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 2018 Shoreline walk is Ruca. Her story is shown below:
Ruca’s Journey has been a long one. Ever since she was a puppy she has haD non stop health problems. She was diagnosed with hypothyrodism at about 6 months of age and went on medication for that. Somehow by the time she was 2, her vet wanted to try to wean her off the meds and see what happened and all of her symptoms never came back.
Then in August of 2016 when she was 4 years old she got violently ill. She lost 25 lbs and I did not know if she was going to make it. She was brought to three different vets, two of which were specialists and they could not figure it out. Finally it came to the conclusion that she had some form of IBD and was put on a very strict limited ingredient diet and that worked. She has gained back her weight and has not been sick since.
Her life was pretty boring after that, but then in September of 2017 when she was 5 years old, we were up in Vermont for my wedding. We had Ruca and our other dog Mable with us. On September 7th our dog Mable was tragically hit by a car and Ruca was right there and witnessed it all. I didn’t know dogs could really scream until that day. I can still hear in the back of my head Ruca’s screams as she tried to break off from her run to get to Mable. Mable was Ruca’s best friend. I rescued Mable and her brothers when they were only 5 weeks old from a very poor living situation. I did not plan on keeping her but she would try to nurse on Ruca and she would just lay on her back and let her. That was her baby.
Ruca had a hard time after losing Mable, and then 15 days later on September 22, 2017 is when the vet discovered she had a mass cell tumor. She was scheduled to get two lumps removed on the 28th. One on her leg and one on the side of her abdomen. Only the one on her abdomen ended up being cancer. It was a level II mass cell tumor. They were able to get good margins and our newly appointed oncologist felt it was best to wait and see what happened. We went to the oncologist every 4 weeks for the first 6 months. She had said if nothing else grows in the 6 month time frame then that is good odds. She was doing great and we were able to make our appointment quarterly. Then August of 2018 when she was 6 years old we noticed another lump on the opposite side of her abdomen, her chest, and her back leg area. The vets suspected cancer again so they operated. I believe they said she had 29 stitches. She was called my little “patchwork puppy”. One of the three lumps ended up being the same type of cancer as the year before. Recovery was harder this time around because the incisions were so much larger. But Ruca is a trooper and has healed beautifully and at this point we are just hoping this is it, no more cancer, but we will just wait and see.
Thank you again for this opportunity, I have always thought of Ruca as a hero, so it will be nice for other people to see.
Kylie and Ruca Dibble