Thursday, July 31, 2008


I had my 4th chemo treatment this morning. They said that the tumor is now exactly half the size that it was when we started the treatments. And Dr. Lucroy said it's "squishy". That's a good thing, by the way. So just 2 more treatments and then hopefully it will be gone.

For those of you who might be curious, the drug that they are using on me is Carboplatin. Its one of the mildest chemo drugs as far as side effects. If the tumor hadn't shown any shrinkage, we would have had to use a stronger one. Fortunately, its working.

I'm at work with my girl now. I love all the people in the office. They always have time to pet me and sometimes I go out with some of them for little walks. I've also gotten to munch on some animal crackers. Yummy! I've been showing off my therapy dog tag too. Some people wish I could come to work everyday. Petting a soft, furry dog is very healthy. Do you know that studies have shown that petting me can lower your blood pressure? I would go to work with my girl just to be guaranteed of 2 car rides a day.

I still need to write about becoming a therapy dog but that will have to wait until later.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Last year in November, my people took me to the vet to get my yearly check up and vaccinations and to have my ear looked at for a little infection. Dr. Lee is my vet at Broad Ripple Animal Clinic. He's really nice. My girl happened to mention to him that I had a little lump on my side. Dr. Lee said it was probably nothing to be too worried about but he'd do a biopsy to be sure. What a surprise we were all in for in the next couple of weeks.

When we went back the next week to make sure that my ear infection was cleared up, Dr. Lee also had the biopsy results. My little lump was cancerous. Upon examining me a little more, they also noticed a lump in my neck. My people took me to see Dr. Webb at Stop 11 Animal Hospital who did my surgery to remove the tumor on my side. Dr. Lee was willing to do it however my people needed someone they could afford (and trusted as much as Dr. Lee). Dr. Webb had been Guinness' vet so they knew he'd take good care of me too. Dr. Webb also attempted to remove the lump on my neck and to do a biopsy of it. He thought it might have been just a swollen gland or something. Once he got in there though, he was in for a shock. I had a huge mass (the size of a racquetball!) wrapped around my arteries. I started to hemorrhage so he got enough to test and stitched me back up.

I wasn't in too good of shape for a little while. The incision on my side healed up nicely but I couldn't leave the one on my neck alone. It just bothered me so much. My people wrapped up my feet to keep my claws from scratching it open but lucky for me, they couldn't stick one of those big, cumbersome Elizabethan collars on me. Well, maybe it wasn't so lucky. Since I wouldn't keep my feet wrapped and wouldn't stop scratching at my neck, I got an infection. I wasn't feeling so hot. And on top of that, when we went back to see Dr. Webb, he had the test results. He was a little shocked. It turned out that I have thyroid cancer. Dr. Webb said that in all his years of being a vet, he'd seen it many times in cats but never in a dog.

Dr. Webb had to refer us to see an oncologist. I've been going to see Dr. Lucroy for a few months now. He really knows his stuff! He told my people that thyroid cancer is very rare in dogs. So rare that they aren't really sure how the best way to treat it is. I guess with people and cats, a radioactive iodine (or something like that) treatment works best. For some reason however, it doesn't work on dogs. Our options were to try chemotherapy or radiation. With the radiation treatment, I'd have to go somewhere else like Columbus, OH or Chicago and my people would have to leave me there for maybe a week at a time. We decided to try the chemo since my people would be completely lost without me at home to keep an eye on Stella.

This Friday will be my fourth treatment. Everyone always asks my people questions like if my hair will fall out or does it make me sick? Chemo with dogs is different than with humans. First off, its given at a much lower dosage. I am treated every three weeks, with a blood check every ten days in between. I haven't lost any hair and if I did, that would be a cause for concern. Dr. Lucroy said that it usually takes at least four treatments to see results but I won't receive more than six. After six treatments, it can start affecting my liver and heart. The blood work is to check how I'm responding. After the first treatment, my white blood cell count dropped and I had to be put on a super antibiotic just in case I picked up any bugs. With a lowered immune system, I could get sick easier. They lowered the next chemo dosage and I haven't had any problems since then. One of the side affects that could happen after a treatment is vomiting or diarrhea. My girl takes me to work with her after I've been to see Dr. Lucroy so that she can keep an eye on me to make sure I'm handling it all okay. I never have any problems but I'm glad she lets me go to work with her. I love visiting people and I think they love me too. And I get to go for lots of CAR RIDES!!!!!

So, that's the story on my cancer and its treatment. I have my next visit Friday so I'll update how that went. I still have to write about how I became a therapy dog too.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My first job as a therapy dog.

We heard back from the library today. They have a program in the children's department called Waggin' Tales. One Saturday a month I'll get to go listen to kids read stories. I love the attention and by reading to a dog who listens but doesn't criticize or correct, they build confidence. I can't wait to get started. Too bad it won't be until October. They have another dog there too. Her name is Queenie. I hope we can be friends and she can give me tips on how to be the best therapy dog I can.

My shelter story....

One year and seven months ago, life was looking very bleak for me. I was in this strange place in a little kennel surrounded by other dogs. None of them were very happy. Some said they were picked up off the street and locked up, others said they had cruel owners that yelled at them all the time. Some like me had had a good life with a nice family when one day, their people dropped them off and were never seen again. Christmas was getting near so lots of people were coming in and taking some of the dogs home. I was too depressed to really care although the smart ones made sure to look as cute and friendly as they possibly could. There was one happy go lucky guy who wagged his tale so hard, he ended up breaking it and then having to have it amputated. The sympathy he got from that sure got him into a new home quick.

One day a girl showed up in a red jacket. She walked slowly through making sure to give everyone a little love. Then she stopped when she got to me. I raised my head for a moment but expected her to move on. She wasn't my person and that was the only one I wanted to see. She disappeared but soon came back with one of the shelter workers. They took me in a small room and tossed the ball a few times for me. My heart wasn't into it but it felt good to get to move a little bit after being cramped in that kennel for so long. And then a moment later, back into it I went. Later on someone came and wrote "HOLD" on my info sheet. What does that mean I wondered.

The next day, the girl in the red coat came back for me. The car ride was nice but I was feeling so awful that I didn't care. My eye was very irritated and full of green discharge and I was developing a cough and breathing problems. My new person and the boy she lived with were very concerned. There were 2 other dogs in the home, Guinness and Stella and they filled me in that this was my new home and that it was a very nice place. There were always balls to play with and bones to gnaw on and the people loved each other and them very much.

The next day I went to the vet who checked my eye out first and got the big piece of plastic out of it and then she gave my new owners some medicine for the respiratory infection I had. I was slowly on the way to being a healthier but still broken hearted Border Collie.

Time eventually moved on and my old family started to fade from my memory. I adore my new family although Guinness left us last summer after becoming ill. I feel sorry for my boy as he really misses him which I can understand after spending 10 years with my first family. I have a huge yard to run around in now though, we go for lots of car rides and walks and that crazy Stella is always good for a laugh. Other than my cancer, which I will leave for another time, life is pretty good and I have a new job being a therapy dog.