Pet Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated every May, when vets, scientists, pet owners and more shed light even more on the tragic number of cancer-related deaths that happen to our pets each year in the US and worldwide. The statistics on cancer in dogs are startling– an estimated 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States.
Best Bully Sticks reached out to a wonderful non-profit in Richmond, VA, FETCH a Cure, to find out how this local organization is helping the fight against canine cancer. We spoke with Rosemary Seltzer, Companions in Crisis Coordinator at FETCH a Cure, to learn more about their programs and hear an AMAZING success story or two.
BBS: How did FETCH a Cure come about and how do you help pet owners whose dogs have been diagnosed with cancer?
Rosemary: “FETCH a Cure is a from-the-heart grass-roots organization founded and run by pet owners who faced cancer and aging issues in their own pets. Our mission is to ‘improve quality of life by connecting people and pets through accessible, compassionate treatment and education.’ FETCH a Cure’s Companions in Crisis (CiC) program offers financial assistance to pet owners who cannot afford cancer care and treatments for their beloved pets. In order to be considered for approval, all applicants must be Virginia residents and the pet must have a confirmed diagnosis of cancer. If approved by the medical advisory board, FETCH a Cure will generally pay somewhere between twenty and forty percent of the total treatment cost. The pet owner is expected to pay the remainder. FETCH a Cure requires that all CiC recipients volunteer for FETCH a Cure for 10 hours a month for one year from the time that funds are awarded.
BBS: Can you tell us one of your recent Companions in Crisis (CiC) success stories?
Rosemary: “Yes, a recent Companions in Crisis recipient is a four-year old mixed breed named Kudjoe. He weighs a whopping 125 pounds and is thought to be part Lab, part Chow and part Great Dane. His owner, Jennifer, said that despite his huge size, Kudjoe is really a gentle giant and somehow manages to capture the heart of everyone around him, even people that don’t claim to be dog lovers, like her dad. Kudjoe is always by her side and senses when she is sad or is not feeling well.
At Christmas, Jennifer and her family noticed that Kudjoe’s appetite was off. He seemed to be drinking excessively and did not want to play. Jennifer took him to the vet to make sure everything was okay, but unfortunately, it was not. He was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma and cancer was found in his spleen. He had his spleen removed and developed a kidney infection a week later. He had his first treatment of chemotherapy in January.
The estimate for Kudjoe’s treatment was very expensive. Fortunately, FETCH a Cure was able to assist Jennifer and Kudjoe and paid half of the total treatment cost. Jennifer just wrote to tell me that Kudjoe is doing fabulous and is currently in remission. ‘Kudjoe and I are doing WONDERFULLY! He is a chemo champion! All of his lab results show that he is healthy as can be! He has three more chemo treatments and then will just be in for monthly check-ups. He is 100% back to his normal self and we both couldn’t be happier! I am so thankful to FETCH a Cure for giving me this time with my angel. I am hoping and praying for much more time to come as he is in remission! Fetch saved his life! Thank you doesn’t even begin to cut it!’”
Best Bully Sticks thanks Rosemary and the other staff at FETCH a Cure for sharing their story! To learn more about FETCH a Cure, see their website at www.fetchacure.org and Fetch a Cure Facebook page.
Through scientific studies and organizations like FETCH a Cure, we hope to combat pet cancer mortality rates in coming years!