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Hearthrob Goldens

Hyline Hearthrob's Exclusive

10/03/98 - 08/23/05


   Webster lost his battle with Hemangiosarcoma exactly one year after having his spleen removed.  He gave us his all in that last year and we couldn't begin to imagine what our lives for the past 6 1/2 years would have been like without him.  He brought joy to many peoples lives and we were happy to have shared him with all.  Now we have our research to share that we found about this cancer and how we were able to buy another year for Webster.
   He gave both of us an extraordinary way of being able to say good bye to us in his own way.  Cheryl drove all night after being loaned a car by a new dear friend to be here with him for those last days - it was worth every minute.  He gave Kevin the strength to endure until Cheryl could get home. 
   Our home is much quieter without him.  But his presence can be felt many different ways.  He blessed us in so many ways that there would not be any way we could begin to tell you about them all.  We desperately miss this boy and try daily to move on as we know he would have wanted us to.

Webster enjoying the snow - Jan 2003


Our 2004 Christmas Dog!!!

Webster has a story to share - and the editor of asked us to write it for him and to share our own experiences.  So we did and here is his story to share so others can realize that there is always hope!  Having a Golden is all about love - our love to them but more important their love to us.  We are sharing this story so maybe as you read it it will give you hope for some difficult situation you may be facing.

It's hard work being the Christmas Dog!









Webster=s Story


A lesson in loving life


Webster had been having a wonderful year - he and his best friend had been enjoying themselves in the Juniors ring (they accomplished several Bests).  He adores Brittany and gave her his all every time they walked through that ring gate.  After Brittany was injured when a horse fell on her leg, he kept an eye on her and adjusted everything he did to make it easier on her.  Never did he push her beyond her means.  Then late summer after we had all done a four-day show, Brittany came home with us for the week (which gave Webster more time to keep an eye on her) and then we all headed off for another four-day show.

The two of them had developed some really good teamwork, and it showed.  He gave her his all every day at the shows.  On the last day of that second weekend Webster seemed to become very tired.  We noticed that every time we tried to get him out of his crate, he was becoming more and more reluctant.  We all thought he was just tired from such a big change in his normal routine with the two long weekends and company in between.  Even though he had to be coaxed out to go show, it didn=t stop him - again he gave his all and they were in the ribbons.

It wasn=t until the next morning that I realized it was something much more serious.  He was having trouble keeping down water, was struggling with urination (and it was very concentrated), and was very lethargic - however he wasn=t running a fever but his gums had become very white.  I called Dr B, and as is true with a >Monday=, I left him a voice mail.  While I waited I checked Webster=s belly, it felt stiff which made me realize it was more serious than I originally wanted to admit.  So after waiting about 2 hour, I called Dr B back - we spoke and decided I would have to leave him there for the morning.  You see, Dr B was only scheduled to be there until noon, he had other appointments that afternoon and he was booked solid that morning.  This was a hard thing for me to do since I never leave my dogs for any reason.

Off to work I went to begin the waiting game.  There is nothing more stressful than thinking the worst, but hoping for the best and then waiting for a phone call to tell you which it is.  The call finally came (not until noon), Dr B tells me that he was bleeding internally and he could see a growth on his spleen.  The local radiologist just happened to be scheduled to come into the office that afternoon, but they would try to get him in there earlier to see Webster.  They wanted an expert do a more extensive ultrasound on him to look for other internal changes so we could make a little more educated decision on how to proceed.

The next phone call came about an hour later.  The spleen was the only place that Webster had any growths that they could find.  It was decided that his spleen would have to come out in order to stop the bleeding.  Dr B is one of the best surgeons around, but he was supposed to have already left for the day.  He is just the best vet anyone could have - he cancelled all his appointments for the afternoon in order to take care of my boy.  I=ll bet you are wondering why we did the surgery - growths don=t always mean cancer and I can usually be optimistic when it comes to my 4-legged kids.

Surgery went well, one of the grape size growths had ruptured and was bleeding.  When I got this report I was also told I would have to come pick up Webster before they close at 5:00 and then he would have to go spend the night at the emergency clinic.  In other words, he wasn=t out of the woods yet.  So I picked him up, but we had almost an hour before the e-clinic opened, and it was only 20 minutes away.  I decided we needed a little quality time, so off to the park we went.  It was quiet, I was able to get in the middle of the van where I could lay in the floor with him and give him some much needed love.  Now for the tough part again, leave Webster at the e-clinic for the night.  At least the staff appeared to be sincere and he didn=t seem to be concerned, besides he needed to get some rest.  I delayed leaving as long as I could, but did get out of their hair with the promise to call later.

Tuesday morning was no better - off to pick up Webster from the e-clinic and back to Dr B=s office to be observed for the day.  We had to wait for his blood counts to come back up and he has to be able to keep down water and a little food.  So they=ve got to love me there, I insisted on staying with him and got comfortable in the floor with him (I know Webster was very happy about this).  Dr B was ok with this (he really is a wonderful vet), in fact he brought me some extra blankets to use for a pillow and such.  And by mid-afternoon we were homeward bound!

Now we spent a lot of time loving on our boy while we waited for the biopsy results.  Finally, on Friday we received the results.  I held my breath while Dr B told me the results - hemangiosarcoma.  My heart sank and I had to hang up so I could collect myself.  I had a bunch of questions but needed some time before I could ask them.  When I called Dr B back first thing he said was that he had a call into an oncologist and was waiting for him to call back.  I started asking questions such as: What exactly does this mean (how=s this for specific)?  How can this happen to a healthy dog that wasn=t even 6 years old yet?  How long do we have?  Is there anything I can do to help him?  Dr B started answering some questions - it=s a cancer that is in the blood stream now, which meant that just because we removed his spleen we weren=t able to stop it's progression.  However, the good news was that it hadn=t spread as of yet (believe me, he was interrogated about if he had checked every where while inside).  As for his age, cancer knows no age limits.  This was something we couldn=t have prevented - it wasn=t our fault.  As for the rest of the questions he wanted to talk with the oncologist to get as many facts as possible, at which time he would call me back.

Dr B called me back with more information.  First there was chemotherapy (my immediate reaction was >that isn=t an option=, but I needed to hear it all) - this kind of cancer does not respond well to chemotherapy.  So then I asked if there was any kind of commercial cancer-starving diet available?  He said there was a new one out by one manufacturer - but when he brought it up to the oncologist, the oncologist said he hadn=t seen any benefit from the use of this food.  He said to make sure that I was feeding a good quality food (which I researched years ago and felt comfortable that I was feeding one of the better ones - Wellness) and to supplement with Vitamins C and E (which I had already started just in case it was needed).  He also said we probably only had about 3-4 months (this crushed us).

I wasted no time in beginning my research online - after all, there had to be something out there I could do for my boy.  I read, or tried to read, most of the prognosis= I could find online.  There wasn=t a single one out there that was any more encouraging than what the oncologist told us.  By this time I could feel a major headache coming on and my brain was swimming.  So now it was time to change the angle of my research.  I started looking into what kind of natural supplements were people taking to help them in their fight with cancer.  Then evaluate what most of the supplements were supposed to accomplish and determine which ones I felt could help without hurting.  I also checked out some websites for holistic vets and what they would recommend.  Did you know there isn=t a holistic vet that would be willing to just talk to you without charging an arm and/or a leg (didn't mind an office visit, but $150+ was out of line).  But I was able to find a few sites that offered some suggestions for supplements to use for cancer.  The only good part was that most of the supplements were the same ones I had picked.

But I realized that supplements weren=t going to be the whole package.  I kept coming back to the nutrition factor.  I felt confident I was already feeding one of the best foods I could.  But I also know that cancer thrives on carbohydrates, and there is just something about feeding a >dry= food (sounds like total carbs to me).  So more research I did, I wanted to find a home-made cancer-starving diet.  But I also needed one that wasn=t going to control my life, it couldn=t take all day every day to make (after all, I only have so many spare hours in a day after work).  I found several out there, some claim that their dog lived for many years on their diet (maybe true, maybe not).  I tried to evaluate all the foods, and created one that would work in my schedule and truly hope that it helps my boy.  I started cooking this diet and incorporated it into his meals combined with the Wellness food I was currently feeding (didn=t want to cut out all the Wellness in case something happened that I couldn=t cook).  I also found that with humans and dogs, it was recommended to use only spring water and never tap - which we did for all our dogs (community bowl).  I also wanted to increase his food intake in an attempt to get him back up to the weight he was before surgery (he had lost about 8 pounds in 24-36 hours).  In fact, if I could put a few extra pounds on him it would be that much better.

But I still wasn=t done, I needed to find out if the supplements I had chosen were right and how much do I really want to be giving him of each one.  So the big question was how to find these answers.  I found an online group that was all about cancer in dogs (like WorkGold is about Goldens).  I submitted a letter to the moderator telling why I wanted to join their group and that I was looking for a support system to help me through this.  I never did hear back from them, so what next.  I tried to find a holistic vet locally, preferable one with experience in treating/dealing with cancer.  I went to my animal chiropractor for a referral, but she didn=t really know of anyone locally with that experience.  I turned to a friend that lived several hours away that use a holistic vet there to see if they could get a referral from her.  I was given the name of someone who was to be very good in this field.  He must have been good since he was gone about 3 days a week lecturing, and then I found out how much he would charge and what his protocol was for cancer patients - I kept looking.  Now don=t get me wrong, I=m not saying that money is everything, but if the treatment would require me to get another job then it wouldn=t help since I=d be away even more from my boy.  Then I found out that some other friends of mine use a holistic vet/chiropractor and she travels down this direction where it would only take me an hour to visit her - so we made an appointment.

About 4 weeks after surgery we met with Dr L, who was a wonderfully kind holistic vet.  I brought along the diary of everything I had been keeping and a copy of the pathology report.  She thought he looked great!  She read all the paperwork and seemed impressed with the steps I had taken so far.  She was able to advise me on the amount of each supplement to work him up to and told me two more to add to our regimen.  She liked what I was doing with his diet and made one suggestion to help.  Her only concern with him at that time was the brown recluse bite he had received about 2 weeks prior (as if he hadn=t been through enough already).  So she had a photon treatment done to help stimulate growth of new cells (this treatment was performed by a person trained in this and also owns the farms where Dr L comes to see her clients in this area).  I do think it may have helped, but there is so little you can do to help a bite like this - he still has a divot in his back (that is about 1 1/2" x 1") from the bite and never did grow any hair there.

We do everything in our power to keep his stress level down (cancer will feed on this as well).  As a result, Webster has become an extremely spoiled young man and is loving life.  He=s amazing, he is playing more now than he has in years!  We never stop worrying about him - we are even more aware of everything about him.  We want him to be with us for a long time and as healthy as we can keep him.  After all, quality of life is much more important than quantity.  He had the opportunity to visit and show with Brittany (at a specialty) about 3 months after surgery - he had a blast!  We count every day with him as a blessing - the 23rd of April will be 8 months and he seems to be going strong!


Written from love for Webster by,

His Mom (Cheryl)

And Expertly loved by,

His Dad (Kevin)

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