Treatment – Surgery with amputation, and chemotherapy

We adopted Ranger from Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue in 2011.  He quickly became part of the family and enjoyed excellent health for the next eight years until late summer 2019, when he developed a persistent limp in his left hind leg.  Ranger’s a big dog so it was easy to dismiss this as hip dysplasia or a torn ACL for which large breeds are notorious.  Unfortunately, when the orthopedic surgeon called during Ranger’s ACL surgery to relay a concern about a lytic lesion in that leg, we knew he had bigger problems.  Biopsies and CAT scans later confirmed osteosarcoma. 

Ranger really had only one treatment option that would give him the best chance of extending his life:  amputate the affected limb and follow with 4-6 rounds of chemotherapy. 

Over the next several days, we agonized over whether or not we could put Ranger through this…and…yes…the cost of his care was weighing on us.  Between the exams at Ranger’s primary care vet and the more sophisticated diagnostic work from the specialists, we had already spent nearly $3000.  My husband and I are both retired military and living on our pensions, so this stung…and we faced another $5000-$6000 for Ranger’s surgery and chemo sessions. 

We eventually consented to Ranger’s amputation surgery and got it on the schedule.  A day or so later, I was on my computer, cleaning up emails when I noticed the DLRR newsletter.  I have enjoyed these bulletins for years, but I was so used to them that I normally just scan the headlines and then delete them.  For some reason, I slowed down this time and read the entire newsletter, including the link to the Zeus Oncology Fund toward the end.  I didn’t think we had much chance of qualifying for any help from the ZOF, and Ranger’s surgery was a few days away, but I took a shot and sent a quick note to the link on their website. 

Obviously, the fact that Ranger now has a profile on the ZOF website gives away the happy ending.  Ranger is doing great now, back to the daily walks and backyard swims that he loves.

There is a special place in Heaven for people like Melissa, her husband, and everyone on the ZOF team who gives pet parents a real chance to save their animals who are caught in life-or-death crises.  For those of you who read all of Ranger’s story and got this far – calculate your monthly Starbucks expenditures and consider donating HALF of that to the ZOF.  😊 

–Leslie & Frank T., –2020