Rusty’s Cancer Chronicles

(Revised and updated May 18th, 2010)

Rusty is an F1-B Labradoodle, born July 30th, 2008

Rusty’s mother was a white medium size multi-gen Australian Labradoodle and his father was red miniature Poodle. We choose the F1-B because of my severe allergies to animal dander and this is our first dog in many years. We also wanted a medium size Labradoodle to
make it easier for us to handle him. His
color was very red when he was born, hence the name Rusty, but is now a light

Because of our many dog owner/lover friends I began sending out random emails to keep them informed as to Rusty’s status. Rusty’s cancer had
such an impact on us that I decided to post some of my emails on DoodleKisses
to see if anyone else had a Doodle that was dealing with cancer. My chronicle also turned into a therapeutic outlet
for me and was a help for both of us from all the support we received from the DoodleKisses
members. I have since added two more
support sites that I am sharing Rusty’s story with.

Chuck Holliman, Rusty’s Dad

Friday, January 16th

Rusty has had a small bulge on the inside thigh of his left leg for several months, which our Vet thought was probably a muscle tear or a hernia. Around Thanksgiving it started slowly
growing and we took him to Dr. Godfry in early December; she did a needle
biopsy and ultrasound which were
inconclusive and said let’s check it in a month. The growth has become
much larger over the past month, and is now the size of a small orange; she did
another biopsy & X-Ray this week. Dr. Godfry called last night and said
that the results came back 50-50 that the growth is a tumor and is malignant
but the lab needs a larger biopsy to be certain. Dr. Godfry seemed
hesitant to perform the more extensive procedure and scheduled an appointment
with an Orthopedic Surgeon for 8:30 Monday morning for the biopsy. Dr.
Godfry said she did not consider cancer as a possibility until the biopsy came
back, as it is extremely rare for a dog to develop cancer before they are two
years old.

The bad news hit us like a ton of bricks Thursday night; it just seems so unfair that this could happen to him at such an early age. We are doing a little better tonight but still
have our tearful moments with him and holding our breath until next week’s
results come back. It may be our imagination but Rusty seems to sense
something, maybe our concern for him, as he doesn’t let us out of his sight.

We had him groomed today, back to a summer cut; we were really enjoying his shaggy looks but that requires daily brushing and if he has surgery, it will probably be a while
after surgery before he can be groomed.

Monday, January 18th

Rusty was introduced to his new Vet, Dr. Douglas Huber, who is an Oncologist Orthopedic Surgeon, this morning and we are very pleased with Dr. Huber; he spent an hour reviewing and
examining Rusty before admitting him for a Tru-Cut biopsy procedure. When
we picked Rusty up this afternoon, he spent another 30 minutes with us as to
his observations from the biopsy and a discussion of the next steps in Rusty’s
treatment. Unfortunately, Dr. Huber is almost certain that the tumor is cancer;
he sent the biopsies to Colorado State University which he said has the best
animal cancer labs and pathologists in the nation.

He is hoping to have the results back Wednesday evening; if the results are malignant, Rusty will go back for X-Rays on Thursday to see if the cancer has spread to his chest cavity
or other internal organs. If it has spread internally, that could be the
end of the road for treatment. We are hoping and praying for the best possible
outcome and that it has not spread into his body; everyone in the Dr.’s office
said what a sweet and friendly dog he is, which all of us know that he is.

Thursday, January 21st

We talked to Dr. Huber this morning and the news is not good. Rusty has a fast growing sarcoma form of cancer, but he will not know the type of cancer until he receives a more
comprehensive report from the lab later today or tomorrow. He again said
that it is very unusual for a dog of Rusty’s age to have such an aggressive
form of cancer. We will take Rusty in at 1PM today for X-Rays to see if
it has spread into his chest or internal organs. If the X-Rays are clear,
we will take him to an imaging center in San Diego tomorrow for CT scans and
Ultrasounds views, as the cancer could just be starting in his body and not
show up on the X-Rays. The CT scan will give Dr. Huber a three dimensional
picture of the tumor and Rusty’s leg so that he plan the surgery for next week.
Dr. Huber said that Radiation or Chemo treatments alone would not be able to
stop this type of cancer; if there is any chance for Rusty, it is through
surgery to remove his leg and Chemo therapy.

We just returned from the Vet and Rusty is sleeping as they sedated him for the X-Rays. The X-Rays were all normal and his blood work is normal which is step one. Jan asked Dr.
Huber when he would do surgery and he said let’s wait until we get the results
of tomorrow’s CT scan & Ultrasounds, as the cancer could still be there but
not showing on a X-Ray. He did say that if Rusty is clean after tomorrow’s
tests he would amputate his leg Tuesday morning. We are off to San Diego
tomorrow for the tests which will take five hours; we hope the rain has
subsided by then.

Dr. Huber called this evening and with the pathology report and the cancer is a Fibrosarcoma (soft tissue) level three which is the most aggressive and there is a 50% chance that it has metastasized
to other parts of his body. Dr. Huber said that if everything goes well
with the surgery and Chemo treatments, Rusty should have one to three years of
quality life or possibly longer; unfortunately, he could also have less than a

Saturday, January 23rd

We had a long, tiring but productive trip to San Diego yesterday; we drove through snow, hail and rain so heavy that freeway speeds were 40 MPH (which is quite unusual for Southern
California). Fortunately, there were no accidents and most drivers were
slowing down with the weather conditions. Because of the weather, Veterinary
Imaging Center of San Diego moved us into priority status and processed Rusty
quicker than their original time estimate, so that we could avoid the rush hour
traffic on our way home. The weather was the same for our return trip
other than no snow; Rusty was sedated for the scans and images and slept all
the way home which was good.

The imaging center performed CT Scans of his whole body, chest and left thigh region and Ultrasounds of his abdomen and heart. All of the scans were clear and showed no signs that the
cancer has spread into his internal organs. There are a couple of Lymph
Nodes in his stomach that were enlarged but they don’t think it is from the
cancer. The CT Scans of the thigh showed that the tumor is touching the
pelvic region and is very close to crucial areas of his anus and penis; the
Radiologist is also a Vet and said that Dr. Huber would have a real challenge
in making sure that he gets the entire tumor when he removes Rusty’s leg.
The Vet also cautioned us that a recurrence is highly probable because of the
aggressive form of cancer and Rusty’s age, confirming what Dr. Huber had told
us when he reviewed Rusty’s treatment options.

Because Rusty is so healthy otherwise, which we hope will allow him to fight any recurrence of the cancer along with Chemo therapy, we feel it is worth the risk of surgery to give him
the extra time. I don’t think we are being selfish in our desire to
extend his life; if he was going to suffer any pain or have a lower quality of
life we would not perform the surgery. We are up against the clock in
making our decision as the tumor has grown significantly in the past five days
and will spread internally very quickly if it is not removed.

Dr. Huber called us last night and again discussed our options. In his preliminary review of the scans he feels confident that he can remove 100% of the tumor, which may also require
removing a portion of the Pelvic region. The imaging center had
transmitted the digital images to Dr. Huber and he has a program on his
computer that allows him to construct a 3-D model of Rusty’s leg from the 2
dimensional scans. He is working on the model this weekend to plan his
surgical procedures; we will take Rusty in at 7:30 AM Monday morning as Dr.
Huber wants to perform the surgery ASAP. He will again assess the
probabilities that he can remove 100% of the tumor after evaluation of the
model of Rusty’s leg. If we are all in agreement, he will then perform
the surgery.

Monday, January 25th

It has been a very long day! We took Rusty in at 7:30AM this morning and Dr. Huber. just called at 8:30 PM. The Dr. had hoped that Rusty would be prepped and the surgery
would begin around 11:00 AM, but he called us at 1:30 PM and they were just
getting started. After seeing the tumor’s growth since last Thursday’s
visit, he spent more time adjusting his plan of attack and getting the surgical
team prepared. Rusty was in recovery when he called and he said that he
was doing fine. Dr. Huber said that the surgery went as planned, without
any major problems or bleeding and he was able to remove the tumor and leg
intact; it will be sent to the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center
for analysis. The Dr. felt very comfortable that he was able to remove a
safe margin of non-tumor flesh for 95% of the area; the 5% where he had to take
less was in the area of the penis and he could not take any more without
causing damage to the area. When he gets the reports back from CSU, we
will know if he was successful in completely removing the tumor. It will
probably be Wednesday before we can bring him home and it is doubtful that we
will be able to visit him tomorrow as they are concerned that he would get over
excited on seeing us. We are preparing our spare guest room for
Rusty as he has to be kept quiet and closely monitored for 14 days after he
comes home.

Dr. Huber. is spending the night with Rusty! He has an inflatable air bed and will put that in the recovery room to sleep on so
that he can monitor Rusty.

The complete leg and tumor were sent to Colorado State University to make sure Dr. Huber removed the entire tumor and perform additional analysis as to the type of tumor. The
results will probably be back early next week and Dr. Huber said that we will
have to take an aggressive Chemotherapy program to knock it out.

Tuesday, January 26th

Dr. Huber called and Rusty is doing so well he wants us to bring him home this afternoon! He said that Rusty had recovered from the surgery much quicker than expected, probably
because he is so young (18 months this Saturday) and he thinks it would be
better for him to be home in familiar surroundings tonight rather than spending
another night in the hospital. He has bandages, a drain tube, etc. that
we will need to monitor but we want him home too. Now we just have to
keep our fingers crossed for a clean report from CSU, which will probably come
Friday at the earliest.

When we picked up Rusty, Dr. Huber showed us the before and after surgery X-Rays and reviewed the extent of his surgery procedures. In addition to amputating Rusty’s leg, he removed
a portion of his Pelvic bone. The before X-Rays depicted how much more
the tumor had grown since he X-Rayed it last Thursday. The Dr. said that
in another few days it would have been impossible to remove the entire tumor
without impacting vital organs, which would precluded him from doing
surgery. They shaved Rusty’s entire hind quarters for the surgery and
with the summer cut we gave him before the surgery; he certainly does not look
like the same guy as his before surgery photos. Dr. Huber used the leg’s
skin to cover the area where the leg was removed and when the hair grows out
there should not be any noticeable scar line.
Right now there is a huge incision line from the front of his abdomen to
his anus; the bandages will come off by the end of the week.

Wednesday, January 27th

Rusty’s first night home went very well; obviously he was exhausted and happy to be home. He slept most of the night and was not too active; the challenge will come when he is rested
and wants to be more active. We have to keep him from running, jumping or
playing with Oliver, his cat brother, for the next 14 days or until the sutures
are removed. He has one pain med that is given once a day and another
that is given every 6 to 8 hours, depending on if he is showing signs of pain
and an anti-biotic pill that he takes every 8 hours. He also has a vacuum
bottle connected to the drain line in the incision which has to be emptied and
measured every 8 hours. We were up at 1 and 3 AM to give him meds and
empty the bottle and again at 6 AM, which we are normally up anyway, for his
anti-biotic. We have a couch and recliner in the room which allows us to
stay with him. We purchased an orthopedic bed for Rusty and he really
appreciates the comfort it provides. He
is confused and bewildered, but is still the same sweet and lovable boy he has
always been. Oliver realizes that something is different with Rusty and
wants to spend time with him; however we are keeping him out of the recovery

Rusty is to get several small meals a day and so far readily eats everything put in front of him. He is also drinking a lot of water and piddling regularly. I lowered his potty
box (we don’t have grass in our yard) which enables him to walk in and out of
it. Dr. Huber provided us with a sling that goes under his mid-section to help
him keep his balance when we take him outside for his business. We are
keeping him confined to our spare guest room where we put down an area rug on
the tile floor and he is able to get around fairly well on three legs.
When he gets off the rug on the tile, he has more difficulty keeping his leg
from slipping and maintaining his balance. We are looking at putting down
additional area rugs or the self stick carpet tiles in the halls as our house has
100% polished tile floors. That will provide him with more stability when
he is released from his recovery room.

Friday, January 29th

Rusty went to see Dr. Huber today for his first follow-up visit; Dr. Huber was pleased with the healing process and removed the dressings to allow air to reach the sutures. We are still in the recovery room 24/7,
although Jan moved to her recliner in the family room, which is right outside
the door, and that allowed me to move to the couch from the recliner. I am now able to keep one hand down next to
Rusty so that he knows we are close by; Jan sets the timer for the next dosage
time and prepares the food for Rusty to take his medicine with. We are getting a little more sleep, but
nothing close to normal. Rusty has some
pain, but only a couple of instances where he really cried out; once was when I
put the sling under him, so I may have pinched the surgical area.

Monday, February 1st

Rusty returned to Dr. Huber this morning for his 2nd follow-up. The Dr. said that everything is healing as expected and he removed the drain tube, which should
make Rusty a little more comfortable as he doesn’t have to wear the surgical
sweater & vacuum bottle. Rusty’s next appointment is Sunday afternoon
when Dr. Huber will remove his sutures; this week is going to be a challenge
for us as the sutures are beginning to heal & pull and Rusty wants to get
to them, which is a big NO NO. We purchased a larger Elizabethan soft
collar for Rusty as he could reach an area near his anus with the smaller hard
collar he came home with. The surgery
area is already showing improvement in appearance and he has a little “peach
fuzz” hair growth coming in. Rusty was very appreciative of his outing,
even going to the Vet where he loves everyone. Dr. Huber said that he
could start having visits from his non-doggy friends beginning Wednesday.

We talked to the Dr. this evening and he had just received the pathology results from Colorado State University; the report said that the tumor has “clean edges” which means Dr.
Huber removed the entire tumor and a margin of clean tissue around it.
Dr. Huber cautioned us that although he is pleased with the report, it is not a
guarantee that he removed 100% of the tumor as something could always be
hidden. If the report had come back with “dirty edges” that would have
required additional surgery or radiation. The report also indicated that
with the larger tissue sample, some portions of the Sarcoma could possibly be a
level 2 rather the original level 3. Dr. Huber said that while level 2
was less aggressive than level 3, it is still a very aggressive form of cancer,
especially in a dog of Rusty’s age. The report did not change his
prognosis on the cancer returning in the next 1 to 3 years. After Dr.
Huber removes the sutures on Sunday, we will spend an hour with Dr. Macy, who
is an Oncologist and will begin Rusty’s Chemotherapy treatment at that time.

Rusty is learning to get up and down much easier now and even sat on his haunch for the first time tonight; his balance on three legs has also improved. He has to remain on a leash
to keep him from trying to run or jump for another two weeks. Rusty’s
appetite has returned and every day he is acting more like his old self, which
is amazing as it one week ago today that he had surgery. We purchased some cute dog shirts and a
sweater to keep him warm; the temps in the desert drop during the night because
of the clear skies, and with almost half of his body shaved, we were concerned
he might catch cold.

Monday, February 8th

Rusty saw Dr. Huber yesterday and had his sutures removed, for which he was very appreciative; Dr. Huber said that his recovery was going very well and he did not see anything for us to
worry about from the surgery. We then met Dr. Macy, the Oncologist, who
is also very nice; he came in and said my name is Dennis and sat down on the
floor with Rusty. Dr. Macy discussed the various Chemotherapy options
that are available for treating Rusty (they are all the same drugs as used on
humans, nothing has been developed for canines) and the two specific drugs he
felt were the best for Rusty considering the type of cancer, the aggressiveness
of it and Rusty’s age. We accepted his recommendations and he gave Rusty
his first intravenous treatment of Vinblastine, which he will receive the first
of each month for six months. He also
takes two capsules of Lomustine orally two weeks after his IV treatment. We have to wear gloves when handling the
Lomustine capsules, picking up his potty and not let him lick us or the cat for
24 hours after taking the medication.
They also gave him an injection of Maropitant Citrate for nausea with
the IV and four days of 16mg tablets to take at home. They are keeping Rusty on the Meloxicam
(Metacam) which is a NSAID and helps with the pain; he has been on Metacam
since the amputation. Dr. Macy also says
that it has some benefits in helping Rusty deal with his Chemo treatments. They
will monitor Rusty’s blood counts, liver functions along with additional scans
and X-Rays to make sure the cancer has not returned.

Dr. Macy hopes that this treatment plan can delay the recurrence of the cancer in Rusty. Rusty slept for 12 hours last night after the treatment, but so far has not suffered
any nausea or vomiting which are the most severe of the side effects of the
drug. They did give him an injection to prevent these side effects and he
has oral medication for the next four days to counter them. His appetite
was good this morning and he is motoring around the house very comfortably,
again very appreciative to no longer be confined to the recovery room; he
hopped up on the couch in my office (with a little difficulty, but surprised
both of us) where he is now fast asleep. Jan and I are back in our
bedroom and our wonderful bed after sleeping on the couch and recliner in the
recovery room the past two weeks.

Thursday, March 4th

Rusty went to Dr. Macy today for his second IV dose of Vinblastine; they also did a comprehensive blood workup and everything was completely normal.
He received the usual anti nausea injection and pills. His reaction was pretty much the same as his
first treatment, maybe a touch more diarrhea.
Rusty has been handling his Chemo treatments fairly well; not much
nausea but some diarrhea issues; Dr. Macy had us adjust his diet, which is all
healthy foods (primarily EVO brand canned and dry), along with ground beef,
brown rice & beef broth, and add Fibercon & probiotic supplements to
his intake. This has reduced his
diarrhea episodes to only occasionally.

Thursday, March 25th

Our lives have returned to some normalcy over the past few weeks; we are adjusting to Rusty’s treatment schedule and needs while catching up on all of the things that we pushed off the first four weeks of
Rusty’s ordeal. Rusty continues to improve
daily and amazes everyone how well he gets along on three legs. I found an online support group,,
whose members have either been or going through what we are dealing with. I have been posting pictures of Rusty and
blogs on DoodleKisses and Rusty has a lot of fans and supporters on that

After the February 7th visit and suture removal, Rusty has been able to move around the house more comfortably; to give him some exercise we began with short walks and are now up to ½ to ¾ mile daily
walks. Rusty will let us know when he is getting tired and wants to return
home. I am trying to do some jogging
with him as it seems to be easier for him to run than hop, however at 71 I need
to work on my conditioning.

After seeing him slipping on our polished tile floors we decided to put down indoor/outdoor carpeting in our hallways, master bath and family room. We also added three area
rugs to our master bedroom, which Jan was wanting anyway, which allows Rusty
pretty much solid footing throughout the house.
We purchased the “Ruff Wear” harness w/lifting handle that was
recommended on the Tripawds website which facilitates getting him in and out of
our SUV. We also purchased elevated
feeding bowls which seems to help him in eating. His appetite is generally pretty good,
although it suffers after the twice monthly Chemo treatments; he usually does
not eat for a day or two after the treatment.
Occasionally we have been giving him a special treat of going through
the “In & Out Burger” drive through where he gets a plain meat patty. Dr. Macy sort of frowns at us but it is so
special for Rusty that we will continue with it; as soon as we pull into the drive
through line Rusty gets so excited he can hardly contain himself.

Rusty was looking longingly at our bed, which he used to be able to jump up on, and after looking at what was available online, I designed a set of stairs that allows him access to our bed. Because of our bed’s height, 30 inches, I
added sideboards to prevent him from falling off the steps and a side exit
which allowed for a shorter length and fits bedside the bed. I stained it to match our bedroom furniture
and Jan had me add carpeting from our left over scraps. It only took Rusty a couple of times to
master using it and now he flies up and
down it; he is so proud of it that when we have company he takes them into our
bedroom to show how he can navigate the stairs.

Rusty has had a slew of Dog Park parents stop by for visits which he really enjoys (he must get very tired of seeing only Mom & Dad) but he really misses his dog park
buddies. On March 3rd we had
a luncheon for several of the dog park Mom’s who have been so supportive of
Rusty with visits, new toys, etc. Rusty
enjoyed seeing all of the Mom’s but was very tired when they left. We are very
fortunate in Sun City that we have two off leash parks, in addition to many
green belts and lakes that we can walk on leash. Rusty will not be able to return to the dog
park until he is off Chemo, and Dr. Macy says maybe not at all. As a result, boredom is our biggest issue
with him now; we play games in the house and with the return of warm weather we
hope to get the okay for him to get in the pool after his next Chemo treatment
on April 5th. Rusty and his
cat brother, Oliver, play and run through the house the same as when Rusty had
four legs. We purchased a fabric tunnel
maze for Oliver when Rusty was confined after surgery as he was feeling
neglected and wondering what was happening to his brother; both of them play cat
and mouse in the maze and it has been good for both of them.

We have season tickets to several performances at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert and were fortunate that we did not have many shows during the past two months; one of the dog park Mom’s offered to stay with
Rusty last weekend (March 20th) which allowed us to have a leisurely lunch with
some friends and take in a performance; our first “date” since the middle of
January when all of this started. We are
looking forward to being able to get out some more knowing that Rusty will be
in good care. As you can see from the
photos that were taken in early March his hair is growing back nicely; we had
him groomed on Monday, which was eight weeks to the day from his amputation, to
even out his coat from where he was shaved for the operation.

I give him nightly massages which he really enjoys, particularly in the area where his leg was removed and scratch the areas that he cannot reach because of his amputation. I am also checking for any lumps or growths
that might be developing; of course there is nothing I can do to detect
anything internal. When he is through
with his Chemo treatments in August, we may take him back to the imaging center
in San Diego for more scans and Ultrasound views to see if the cancer has metastasized
to his lungs. The Colorado State
pathology reports gave the cancer a 50% chance for metastasis since it was a
grade 3 tumor.

His super personality has not changed and he is such a happy dog that it has been worth every minute of our time, the extreme stress on both of us and the changes in our lifestyles to accommodate Rusty's needs.
We just hope and pray that he will be with us the full 1 to 3 years of his
prognosis, knowing it could be much less, and cherish every moment with him. No
regrets on our decision for surgery and Chemo!
Rusty will see Dr. Macy on April 5th for his third IV

Tuesday, April 6th

Rusty went to see Dr. Macy yesterday for his monthly Chemo treatment; he received the usual IV dose of Vinblastine and the anti nausea injection and pills. Dr. Macy
continued the Metacam for another month; we discussed the diarrhea issues that
Rusty is having and he suggested we add Imodium as needed. If that does not help he may put him on a prescription
anti-diarrhea medicine but would like to avoid taking that if possible. Rusty’s blood work was again very good, A-,
only because his platelets were a little low.
Rusty had a restless night and was up twice to go potty, which was again
diarrhea. He has been taking it easy
today which is his normal reaction; his appetite was normal last night and
today. There are a couple of spots, about
the size of a dime, on Rusty’s back where the hair was much darker than the
surrounding area; Dr. Macy did a needle biopsy and they are benign! He thinks that it may be some sort of skin
infection that has irritated the hair follicles’ causing the color to
change. Every change in Rusty causes us
to pause and hold our breath. Dr. Macy
gave the okay for Rusty to start swimming and a possible visit with my mother
in June. Rusty seems to have a need to
chew on his paws, not sure if it is from boredom or a need to chew; we asked
Dr. Macy if we could give him raw bones and he said no because of his compromised
immune system.

We have noticed on our morning walks that the warmer weather seems to affect Rusty more, as he seeks out the shady side of the street. Also during the day he pretty
much stays in the house lying on the cool tile floor. We asked Dr. Macy if this is from the Chemo
treatments and he said it was; that the chemo impacts a dog’s sensitivity to
both heat and cold temps. I guess we
will keep Rusty in the pool a lot during our torrid summer, and look for a cool
location for a getaway after he is through with his Chemo in August. Rusty’s activities are fairly normal and he
seems to accept his new routine better than he did in the beginning; we notice
that in the evenings his rear leg must get tired as his hops are less
energetic. His next appointment with Dr.
Macy is May 4th.

Sunday, May 9th

Rusty has had a very good month! We got off to a slow start after the April Chemo treatment with the continuing diarrhea issues and nausea; Dr. Macy prescribed Budesonide twice daily for the diarrhea and an additional week’s worth of
anti-nausea pills. After a couple of days the diarrhea stopped
and his normal appetite returned.
Rusty’s energy level has returned to pre-surgery levels and we added an
evening walk to help him use up the new energy.
Our friends who knew him before surgery can’t believe how much he has
regained his previous energy and enthusiasm; his three month Ampuversary was April
25th. It certainly seems that
it has been a lot longer than three months since his surgery! For the first time his mid-month oral dosage
did not slow him down this month. He
still has trouble understanding why he can’t lick us or his brother for 24
hours after the pills. Jan gives Rusty
his daily pills in “dog food meatballs” which he eagerly gulps down.

We have been taking advantage of the cooler weather to catch up on our outdoor projects that were put on hold for the two months that Rusty required 24/7 care or we were preparing the inside of the house to
accommodate his “Tripawd” needs. Rusty
has enjoyed supervising the projects unless he has to be in the sun as the
Chemo makes him much warmer and he avoids the sun whenever possible. We did not cover all of the tile floors when
we installed the indoor/outdoor carpeting, and he seeks out the exposed tile to
lie on to be cooler. We will be keeping
his coat to a summer cut to help him keep cool this summer. We ordered a “cool mat” for him to lie on
when he is on the patio and he has his “swamp cooler” vest from last summer
that we will begin using for his walks when the heat arrives.

Between our continued unseasonably cool weather & winds, we still have not been in the pool. Rusty did take a pre-swim dip a couple weeks ago; he is our “Cabana Boy”
in keeping the pool clean of debris that the wind blows in. He was walking on the wall that separates the
spa the pool, which is about an inch above the pool water level, and slipped
and fell into the pool. He immediately
swam over to the steps and climbed out like he was trained to do; we met him
with towels and dried him off. He seemed
a little shook up but was fine and continues to perform his daily pool cleaning
duties. We are now taking him for early
morning walks around the lake; several of his dog park friends have been
meeting us for the walk and Rusty really enjoys seeing some of his old dog park

Rusty went to see Dr. Macy Monday for his monthly Chemo treatment, his 4th with 2 more to go; he received the regular IV injection of Vinblastine and the anti nausea injection and pills. This time he seemed to do much better,
however he is still on the anti-diarrhea pills which may have made the difference. Dr. Macy said when the prescription runs out
next week not to refill it until we see if the diarrhea returns. He slept most of the afternoon on Monday and
all day on Tuesday, but has been very active since. His appetite has been almost normal this
week, with only couple of meals that he refused to eat. His blood work results were not quite as good
as before, but Dr. Macy said that they were all still within acceptable
levels. Rusty has lost a pound since
last month’s visit and Dr. Macy was concerned with the loss; we are hoping that
it is the extra evening walk. I am
weighing him at home and he has been the same weight for two months. He had a mild cough for a few days which made
Jan very concerned; he has not coughed for several days and we are hoping it
was allergies, as the pollen levels are much higher than normal because of the
extra rain this year.

Tuesday, May 18th

Rusty had his monthly dose of Lomustine Chemo on Moday! Rusty’s appetite has been less than normal the past few days since finishing the Budesonide anti-diarrhea medication on Wednesday and Jan has been cooking chicken breasts rather than ground beef
without much success until this morning.
However, this morning he was so full of energy and ate everything put in
front of him that he must have known the Chemo pills were on the morning’s menu. He has handled this month’s treatment much better
than the previous couple of months. For the
third day his appetite had been excellent and his energy levels are also quite good.

Rusty is due for his Bordetella Booster shot this week and Dr. Macy gave us the okay to continue with his normal preventive care treatments. As Dr.’s Huber & Macy
are referral Vets only, they do not provide regular preventive care for their
patients; we are taking Rusty to a new Vet,
Henry Randazzo, on
Wednesday. We just don’t have the level
of confidence with our previous Vet that we need at this time. She may be correct that the growth on his leg
was possibly benign for the several months that were observing it and asking
her about it, before it was diagnosed as malignant in January. However, we will never know if a more aggressive
treatment approach would have changed the final outcome for Rusty.

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