Tempus Fugit

Time really does seem to fly. Today is Rudy and Wyatt’s second Gotcha Day. It doesn’t seem possible that two years have gone by since we adopted them and brought them to live in their forever home with us.

They have turned into such wonderful dogs. They absolutely adore us and we them. They hardly ever destroy anything anymore. Quite a change from two years ago.

Wyatt couldn’t resist chewing a cashmere sweater this winter that I’ve had for over 30 years. That sweater kept me warm on some brutally cold dogs walks this winter. I sewed it back together. It’s not pretty anymore, but it will still keep me warm.

I can’t imagine life without dogs. Actually I can, and did. We were completely dogless for the month after losing Tiger quite suddenly to Hemangiosarcoma, before we got Rudy and Wyatt. It was one of the emptiest, worst times in my life. We live in a rural area and I don’t really have any friends out here. The activities I do are all solo, largely because I’m too old and too slow to keep up with all the talented, younger athletes that call the Methow Valley home. So the dogs are my main companions these days. I’m not complaining. It’s good to experience life at the speed of dog. They live in the moment and savor all the things they encounter. Sometimes a little too much.

Being sighthounds, Rudy and Wyatt feel the uncontrollable need to chase anything that moves. That includes the numerous deer, coyotes, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, cats and other critters that call our neighborhood home. Thankfully they haven’t encountered any of the many bears and cougars that frequently roam our property at night. Recently, the big excitement around here has been the moose that decided to take up residence in our neighborhood late this winter.

It very stealthily moved around to various locations nearby, browsing on the new buds on low-hanging branches and sleeping under trees. It left tracks and poop all over our yard and spent one night sleeping under a pine tree at our next door neighbors.

Rudy and Wyatt only laid eyes on the moose once. Luckily it was lying down a fair distance from us. It saw us, but didn’t move, so the boys remained calm. We turned around and they saw a squirrel running down a tree branch and proceeded to lose it. That morning on our walk, I can honestly say we saw Moose and Squirrel. It seems to have moved on, for which I am happy. They can be very aggressive and they are huge! Our guy is the size of a large couch.

In the seven years that we have lived out here, this is the first time I’ve seen a moose. Our moose wasn’t the only one. There were two moose seen wandering through town about a mile from us. People who have lived here for a really long time say it’s not all that unusual to see them around here, but it’s not a particularly common occurrence either. The fires in 2021 destroyed so much habitat. We had an abundance of bears this fall. Coyotes too. There are always so many deer around here, it’s hard to tell how much the fires impacted them. I think a lot of these poor animals lost their usual territory and have come down here desperate for food.

We were fortunate to have escaped any significant wildfires last summer. But winter hit us with a vengeance starting in early November. Our first significant snowfall came on November 6. That was followed by an endless stream of cold weather and snowfall for the next couple of months. Our temperatures bottomed out at -24F in late December.

We lost our water for a week around Christmas. I will long remember cooking Christmas dinner and cleaning up with no running water. But it is officially Spring now. The days are longer. The sun is warm. The ice and snow is melting and the world is waking up. Soon the hillsides will be full of glorious yellow Arrowleaf Balsamroot flowers.

Each walk is a symphony of smells for Rudy and Wyatt as they nose around the newly melted out ground that is revealing all sorts of tasty secrets that have been sequestered in snow for the last five months. Soon our garden will melt out and it will be time to prep the soil and start seeds for the Summer. There will be a brief time between the melt and planting when the boys can run free in the garden. Very soon now, guys!

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Six-Month Gotcha Day Anniversary

Rudy and Wyatt came into our live six months ago yesterday. We absolutely love the dogs they are becoming.

Wyatt and Rudy doing what they do best!

These six months have gone by pretty fast, despite the summer being marred by extreme heat in June and two big wildfires that burned very close to us.

June 29, 2021
Cedar Creek Fire torching Virginian Ridge July 24, 2021

We also had the misfortune of having the worst air quality in the country, and likely the world, in mid-July.

July 19, 2021 A really bad air day!

The air quality greatly improved by late August. The temperatures also returned then to a more tolerable range and the immediate threat of being immolated by fire subsided.

September has by and large been lovely, so far.

Another negative about this summer has been Rudy testing positive for Hookworms at his annual check-up in mid-August.

Which likely means that Wyatt also has them.

Hookworms are the worst and most tenacious of all the intestinal parasites that can plague dogs. Our vet thinks it’s likely that they brought them from Florida, where they came from, since he says he doesn’t see a lot of hookworms here in the Pacific Northwest. They’ve been up here since January. The kennel we adopted them from treats the dogs they get in extensively for parasites of every kind. We gave Rudy and Wyatt monthly treatments of Panacur and Advantage Multi until early July. But, like I said, hookworms are very tenacious and extremely difficult to eradicate. The boys went on a two-dose regiment of Triple Wormer. I am really hoping this takes care of it. I will soon find out as I dropped off fecal samples for both of them this morning.

Although still not 100% trustworthy, the boys have been on a mostly upward behavioral trajectory. It’s hard to tell whether this is because they are becoming more settled and mature – Wyatt turned 3 in June – or if it is because there are simply fewer things lying around for them to destroy.

Only one of the three dog beds that were in our living room has survived.

We still have to close the doors to both bedrooms when we go out, or risk coming home to dirty laundry strewn about. Wyatt, the brindle criminal, has developed a penchant for sorting through the laundry. Dirty bike shorts are his favorite things in the basket.

The brindle criminal!

We don’t dare leave any shoes or jackets hanging on the hooks near the front door. The house does have a very clean, minimalist look to it, which is not entirely unpleasing. I recall it took Tiger over a year before he could be trusted not to destroy anything when we went out for an evening.

I am confident Rudy and Wyatt will eventually get there…Our biggest challenge at the moment is trying to convince them not to chase after deer. We have so many mule deer, our yard is like a nature preserve. Tiger and Truman eventually learned to ignore the deer. This also took about a year before they lost interest.

Town deer don’t care

Rudy and Wyatt are greyhounds #7 and #8 for us. It has taken all of our dogs a full year for their true personalities to emerge. Their lives in a home are so different from what came before for them. Watching them settle into their lives in their forever home with us is one of my greatest joys.

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Settling Into Their Forever Home

Rudy and Wyatt have been with us for a little over two months now. They’re adjusting beautifully to living in a home, and are becoming wonderful companions for us and for each other.

The biggest challenge was dealing with Wyatt’s separation anxiety, which caused him to bark at night. All night. For a whole month. We gave him Trazodone, an anti-anxiety med, for several weeks. It was the only way any of us could get any sleep.

One night in late April, I was able to convince Wyatt to sleep on one of the dog beds in our bedroom.

Sleeping in the same room as us was a big step and calmed him down considerably. His trust in us was building and I was able to wean him off the Trazodone entirely by May 1st.

Wyatt has only barked a couple of times at night recently, and one of those occasions was because he could hear the neighborhood coyotes yipping at the full moon.

Speaking of building trust, both dogs let me dremel their nails while they lie quietly on their beds. This is a significant accomplishment. Our previous greyhounds were only mildly tolerant at best of the dremel tool, and it took both of us to get their nails trimmed. I started getting Rudy and Wyatt used to the dremel tool in the first days that we had them. That’s really paid off in stress-free quadrupedicure sessions.

As we live in a very remote area, and it’s just the four of us in the house, we are making an effort to socialize Rudy and Wyatt to new places, people, sights, sounds, and other dogs. They are both extremely friendly boys and want to interact with everyone and everything they see. The two of them weigh the same as I do, so it can be a challenge keeping them under control when I walk them by myself, which is every morning. It gets light here very early this time of year, so the boys get me up by 6:00 most days and insist that we go for our walk by 6:30.

I am absolutely not a morning person, but everything is peaceful and quiet at that time of day. We are able to complete our mile-long neighborhood circuit most days before anyone else is up. So I can’t really complain about getting awakened at such an uncivilized hour.

We’re still working on convincing them not to destroy things in the house. We have learned to not leave shoes in the entry hall, anything on the coffee table – including adult beverages – even for a brief moment. Good thing we are kind of into minimalism.

We are minus one throw pillow after I stepped out of the house to do a bit of yard work a few weeks ago.

Lucky for Rudy and Wyatt that they are so cute.

Wyatt had a growth on his neck removed last week. I first noticed it about a month ago when I knocked it off while brushing him. It bled a bit and grew back considerably bigger than it initially was.

As of today, we are still waiting for the tissue sample results. I’m apprehensive after going through so much in a short time with Tiger, Truman and Campy. Wyatt just has to be OK!

With the pandemic subsiding and both of us fully vaccinated, we are able to have friends over and feel better about taking the dogs into town and to the weekly Farmers Market, where they can meet new people and leashed dogs. They love getting out and have done really well in new situations and crowded places. They are beautiful, elegant creatures, and are good ambassadors for the greyhound breed. We are so proud of them!

It’s wonderful to watch these guys starting to really feel at home, and to start to love and trust us. The lovefest is mutual!

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Rudy and Wyatt

We welcomed these two beautiful creatures, Rudy and Wyatt to our family on March 21.

They are helping our hearts heal after losing Truman, Campy and Tiger all in the last 18 months. 

Rudy and Wyatt are only 2-years old and came to Greyhound Pets, Inc. in a shipment from Florida on January 21. Greyhound racing in Florida concluded on January 31, 2020. Very few greyhound racing tracks in the U.S. remain open now. With the number of open tracks continuing to dwindle, the dogs that arrived in January are likely one of the last loads of NGA retired racers that will come to GPI. This wonderful organization will continue to work with other sources to bring in sighthounds from overseas once the pandemic travel restrictions ease up.

We chose Rudy and Wyatt, in large part, because they seemed to get along well with each other and they were more engaged with us than some of the other dogs we met at GPI.

We’ve only had them for a little more than a week now, so we are all still very much in the ‘getting to know you’ phase. They are sweet, intelligent, affectionate boys and are quickly learning the house rules. 

The goal in these early days is to set a regular schedule for them and stick to it. I’ve been doing a lot of leash work on our daily walks and their leash manners are already dramatically improved. Each boy has had a couple of accidents in the house, but they are very correctable and are catching on about where it is acceptable to go to the bathroom. They’re also learning about what “toys” are appropriate to chew on.

The biggest challenge so far has been with Wyatt barking at night. Loudly. All night. We made a rookie mistake by trying to “comfort” him the first few nights. I ended up falling asleep on the floor next to him, which Wyatt absolutely loved. Well, I ended up creating a monster in just a few days. Reading up on anxiety barking, I learned that ignoring the dog is the way to correct it. We spent two miserable, sleepless nights of ignoring Wyatt’s incessant barking until 3:00AM.

Going cold turkey is never easy. I got some Trazodone from our local vet. It is an anti-anxiety drug that I have used in the past on our dogs that were scared of the July 4, fireworks. I also ordered a CBD product that is supposed to help with anxiety. It just arrived today. So more on that later. The Trazodone was a success last night. Wyatt slept and so we all slept. Better living through chemistry…like the old pharmaceutical company ad said.

We are absolutely in love with our new boys and look forward to sharing their lives for a long, long time.

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~ Tiger ~ January 23, 2009 – February 23, 2021

Your wings were ready, our hearts were not.

Tiger – AHK Poppa’s Tiger – came into our lives on March 7, 2012. 

Tiger was a ‘Bama boy. He ran 30 races in his career, all of them in Mobile, AL, from March 5, 2011 to September 5, 2011. He won 3 races and finished 2nd in 3 races, so he was a better racer than I was when I was racing bikes.

Larry picked him out to be his new friend after meeting a number of adoptable hounds at Greyhound Pets, Inc. 

Tiger settled into his new life in our small apartment in the shadow of the Space Needle in Seattle. 

But he was terrified about the world outside. Getting Tiger adjusted to going for walks took lots of patience and encouragement. Gradually, he became more accepting of the idea that the world outside wasn’t going to hurt him, and was, in fact, a pretty interesting place full of new sights, smells, and nice people and dogs to meet.

Tiger came to love his neighborhood walks with Larry, and later with Truman, and Campy. We made new greyhound friends in our neighborhood around Seattle Center. 

Tiger also went through a bit of a destructive phase. He was particularly proud of himself after destroying his bed.

Tiger and Truman even ended up in a Nordstrom catalog shoot at the nearby Sculpture Park.

We moved to Portland in the spring of 2014. Tiger and Truman loved their new home in the very dog-friendly Pearl District.

We enjoyed daily walks at The Fields park, which was very close to our home.

We made life-long friends with other neighborhood greyhounds and their humans.

Tiger, along with Truman, became hero dog blood donors at Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland. 

In late 2016 we packed up and moved again. This time to the Methow Valley in north-central Washington. 

Tiger and Truman took yet another move in stride and quickly adapted to a rural lifestyle. 

However, they always enjoyed returning to Portland to visit their friends and former home. 

They were Urban dogs at heart.

We celebrated Tiger’s 12th birthday on January 23 with carrot “pupcakes” and the promise of getting a new greyhound friend for him in the spring. We had just lost Campy in November. 

Up until a few days after his birthday, Tiger appeared to be in remarkably good health. He still played with his toys and charged around the living room like a puppy.  

That all changed the last week in January. Suddenly Tiger seemed to be very uncomfortable. He stood in a stiff, awkward position. I went over him searching for lumps or bumps that could be causing his discomfort. I picked up all his feet and inspected them for cuts or rough spots. None in evidence. But Tiger flinched when I picked up his right front foot, leading me to suspect something was wrong with his shoulder. 

Having lost two dogs to osteosarcoma in 12 months, I am very concerned anytime one of our dogs shows any sign of discomfort. I got in to see our local vet right away, who concurred that something was likely going on with his shoulder. Tiger was scheduled for an X-ray the following week. In the meantime, I would keep him comfortable with gabapentin and anti-inflammatories.

Then, a couple of days later, Tiger seemed much better. He was back to his old playful self and was engaged again on our walks, sniffing everything and barking at vehicles on the road. I canceled the X-ray appointment, thinking that bone cancer wouldn’t suddenly resolve itself like that.  

On February 17, I was brushing Tiger and noticed a large lump on the right side of his chest. The lump had not been there earlier that morning. So, of course I freaked out again and called the vet to get Tiger in ASAP. We were able to get in that afternoon. Our vet said Tiger had developed a hematoma. He took blood and tissue samples, and arranged for Tiger to come in the next morning to have it drained. Tiger had done nothing to injure himself in such a way that a large hematoma would have resulted. 

Tiger turned out to need a more complicated procedure than simply draining the hematoma, as the lump are wouldn’t stop bleeding when the vet lanced it. He ended up having to cut into the deltoid and located a “hole” that was filling up with blood. So he sutured that shut and took tissue samples to be biopsied, as he thought whatever was going on didn’t look normal, as if a tumor might have burst. So poor Tiger had a ton of stitches, internal and external, along with a drain tube and was quite uncomfortable.

He went back on gabapentin and antibiotics. He was scheduled be get the drain tube out the following week, by which time we hopefully would hear back on all the bloodwork and tissue samples that went out for biopsies, cytology, and blood analysis. Of course we freak out anytime anything happens after what we’ve been through with Campy and Truman.

The pathology reports back on February 23, the day he was scheduled to get the drain tube out. The reports showed that Tiger had hemangiosarcoma in his right shoulder. He spent a week being miserable with the drain tube in his shoulder. We we weren’t going to subject him to any more suffering. We said good bye to Tiger that afternoon. We are devastated. 

We will adopt another greyhound soon. We had hoped that Tiger would help us choose a new hound.

After losing Campy to osteosarcoma in early November, it became apparent that Tiger wanted a new friend. We had already arranged a trip for Tiger to choose another greyhound companion on March 20. We will still make the trip and will bring another dog home for us to love and to help heal our broken hearts.

Tiger, you were a kind, loving, loyal, gentle greyhound. Thank you for trusting us and being my best friend for nearly 9 years.

“Now I know I’ve got a heart because it is breaking.” – the Tin Woodman

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~ Campagnolo ~ May 23, 2015 – November 2, 2020

I haven’t been able to bring myself to write these words until now. We got some devastating news about Campy in late October. I took him for a follow up lung X-ray on October 27, which happened to be Campy’s one-year Gotcha Day.

The X-ray didn’t show any further growths on his lungs, but it did show a lot of fluid in his chest around his heart and lungs. Then another X-ray and ultrasound showed a large mass growing near his kidney.

Also, on the way to the vet’s office, which is a two hour drive, Campy developed a very large, hard lump on the side of his neck, which we had biopsied. The biopsy turned out to be a metastasized tumor from his osteosarcoma. Our vet feels that the mass near his kidney was likely the same. Bloodwork taken that day looked fairly normal. Even his kidney function looked normal. 

Campy had been dealing with a number of abscesses since his second Yale Canine Cancer Vaccine injection in early August, but had otherwise seemed fine. Campy experienced increased breathing difficulty in the days that followed. He would only eat plain yogurt, fresh mozzarella and some boiled chicken.

Campy had 10 good months since his osteosarcoma diagnosis in early January, amp surgery, chemo, and the Yale vaccine. We feel we did all we could for him. We weren’t going to let him suffer. So we said goodbye to him on November 2.

We were hoping for a much different outcome on Campy’s Gotcha Day. But we are appreciative that he got to take part in the vaccine trial and don’t regret any of his treatment. His team vets here in the Methow Valley, Wenatchee, and at Yale were all wonderful, caring and compassionate.

As a side note, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in early September and underwent radiation treatment at a clinic only a few blocks from the vet clinic where Campy was treated. I have DCIS, which is “the good kind of cancer,” and had a lumpectomy in October. My margins came back clean and a sentinel lymph node biopsy showed that the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes. The radiation is purely preventative in case any stray bad cells are lurking.

Tiger turns 12 in January and remains in good health, although he gave us a scare last month. He developed a large epulis on the roof of his mouth. It grew large enough that it started pushing out his two front teeth. We had it removed and biopsied the week before Thanksgiving. The biopsy came back negative, which gave us something to be truly thankful for. It would be unbearable have to say goodbye to Tiger right now. We have had him since 2012 and he will remain out only dog through the rest of the winter. Come spring, Tiger will help us to choose another greyhound that we can all love.

To say that 2020 has been an awful year for us is an understatement. However, the events of the last three months have made me appreciate the outpouring of love and the true goodness that shines in the many people whom I am privileged to call friends.

I believe that better days are ahead.


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Making Antibodies

Making antibodies. The two most beautiful words in the world to the dog parents whose fur babies are enrolled in the Yale Canine Cancer Vaccine clinical trial. Campy and I got the good news in September, about 10 days after submitting our three blood samples.

The idea, and our greatest hope, is that the presence of antibodies means that immune responses are happening that will reduce and stop tumor growth, with the ultimate goal of eliminating tumors.

To backtrack a bit, Campy was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his left hind leg in early January of this year. He underwent successful amputation surgery in late January. A course of six Carboplatin treatments followed. A lung X-ray taken during his final chemo treatment in June showed a spot on his right lung that had not been present in two previous X-rays.

A crushing disappointment for sure! Everything had gone so well until then. Campy tolerated the amp surgery and came through his chemotherapy with flying colors.

The Yale vaccine trial was our last hope for Campy to truly kick cancer’s ass. He continues to suffer from sterile abscesses near the injection sites, which are a side effect and continued reaction to the vaccine.

They are unpleasant and make Campy uncomfortable, but are indicative that he is producing a strong antibody reaction.

Campy will be getting a follow-up X-ray on October 27, to see where we’re at with the lung met that first appeared in June.

October 27, is also Campy’s first Gotcha Day! This is a huge milestone for all of us, and that we would be able to celebrate this day was little more than a wishful fantasy dream back in January.

So while there is trepidation about what the X-rays will reveal, there is tremendous joy that Campy is still with us and continues to enjoy a good quality of life.

We really love this boy!

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Clinical Trials and Tribulations

Campy has now had his two Yale Canine Cancer Vaccine injections. The first one was on July 14, and Campy showed no reaction to it at all. His second injection on August 5, is turning out to be quite eventful.

Within a couple of days Campy became very tender at the injection site, on the right side of his neck. He cried out when he tugged on his leash and put pressure on his neck from his collar. A lump soon developed on his neck, which was an expected potential side-effect of the vaccine in some dogs.

A significantly larger lump that developed on Campy’s back between his shoulder blades was a mystery and quite concerning. The first injection was done on the left side of his neck. Neither injection was done on his back.

I started applying warm compresses to both swelling sites in the hope of getting them to open up and drain. This is the recommended protocol from Yale to deal with these “sterile abscesses.”

The lump on Campy’s neck soon opened up and started draining. It didn’t appear to cause him too much discomfort. So that much was going pretty much by the anticipated side-effects playbook. But the lump on his back remained hard as a rock and continued to grow. I made an appointment for Campy to see our local vet and reached out to Dr. Mark Mamula at Yale, who is in charge of the vaccine trial. He told me that the neck abscess looked quite typical of what he’s seen in other dogs in the study. He also said that it is very rare that a reaction to the vaccine would occur at a location other than the injection site.

Having dealt with two dogs in 10 months having cancer, I’m hyper-leery of any lump, bump or mis-step I notice on my dogs now.

Dr. Mamula suggested our local vet do a needle biopsy of the big back lump. That was the plan for our August 12, appointment. But the lump was too hard to yield any fluid. It was also very painful for Campy. It turned out Campy was running a fever of 103.5, so we came home with antibiotics and Gabapentin for his pain.

Campy was to go back to the vet in two days for a follow-up and to have the lump excised, if it hadn’t opened up on its own with continued warm compresses.

The next day, I noticed the lump finally starting to soften up. Sure enough, it opened up with a vengeance in the middle of the night. Campy was in major discomfort and paced around the house trying to get comfortable, despite the Gabapentin. The next morning our house looked like a crime scene, but at least the giant lump had opened up on its own and wouldn’t have to be surgically excised. The vet did what he could to shave Campy around both accesses to help with their draining.

This weekend I have been continuing with the warm compresses and making sure the wounds keep draining and don’t scab over and start swelling again. I’m continuing with the Gabapentin and the antibiotics. Campy seems to be more comfortable now.

Two positives on which to end this: One being that based on the study results so far, dogs that have experienced abscesses after one or both of their vaccine injections have typically produced antibodies…which is the ultimate goal, to attack and kill malignant tumor cells. So fingers crossed that Campy’s discomfort the past two weeks will have been worthwhile. He’s to have his third and final blood draw on August 31, which will be sent to Yale, along with the previous two to be tested for antibody production. For more on the Yale Canine Cancer Vaccine Study check out my last blog post or click on the highlighted link.

The second good thing to happen recently is the installation this weekend of Campy’s Wheel.

This is original artwork created by the son of an old radio friend of mine, just for Campy. It is inspired by Campagnolo cycling components, for which Campy is named. It is an incredibly beautiful and thoughtful gift. And a random act of kindness for a very special dog who has been through a lot of tough times and has touched a lot of hearts with his story.

Thank you Don Calkins!

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I Got My Dog Into Yale

Campagnolo had his sixth and final chemotherapy treatment on June 10.

He came through it like a champ, as always. And, as always, he charmed our vet and the entire staff at Cascade Veterinary Clinic.

I had our vet take another set of chest X-rays. Unfortunately, they show an ominous spot on his lung that wasn’t there in the last two X-rays taken in January and March. This is really soul-crushing news. Campy had been doing so well up until now.

We knew lung mets were a likelihood going into all this, but we feel we have given Campy five good months he probably wouldn’t have had otherwise. So, no regrets over anything we have done for him.

Campy is still feeling fine. He is happy, alert, affectionate, has a great appetite, and talks a lot to things outside that we don’t see or hear.

So what’s next? We are moving ahead and got Campy into the Yale Canine Cancer Vaccine trial study.

This is a clinical trial of a new therapeutic vaccine for canine cancers including osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and other related EGFR/HER2 cancers. The hope is to activate the dog’s own white blood cells to produce antibodies to attack growing tumors.

Campy had to wait three weeks after his last chemo treatment to start the vaccine program. He is scheduled to get his first injection on July 8.

It feels kind of like a Hail Mary pass, but we want to try everything we can to save Campy.

On a happier note, Campy celebrated his 5th Birthday on May 23, with Tiger and their friend Eldo. Back in January, when Campy was first diagnosed with osteosarcoma, our first goal was to try to get him to his birthday.

We will work to keep Campy comfortable and happy for however much time he has left. Our next goal is to get him to his Gotcha Day on October 27.

Hug your dog today.

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Saving Campagnolo

It’s been nearly three years since my last Dog Blog post. Here’s the Cliff Notes version of those three years: We bought a house and built a garden on our property that’s bigger than the house.

Thanks to my wonderful husband for doing all the work by hand. It was a very labor-intensive project, digging and sinking the posts in concrete, putting up an 8-foot deer fence around the perimeter, spreading topsoil and various organic amendments, along with a myriad of other things to make this magical garden happen.

The end result has been walking out of our door and into our own personal organic produce section. The snow has melted and we are starting to prepare for Season 3 now.

Our two greyhounds, Tiger and Truman adapted instantly to the new house. They, like us, seem to have felt a true sense of home after four moves in as many years.

We settled into new routines in our new neighborhood and life blissfully went on. Then, around Labor Day of 2019, Truman developed a limp in his right front leg.

Knowing a number of greyhounds and other sighthounds that have succumbed to Osteosarcoma, we were very concerned and took Truman to our local vet right away. Our vet determined the source of Truman’s discomfort to be in his right shoulder. X-rays taken of his shoulder were inconclusive and showed no apparent tumor. Based on that, the thought was that Truman was suffering from a deep tissue injury.

We began treating him with anti-inflammatories, along with massage therapy and acupuncture from a holistic vet here in the Methow Valley. She noticed that the vertebrae in Truman’s neck appeared to be abnormally close in the X-ray and sent it to a radiologist. Again, inconclusive. After two weeks of holistic treatment, Truman showed no improvement. In fact, he was getting markedly worse. Ever-increasing dosages of pain meds were required to keep him comfortable.

I took him back to our regular vet to do another set of X-rays on Oct. 1. This time, those X-rays clearly showed the presence of a large tumor growing in his shoulder. Truman was rapidly declining, each day exponentially so. He was doped up with double doses of Tramadol and Gabapentin. We made the tough decision to say goodbye to Truman on Oct. 4, 2019.

Absolutely heartbreaking, but truly the right thing to do. Five months later, and it is still difficult for me to write about this.

Eric and I were not the only ones devastated by Truman’s death. Tiger became despondent, deeply missing his best friend. Tiger chose Truman to come live with us back in 2012, after meeting several other greyhounds at Greyhound Pets, Inc.

We knew that Tiger, now 10-and-a-half years old, didn’t want to be an only dog and that we needed to get a new friend for him. So in late October, we drove over the mountains to GPI in Woodinville, WA to let Tiger find a new best friend. We met several dogs and narrowed our choice to three. Out of those three, Tiger and Campagnolo hit it off the best.

We brought Campagnolo, Campy for short, home on Oct. 27, 2019. He settled in beautifully. Tiger and Campy bonded instantly. We all fell in love with Campy.

Fall turned into winter and we all enjoyed watching the season change. Campy, like all our other greyhounds, loved playing in the snow. He’s a very energetic 4-year-old dog.

The holidays came and went and we humans started to settle into our winter routines of skiing, fat-biking and snowshoeing.

Then, around New Year’s I noticed some unevenness in Campy’s gait. Within days he developed a pronounced limp. Campy hadn’t even been with us for two months. It hadn’t been three months since we said goodbye to Truman.

We wasted no time getting Campy in for an X-ray. We started seeing a noticeable swelling on his right hind tarsus joint. Our local vet didn’t like what he saw on the X-ray and recommended that we take Campy to a specialty vet clinic in Wenatchee, two hours south of us, where they have more sophisticated digital X-ray machines. So we did, and the higher-quality X-rays revealed the presence of a tumor. We also had Campy’s chest X-rayed as the lungs are the mostly like place for bone cancer to metastasize. The three views taken of Campy’s lungs were clean and showed no metastasis.

With the tumor growing rapidly and Campy in considerable pain, we made the decision to amputate his leg, and follow-up with chemotherapy. The amputation surgery happened on January 21, 2020.

Campy showed remarkable resilience and was up walking hours after coming out of anesthesia. I brought him home a couple of days later.

A biopsy of the tumor confirmed Osteosarcoma. Our vet also had the lymph node in the affected leg biopsied. That showed a fair amount of inflammation, but no cancer. The weeks leading up to and immediately after Campy’s diagnosis and amp surgery were consumed by searching for, reading, and watching everything I could find about canine Osteosarcoma. Vritually everything I could find gave a fairly grim survival prognosis even with amputation, and amputation combined with chemotherapy. They all talked in terms of months, not years.

I also discovered a couple of clinical trials using immunotherapy vaccines to combat the dreaded Osteosarcoma. I’ve been in touch with a study out of Yale and was able to get Campy enrolled in the Yale Canine Cancer Vaccine Program, which we will do once Campy finishes his chemo.

Our immediate goal is for Campy to see his 5th birthday on May 23. Campy is on a regimen of Carboplatin treatments every three weeks. He had his third treatment on Thursday, so he is now at the halfway point. I had follow-up X-rays taken of his lungs and abdomen. Our vet at the Cascade Veterinary Clinic thought they looked clean. The radiologist who looked at them also said there is no sign of metastasis in either Campy’s lungs or abdomen. So for the first time since going down this carcinogenic rabbit hole with Campy, I am allowing myself to feel somewhat optimistic about his chances.

Part of me feels that the reason I am throwing everything I can think of to fight this with Campy is that I am compensating for losing Truman so rapidly. Is Campy’s resilience and ability to handle the amputation and chemo so well due to his young age? Campy is only 4 vs Truman being over 10. Also, the location of Campy’s tumor, relatively isolated on his lower hind leg made the decision to amputate easier. With Truman’s tumor in his shoulder, I am not sure if amputation would have even been an option for him.

Campy’s surgery and ongoing chemo treatments are all quite expensive. So prior to the current Coronavirus pandemic restrictions, I had already committed to zero travel in 2020. In a way, Campy is saving us. My deepest hope is that we may return the favor to our wonderful boy.

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