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.