Meet Henry--our Lab/Golden Retriever mix that we adopted as a puppy from the rescue group RAGOM (Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota). He has a great life doing his favorite things--playing with balls, lying in the bushes, and digging. Eating, sleeping, and taking walks are also the high points of his typical day.
One day in September 2013, while bouncing a large rubber ball from his nose, he developed a severe nose bleed. After a trip to urgent care we rationalized that he must have poked his nose with something while digging holes. He was after some moles that were destroying our perennial beds at the time.
A second nosebleed and a trip to our vet, led us to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center for an evaluation. Being optimistic, we were certain that they would find something lodged in his nasal cavity from his outdoor escapades. We were not prepared for the diagnosis--chondrosarcoma--a malignant mass that wove its way through his right nasal cavity.
Since operating was not an option, Pat started researching the disease in dogs, what treatments were out there, and the side effects and prognosis. It seems that the U of M VMC had the top programs and equipment for treating such cancer in dogs.
Still hesitant to put our pup through an extensive round of radiation treatments, a phone call to the radiation therapy office eased our fears. In the background during this call was a commotion of dogs. It seems that those were the dogs waiting to have their treatments and enjoying some playtime with the toys beforehand. It sounded like a typical "doggy daycare".
After 22 radiation treatments with minimal side effects, it was the great staff--the doctors and technicians that made Henry's experience (and ours) a positive one. They showed such care for him and understood his unique habits. Each day Jerry would drop Henry off at the center. They would walk to the door of the radiation therapy department where Kim would cheerfully greet them. As the days went on Henry began the habit of grabbing a section of his leash and pulling away, heading for the exit. The tug of war went on until it was discovered that when the tech dropped her end of the leash Henry would carry it and walk himself into the room. It was his way of having some control over the situation.
At the end of the treatments, Henry returned home that day with a congratulations card signed by the staff and even a gift! Now that it has been 3 months since his treatments, we are optimistic that his tumor has stopped growing and maybe even shrunk. His bloodwork and labs are good and he is back to doing his favorite things. Whatever the case, we know that we will continue to have the support of the
doctors and staff of the Oncology and Radiation Therapy Service. They are an amazing group of people that take the time to inform you of what is happening, and listen to your concerns and answer your questions. It is apparent that they love their jobs and care about the patients they see.
This is a recent photo of Henry. As you can see he still likes his balls and once again can fit two in his mouth at a time.
Thank you for all that you have done for us,
Pat and Jerry