River is our American Staffordshire Terrier we adopted in August 2018. She has been the most amazing dog, she has the sweetest temperament, and everyone who meets her has fallen in love with her. In March 2021, she started vomiting. After a day, we rushed her straight to our vet. From there, they discovered her liver was enlarged, and her liver levels were very elevated. We took her to an emergency vet two days later for an MRI, as we were unable to get an appointment anywhere without waiting over a month to do so due to Covid backups. That MRI showed a very large mass on her liver, and we were reffered to Oncology. Thanks to a referral from our vet, we were able to get River an appointment within two weeks instead of waiting two months, again due to Covid backups and delays. On April 14, 2021, what we had been dreading was confirmed that River had liver cancer.

The only option to save her life was with a liver lobectomy surgery to remove the cancerous tumor and part of her liver. Her mass was so large for only showing symptoms 3 weeks earlier. They couldn’t tell us how much time she would have without it as it could have ruptured at any time. Our only option was surgery, and it was estimated to cost $6,000-$8,000. We had just spent a little over $3,000 to get her diagnosis, and after covid and health issues the year before, we did not know how we could afford to save her life. We never considered not getting the surgery. We just didn’t know how we could do it. We put her on the schedule two weeks after her oncology visit and were determined to figure it out. Even with what ended up being a 6lb tumor on her liver, she was running around carefree right up until the day of her surgery. She was so full of life and never knew how sick she was.

I came across the ZOF on Instagram and applied. They were so helpful throughout the entire process. Thanks to the Zeus Oncology Fund, River got her surgery. It has been one week since her surgery, and while she has one more week of limiting activity she is wanting to play and doing so much better. She has been given years of her life back. The margins from her biopsy showed no cancer cells along the edges where her tumor was removed. We couldn’t have asked for better news. She will need no more treatment at this time and will be closely monitored for the next year. If that goes well, the appointments will become further apart.

My husband, myself, and our three small kids now have years more with our best friend.  We are so grateful to Melissa and the entire ZOF team for helping us during such a scary and uncertain time. Without their help, we might not have been able to save River, and we are forever grateful that we were.