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!
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!