Canine Hero

Canine Hero

For each PuppyUp Walk, the Event Manager and their Walk Team select both a Human Cancer Hero and a Canine Cancer Hero, to be honored during the Walk ceremonies.

These Heroes are chosen because of their exemplary attitude towards their particular type of cancer, showing bravery and hopefulness in their fight against this terrible disease.

The Canine Hero for the  2019 Fredericksbug PuppyUp Walk is Rio. His story and photos are shown here.

Rio got diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma last November at the tender age of 5. For those that aren’t familiar with this disease, it is a very aggressive form of cancer that forms from the cells that normally make blood vessels. In turn this cancer forms its own blood supply, which eventually causes the tumors to rupture leading to internal bleeding. This cancer is so devastating because by the time the dog shows any symptoms it’s typically already metastasized elsewhere in the body. After being diagnosed most dogs have a life expectancy of weeks to a few months at best.

When the emergency doctors at the hospital confirmed the diagnoses they already had began to bring up options of euthanization, which to us was unfathomable at the time. We met with the oncologist (whom we love so much) at VVC we discussed options and decided on aggressive chemotherapy infusions every two weeks, and a whole slew of medications. We decided that as long as he has a great quality of life we will keep fighting. At first glance you would never even guess Rio was sick most of the time.

So here we are now, by the grace of God we have somehow managed to beat the grim odds that this cancer gives. He made it to his sixth birthday which was a huge milestone we never thought we would get to. His oncologist told us the other day that Rio is her first patient to live this long with this particular type of cancer.

He amazes me with his strength and resilience. Rio has taught me to stop and enjoy the little things every day and not take any second for granted. Every single day we have with him is a gift. He is a once in a lifetime type of dog that everyone loves as soon as they meet him. It breaks my heart to have to watch him go through this. Anticipatory grief is such a hard thing to deal with. Thank you for being a voice for such an important cause.

-Courtney Doyle