it was like having a person on chemo for 35 years! The chlorambucil is such a low-dose she said that it would have come back already even when he was on it. It was hard to let go of that peace of mind — didn’t want to change anything since everything was working — but we ended up taking him off. He has been cancer-free and off chemo for 6 months now! This picture is Harley after a swim in the pool last week. He will be 12 years old in October which means almost half of his life he has lived as a lymphoma survivor. Had you asked me in August 2006 if there was any hope, I most likely would have given you a different answer. Now I know that miracles do happen and every dog is different! Please know that there IS hope! Who knows if your dog will be one of those special cases who will beat the odds? My advice to you is to enjoy each day you have with your pup and be thankful for every single second!


Roxy’s Story

Let me start by saying, with the risk of sounding like Bob Barker….please, please, please get your pets spayed or neutered. I got Roxy when I was young and I didnt understand the risk I put her in by not having her spayed. A dog that is spayed before her first heat has roughly a zero percent chance of getting breast cancer. A dog that has been spayed before her second heat has a roughly a 7 percent of getting breast cancer. Roxy turned 9 years old in February, and had not been spayed. I take full responsibility for her having had breast cancer. You don’t want to take the chance of ever feeling that weight, trust me. Roxy has never misbehaved a day in her life. She is the perfect dog. She is sweet and kind, with a child-likeness to her. She has this amazing sense of wonder and loves life. She has an adventurous spirit and likes going anywhere. If you can’t tell yet… shes a boxer. She loves people and especially kids. Out of the 168 hours in each week, we spend at least 148 of them together(if not more) so, Roxy has been nicknamed my shadow… or as I prefer…my shadow boxer. 🙂 She was first diagnosed with two mast cell tumors in 08. Six months after I lost my other baby (Debo) to a brain tumor. The news was rough to say the least. But she had surgery and the cancer was gone. I checked her body religiously for bumps and lumps and in March of this year (2011) I felt lumps in her mammary glands. Being my mother is a breast cancer survivor, I knew this was serious and time sensitive. There had also been two other bumps, one on her hind leg and one on her front leg… I was putting it off but I knew when I felt the mammary glands, I couldn’t put it off any longer. I took her to her vet and the news they gave me was grim. Six months to a year. SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR??? I couldn’t wrap my mind around how my perfectly happy and other wise perfectly healthy 9 year old baby girl was silently being ripped away from me. Cancer was killing her. The vet told me if we were going to consider surgery, that we should find a board certified surgeon, but that our first step was meeting with an oncologist. So, to CVS (Carolina’s veterinary specialists) we went. We met Dr. Claudia McFadden (oncologist/angel) I could praise this woman for the rest of my life and it still wouldn’t be enough.. but I’ll get to that later. She gave us hope. She explained we didn’t have to accept this… that she believed Roxy could be saved. But it wasn’t going to be cheap and it certainly wasn’t going to be easy. Now I’m a full time college student, I don’t have much… and I certainly couldn’t afford this. But I vowed to myself Roxy would not die because I couldn’t afford her care. A brand new Play Station 3 was donated and I sold raffle tickets to win it… to everyone I could. I had a garage sale where friends and family donated things to sell, and I sold cupcakes. I made posters and had a “save Roxy’s life”, theme so everyone that came, knew why we were there. I raised close to $3000.00 in a week. But it wasn’t enough. Then we found out “murray’s fund” (the charity Dr. McFadden started after losing her own beloved dog Murray to cancer, to help people who couldn’t afford treatment)was going to award Roxy with some funds. And after the award, the garage sale, the raffle tickets, the oh so many cupcakes, and begging and borrowing from everyone I knew… we were ready. There was just no “thinking” about it, we knew what the right thing for Roxy was, we knew Roxy would choose life. And so our fight began. Roxy had testing done. Her lungs, her heart, x-rays of her abdomen, blood tests, urine tests, you name it, they checked for it. A week after her diagnosis, Dr. Devorak (Roxy’s surgeon)removed the two mast cell tumors from her legs, she preformed a quadruple mastectomy, a skin graph (so they could close her lean little body up,)and she was spayed. Quite a list, huh? I stayed at the hospital from 7am to 5pm when they finally came out to tell me she was awake and recovering. Everyone kept telling me I could leave, but that was physically impossible for me. If anything was going to happen to her on that operating table, some unexpected horrible thing… I was going to be there to hold her. Everyone believed Roxy was strong enough for all this and as her mom, I KNEW she was. She had to spend the night in the hospital… I was devastated by this, in 9+ years we had never spent a night apart. But I reminded myself this was my fight, I had to fight this fight for Roxy. She needed me. She needed me to be strong. So when I knew she was done with surgery and okay, I went home, without my girl. I couldn’t sleep that night, so I drove to the hospital and waited. I waited for a call saying she was ready to go home. I finally got it around 4pm. I was excited and scared. I didn’t know what to expect… but then I saw that little monkey face, and she saw me and her back end wiggled with delight. She was a mess… JP drains hanging from both sides of her body and scars everywhere. She was sore and all drugged up, but her spirit was strong. I took her home to my mattress on the den floor made up like a big doggy bed and we rested. The first few days were rough.. she was weak, but I was strong for her. She wouldn’t get up to drink, so I gave her water from a bottle… she wouldn’t eat so I cooked 10 different things and when I found one she would eat, I had to hand feed her. Everyday she got stronger and stronger. And on the ninth day, while grilling hot dogs for her, I noticed my shadow was gone. I looked up and she was running circles around the backyard… my baby was BACK! The next day the drains came out, and it was back to normal activity. Of course I made her take it easy and babied everything a little longer. But we weren’t done yet… Dr devorak explained that during the removal of the tumor on her front leg they couldn’t get the standard margin they normally like to take. They got all the cancer but only 1mm of clean cells around it. So we decided that chemo would be her best option. If there were any cells remaining on her leg, chemo would kill them. If there were any cancer cells anywhere in her body… chemo would kill them. We gave her a couple weeks and then we started chemo. Eight rounds over 12 weeks. She was put on anti nausea, anti diarrhea meds and on prednisone. She went through chemo with flying colors. Thursday, July 28th 2011, Roxy “graduated” from chemo. That day will always be one of the most profound days of my life. You see, something kicked in on that day in March; I was thrust into a survival mode.. where you just do what you have to do, because it needs to be done. But on July 28th I found myself overwhelmed with emotions. Everything I was told, everything that had happened, everything we did, all the hard work, the pill schedules, culminated into this one day. And as I sat there in the hospital waiting room, waiting for the final round of chemo to be over, I witnessed just “HOW” lucky we were. Four groups of people(that I saw) left that hospital that day, crying, with empty leashed dangling from their hands. I’m sure everyone that worked there and saw me thought I was NUTS! My girl was being cured and yet I was crying. But I wasn’t crying for me or Roxy… I was crying for those people who lost their babies that day. I’ve been that person. And I realized that survival mode was over, sitting there I felt and still feel, like I received a miracle, things so easliy could have gone the other way for us. My girl survived. And we couldn’t have done it without our army of people supporting us. And Roxy’s very own angel, Dr. McFadden. I will forever be in debt to her. She is brilliant, kind and caring. Shes simply our hero. Roxy will be on the prednisone for a few more weeks, but other than that… its business as usual. Our fight is over. Roxy didn’t just survive… she THRIVES!!! Roxy has taught me what it means to be dedicated and how every day IS a gift. My advice for those knee deep in their own fight…. don’t give up… and remember anything is possible.


Mimi’s Story

Mimi is our blind double dapple dachshund that we adopted in 2008 when she was 7 years old. She was born blind, but has absolutely no problems getting around. Her hearing and sense of smell have more than made up for her inability to see. In 2009, the vet found a tumor on her anal gland. The tumor and anal gland were removed and a biopsy was done. The test results confirmed our fears – the tumor was an anal gland adenocarcinoma. At the time, blood tests were normal, and the surgeon told us that he was very sure that he had gotten all of the tumor. Accordingly, we didn’t pursue any further treatment. In 2010, almost exactly one year later, we noticed that the tumor had returned. We opted to have this one removed as well. After the surgery, which was successful, we weighed our options as to whether chemotherapy was appropriate. We considered that the chemo could make Mimi very sick, and that it might not be successful in the end. We also considered the fact that doxies tend to be a very long-lived breed, and that living to 15 or 16 years was fairly commonplace. We also took into account the fact that Mimi was (and remains) a very healthy, alert and active dog, even at the age of 10. Furthermore, we knew that if the chemo made her too sick, we could stop it, because we did not want her to have to be so miserable without knowing why. We decided that we would start the chemo treatments, and see how they went. Mimi went through a chemo protocol alternating between two different drugs for 6 treatments, one every three weeks. She was an awesome patient, and had very few bad reactions to the drugs. There were about two episodes where she was pretty sick, to the point where she didn’t even want to eat. However, the doctor gave her Cerenia to control the vomiting, which definitely helped. Ultimately, Mimi completed her chemo regimen, keeping her ever-sunny disposition firmly intact. She has been doing quite well, and we hope that she has many years left to boss us around.


Biggles’s Story

iggles was diagnosed with Myelodysplasia Syndrome just after his 5th birthday.Born 10/03/2006. He had almost no white cells, no platelets and his red cell pcv was 20.After initial treatment with prednislone, after two weeks he was started on cyclosporine and ketoconazole. Over the next Five weeks his blood counts all improved and now he is still on both drugs and a daily antibiotic. He is fit and well and enjoying life.


Seamus (the Famous!)’s Story

Seamus was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor on his rear-end when he was only 2 years old. His prognosis was not good (1 year with surgery and chemo). Seamus didn’t like those odds, so he destroyed them. After two surgeries and 6 months of chemotherapy he was cancer free.In fact, 3 years later he was by my side when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and he was my inspiration all through my treatments. He’s now a six year survivor–that’s 42 in human years! (and I’m a 3 year survivor). You might say he kicked cancer’s….um….rear-end.


Dora’s Story

In December 2010 Dora suffered an unexplained collapse. Bloodwork showed she was slightly anemic, and it turned out she also had a UTI, so we treated that, and viewed the collapse as just a slight anomaly. Three months later, when she got another UTI, the vet took some x-rays to check for a bladder stone. She didn’t have one; she did have a misshapen spleen, and an ultrasound revealed there were two tumors, and in retrospect the vet realized her previous collapse and anemia was the result of one of those tumors rupturing. On March 8, 2011, her spleen was removed, and the pathology came back with the news that I was dreading. Hemangiosarcoma, grade IIb. I initially resisted going to an oncologist. Dora means so much to me, and the last thing I wanted to do was make her remaining time miserable. Everything I’d read said that even WITH chemo, she’d be lucky to survive six months. But the vet told me that a consult wouldn’t hurt, so I tried to force myself to keep an open mind. After consult with the oncologist, I decided to go ahead and put Dora on metronomic chemotherapy. Not only would it be less harsh, but the prognosis was almost equivalent to the IV chemo. As I write this, Dora is now 8 months post surgery and 11 months post the initial bleed, and the oncologist has now spaced our visits out to every three months, because after her check-up today there’s absolutely no sign of metastasis. She’s going to be on the chemo for the rest of her life, but it’s had no impact on the quality of life she’s leading. She goes on long walks with me (over 2 miles and even chases squirrels), she’s earned her Canine Good Citizen certification in July and is also a certified therapy dog visiting nursing homes (and we use the fact that she’s doing so well on chemo and defying the odds to give human cancer victims a little bit of hope), and even recently took 2nd place in a Washington, DC area “top dog” contest. I want to offer to others facing the incredibly grim diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma that it’s NOT a death sentence–while I know that I’m ultimately going to have to say good-bye to Dora, on this newer protocol, her life has in no way changed from what it was before (other than the number of pills she gets, but they’re in pill pockets, so she kinda loves that), and has lasted a lot longer than I was told to expect.


Tango’s Story

My Italian Greyhound Tango had surgery to remove his spleen plus the walnut-size tumor attached to it, on July 30, 2010. It turned out to be hemangiosarcoma, a very aggressive cancer of the cells lining the blood vessels. He was given 2-4 months to live. We opted against chemo even though he was only 12, young for an IG. He has been treated strictly homeopathically – only vet prescribed herbal supplements and grain free food. Sunday, Oct 30th, 2011 marked his 15th month post surgery! He has a great quality of life and is lively and happy 24/7. His tail is always wagging! Cancer is tough to beat, but sometimes they CAN beat the odds! Never give up hope!


Tigger’s Story

In 2005 I adopted Tigger from a rescue group they saved him from being put down at a shelter. Before I adopted him he was in three different homes and returned each time because he barked too much. So here goes our roller coast ride. In 2006 he had a benign growth on his eye which was removed with cyrosurgery they freeze it to remove it. But during pre admission test they found elevated liver enzymes and a mass was found he had the liver surgery and entire mass was removed. It was hepatocellar carcinoma ( liver cancer). Sadly it came back 8 months later in a different location in the liver that was inoperable. The chief of surgery would not even operate. They said SORRY. He may have a couple of months to live.Tigger has a strong will to live so I put on my boxing gloves and was in the fight .I have to admit I drove the vet crazy with all my questions fears etc. I found a vet who understood me he was doing a new procedure chemoembolization he stated it MIGHT work. Its were they give chemo beads directly into tumor to shrink it. That OUNCE OF HOPE that Dr. Chick Weisse gave to us meant the world to me. Tigger had two treatments and the tumor was 50 percent smaller so he had a 50 50 chance in surgery. At that time I knew I had to fight he went in for surgery mass was removed but we did he did not get clean margins. So again WE FIGHT .Now its Jan 2009 he underwent systemtic chemo . Never lost weight just lost alittle fur. Now its 2011 3 years post OP. Yes three years because of HOPE and finding the right vet Dr. Chick Weisse of interventional radiology. So I learned when your head is spinning and your heart is ripping out STOP do your homework ask questions go to another vet. I did this not for me but for Tigger he was healthy otherwise and his strong will to live. HOPE DOES LIVE HERE IN OUR HOME WE HAVE A MIRACLE DOG. Thank you for reading Tiggers fight and Thank you Dr. Chick Weisse for making this happen.


Kaylanni’s Story

Kaylanni was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma almost 5 months ago at the age of 8yrs. She is doing amazing! Watch her progress and find out more about the alternative therapies we use to keep her living strong. http://living-with-hemangiosarcoma.blogspot.com/


Bear’s Story

Around 3 years ago I lost my Shih-Tzu, Spunky, to Lyphoma. I dedicated my life to the cause and educated myself along with others about canine cancer, treatments and preventative measures. Well, a little over 8 months ago I was lying in bed cuddling with my Golden Retriever, Bear. I was rubbing her furry belly and continued to rub up underneath her left armpit area. I felt a small pimple (size of 1/2 a fingernail) and automatically a flag was raised. I brought her to the vet and they did a needle biopsy. Diagnosis, Mast Cell Tumor (MCT). I sat on the ground crying but Bear stood in front of me licking the tears from my face. She went into surgery a day later to remove the tumor and surrounding cells and the vet felt very positive. About 3 days later the results arrived. It was stage 2, no chemo was necessary and they got 100% of the MCT with a 2 inch margin of clearance! Preventative measures saved Bear’s life!


Sherman’s Story

My Golden Retriever Sherman is a miracle cancer dog! Sherman’s personality is very happy, sweet, playful and loyal. His health problems have been occasional atopic dermatitis and two corneal ulcers that could have resulted in blindness. Miraculously, Sherman has been enjoying the gift of good eye sight to this day! He is a senior of 13, but he has the energy of a puppy. Looking at his weight, the vet did not recommend we should put him on the senior food since he is a very active dog. He is very enthusiastic about life, even though he was sadly diagnosed with lymphoma on December 13, 2011. It all started off with when a tumor was found on his spleen May 2011. We had no idea! It’s no wonder it is known as the silent killer. Sherman was moving around very slowly. The vet noticed he was becoming anemic since he had pale gums. He was weak and he would drag his feet when walking a couple days before surgery. After several signs, like vomiting, not retrieving or interested in eating dog treats, we knew he wasn’t well. We took him to the vet clinic where an x-ray revealed he had a tumor so big, that it covered several organs. The tumor had already ruptured! The vet did a great job of cleaning him up inside from the internal bleeding and removing the entire tumor along with Sherman’s spleen. Sherman recovered speedily and felt great! He has lived in excellent condition without his spleen. We were told to have him scheduled for a follow up appointment in 6 months. We took him in for his annual vaccination & wellness check up and found out he had hypothyroidism. The vet prescribed Soloxine. This only made him behave like more of a puppy. One morning, Sherman suffered a mild stroke, so we took him to the vet at about the time the follow up visit was due. After examining him, the vet said amazingly no neurological damage was evident. His vet took an x-ray which revealed a softball size mass. After a biopsy, it appeared removable so Sherman had surgery a second time. The vet was looking and he found that it was unfortunately not removable like he expected. He asked if we wanted him to euthanize Sherman before he woke up from his operation. It was a tough decision to make, but I knew my Sherman had shown no signs of illness. Without hesitation, I decided to bring Sherman home. The second tumor is the size of a softball and is attached to his pancreas and small intestine and was diagnosed as GIST (Gastro Intestinal Tumor). Even the vet could not recommend euthanasia since we told him Sherman was showing no signs of illness. With this said, the vet stated “he has defied medicine already” and we could take him home to nurse back to health after surgery that was deemed inoperable. We took him home and he is living a normal life! Since Sherman shows no signs of pain, his veterinarian reported he has not met the medical description at all of lymphoma. We are continuing to look forward to having him with us at this rate for more time than expected. He is doing extremely well. We did not choose chemo since it can destroy a dog’s good cells too and in some cases hasten their death. Our decision to not medicate came when the vet said that there was only a 20 % chance that it can shrink a tumor that size. We were discouraged to hear that slim possibility. We outweighed the benefits with the risks by saying if Sherman has a good quality of life right now, why ruin it by making him sick on chemo. On May 13, 2012, was his celebration of a one year survival from a spleenectomy! He runs around healthy and happy today! I grieve at the many dogs that are put to rest at the diagnosis of a tumor. I consider the many days Sherman has enjoyed life with us after recovering that we both would have missed out on if we had made the decision that day. Please consider the gift of life that your dog has for whatever time he has left and make it a joyous one! Don’t give up on your dog! His life is not over yet! I speak from my personal experience with Sherman. We’re very grateful to have Sherman with us still! We are enjoying every day with our pup! He is a good canine and shows such optimism with every step he takes with a bounce. I would highly recommend a Golden Retriever to anyone since they make everyone who lives with them a better person! As for my Goldie, he is a miracle who lives on! I am glad National Canine Cancer Foundation gave me the opportunity of sharing Sherman’s survival story! Wish you & your dog the best in his cancer survival story!


Layla‘s Story

In September 2011 my little girl Layla was diagnosed with Mast Cell cancer in her tail. The vet was ever so helpful and gave me all the info I needed. I had to make the call to amputate her tail or risk the cancer coming back ( from the lump that was removed.) I decided (after many tears and calls to dog oncologists and research) to remove her tail. The shock set in when I saw her all stitched up, and she was in so much pain for a few weeks, but she bounced back and is naughty as ever now! (and cute as a button!) I was lucky to have a vet I trusted, and had help from a lovely man in QLD who sold me omega vitamins for laylas immune system and gave me advice on her diet. I was blessed to have found him. Keep fighting for your pets, as they are so worth it!


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