Cancer won’t diminish dog’s love of dance
A refused jump at an AKC rally obedience competition was the first hint to Laurie Sullivan that something was wrong with Bowie. Bowie, a 10 year-old golden retriever, was a seasoned competitor in rally obedience. It had been four or five years since he had missed a jump.
“I was on the phone to my veterinarian as soon as we left the ring,” Laurie said.
The event was on a Friday, and by Monday morning Laurie had Bowie at her veterinarian. Tests showed that Bowie had a tumor in his abdomen. Less than 24 hours later, Bowie had emergency surgery and the diagnosis was devastating – hemangiosarcoma.
“I was sitting in the waiting room of my veterinary oncologist, seeing all the dogs fighting for their lives,” said Laurie. “I realized that I wasn’t alone, and that I was lucky that Bowie was still with me.”
Hemangiosarcoma is one of the most common and deadly tumors that affect dogs. In the last five years, Morris Animal Foundation has funded several studies to learn more about this deadly cancer. It is one of many types of cancers that the foundation hopes the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study will provide important clues to understanding the causes of and best approaches to treatment.
For Bowie and Laurie, they are taking it day by day. Laurie elected to proceed with chemotherapy for Bowie, and is happy to report that he completed his first and second rounds of chemotherapy and, other than being a bit tired, is doing well. On May 16, they performed in the New England Golden Jubilee, a festival celebrating golden retrievers and their owners. The pair are well known in the freestyle or “dog dancing” world. The Golden Jubilee was bittersweet for Laurie, since she knows that any performance could be the last one for Bowie.
“I am happy that I have time to spend with Bowie, and that we can continue participating in the events we love,” said Laurie.