BlogAThon, Chick Speak

Hugo – My Gigantic Cancer Survivor

Why am I doing this?


Hugo is a 140LB Cane Corso mastiff/Newfoundland mix that we adopted from a high-kill shelter in a rural area of the Shenandoah Valley in January 2009. In April we noticed a large lump on his side and immediately took him to the vet thinking it was just a fatty lump. When the vet came back from running tests and told us it was a Mast Cell Tumor and that Hugo had cancer, my heart sank.

We had adopted Hugo after unexpectedly losing our 8 year old AmStaff mix, Max, to a tumor that past December. It’s unclear whether Max’s tumor was cancer related, but it came out of nowhere and he died very suddenly. I wasn’t mentally or emotionally prepared to go through that again. And all I could muster at that moment was that Hugo was going to die from cancer.


The truth is, MCT is actually pretty common among dogs and as with people, cancer treatment has come a long way. I ran to the web and did a lot of research to really understand Hugo’s type of cancer and what our options were. We are also very lucky to have a wonderful vet who was very matter-of-fact about his chances, helped us choose our path of recovery for Hugo and stood by us every step of the way. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having great professional help not just for your dog, but for you own peace of mind.

We’ve been very lucky as Hugo’s tumors were considered grade 2 and operable. And now almost 2 years, 2 MCTs and one round of chemo later, Hugo is happy and healthy, albeit very large, lapdog who has beaten cancer so far. And beyond the lethargy from the chemo, he didn’t suffer as much as some dogs do. At the end of the day, he didn’t know that he had cancer and he became a “huge” rock star at the vet’s office.

The most important lesson for me was that I wasn’t alone (which is how I felt when the diagnosis was made.) There are forums, websites, Facebook communities devoted to folks who are experiencing the same confusion, anger, solitude and sadness that you may be feeling. Seek them out. Talk to your vet. Talk to friends. Talk to me!

Swag Alert!
This hour I’m giving away a PUPPY UP Prize Pack 1 Puppy Up! black t-shirt, a Cancer Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down calendar, a Puppy Up! Bandanna and a blue wristband! (Wow, I want this one!) Gracioulsy donated by 2 Million Dogs Foundation! Just tell us a little about your pups in the comments below!

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  • Reply Cindy Eilenberger February 5, 2011 at 9:21 am

    We currently have two dogs in our home. One is our Rottie, Kassi, who was rescued from Kodi’s Club of NY. When our husky, Sam, passed after being diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma, Kassi was quite sad as we all were.

    God works in mysterious ways, as about 2-3 weeks after losing Sam we were contacted by our local Animal Control Officer asking if we could help out with a young dog she had that needed some socialization. She had come out of a neglect and abuse situation and the only human contact she had was not good. Within 2 weeks, Kassi had taken her under her wing and they became inseparable. Even though we were not so sure we were ready for another dog, Kassi was and Laney became one of our own.

  • Reply Janelle Welch February 5, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Virtual HIGH FIVE to the chicks. Thanks for helping us out today for a great cause!

  • Reply Boris February 5, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Hugo — You are huge and handsome. I am not as huge but my Dad thinks I’m handsome too. Good luck and thanks for participating in the Blogathon! My sister, Linga, had canine leukemia and lived 3 years after her diagnosis! We were so sad to lose her but so very glad she had 3 extra years with us. She was gorgeous and I had a huge crush on her. I miss her every day.
    Be well! Your new friend Boris.

  • Reply Julie February 5, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I love hearing survivor stories like this.

  • Reply Tweets that mention New Brew!] Hugo – My Gigantic Cancer Survivor -- February 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Beth J. Bates, Chicks Love Beer. Chicks Love Beer said: [New Brew!] Hugo – My Gigantic Cancer Survivor […]

  • Reply Cindy February 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Thanks so much for taking the time and participating in this event… Your pup is absolutely beautiful and I am so happy to hear cancer free.. I lost my beautiful golden retriever to cancer 2-1/2 years ago, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her 1,000 times..
    I have two pups now a beautiful 7-1/2 yr old little yellow lab and a 2 yr old golden retriever.. They are both raised holistically and are very happy and healthy. However in November my lab had a very small lump removed and it was stage one low grade mast cell.. Her prognosis is excellent and she did not have to have any further treatment. She is on a lot of supplements ie. Hoxsey Forumula, gynostemma, Wholly Immune powder, omega 3 fish oil, etc. She eats raw and gets a lot of exercise. When I heard the “C” diagnosis I couldn’t breathe, after losing my golden to osteosarcoma and the journey that we took together, how was it possible that my lab being so healthy had cancer. I too have an amazing vet and within a day and a half he did the surgery and was and is very optimistic that she will live a long life..

    My two girls and I walked the final mile in Boston with Luke and his boys and met people from all over the US.. it was one of the best days ever.. We continue the journey with Luke and hopefully one day very soon canine cancer will be no longer!

    • Reply Beth "BYOBates" February 5, 2011 at 11:40 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Cindy, and for participating in the Boston walk!

  • Reply Jennifer Bedell February 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Who doesn’t love a face like Hugo’s.
    Hubby and I currently own a Mini Schnauzer named Smokey. He is such a lovable furball and I know I would be heart broken if anything ever happened to him. Sadly one of my childhood dogs, a German Shepherd, passed away last year. Her name was Gretchen and at 13 it was her time to go.

    Our pets are such a huge part of our lives, and I hope someday soon the find a cure so no one has to go through the pain that cancer causes again.

  • Reply Liz February 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

    We lost one of our childhood dogs suddenly to cancer. Dodger was the smartest, coolest, most loving Sheltie and we just didn’t have enough time with him on this earth. It was terrible to lose him so young (I think he was 5 or so). It was one of the few times I ever saw my Dad cry. I’m so glad to hear that my buddy Hugo is pulling through!

  • Reply Boris February 5, 2011 at 11:14 am

    PS — Hugo …. Boris here again. Do you get to drink any beer? I was just wondering. You look like a beer kinda guy!

    • Reply Beth "BYOBates" February 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Hugo would love to have a brew, but unfortunately his mommy hogs it all!

  • Reply Robyn February 5, 2011 at 11:25 am

    My 4 footed best friend passed away a year ago from spleenic cancer. She came through the surgery like a rock star and died due to complications from the chemo treatments. I had 12 years with her by my side. She was my grumbly, moody, stinky pup and I miss her every day.

  • Reply Cory Ferguson February 5, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Thank you for sharing Hugo’s story!

  • Reply Sheri Throop February 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I am blessed with the dogs that have passed through my life and those that live with me today. My Grey ST. Poodle Lucy and I still mourn the loss of her brother Ricky (for what’s a Lucy without a Ricky). Ricky came to us through caring friends who found the young man abandoned and running wild. (Can you imagine what a wild poodle looks like !) They tracked down his “owners” who had set him free because he wasn’t cute and little anymore. They brought him to me to help rehab him and groom him in preparation for finding a new home. He was with us less that 3 days when Lucy, my husband, the kids and I all fell in love with the dog he was and the potential under all that hair! So he stayed but it wasn’t as long as we would have liked. At the age of 4 (just two years after he joined our family) he was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer was moving so fast it was systemic (from first symptom to total lymph involvement less than 30 days) none of the treatments made a difference so we decided to make the best of the time we had. We added Wheatgrass juice to his diet and he amazed his dr’s by living 3 times as long as the 2 months that they gave him. He passed peacefully in my arms surrounded by his family under his favorite tree (I am so thankful to have a vet who is a proponent of home euthanasia). There are days we still can see him pogoing around the yard. It was in the search for answers that I came across Luke and his walk. Lucy, after her brother’s passing wore his initial on her right hip and Malcom’s on her left for 12 months. We walked with Luke a couple of times including the last mile into Boston.

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