On August 12, 2018, after returning from camp with our dogs, Cooper, our 9-year old greyhound, jumped off the family bed as he had done thousands of times before and hurt his hind leg. We initially thought he landed awkwardly and sprained or pulled a muscle. The next morning, he was still holding his hind leg off the ground. We took him to Veazie Vet and he was examined by Dr. McCaw who reported the bad news that Cooper had broken his right hind leg due to a cancerous tumor. Cooper was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Perry and I were shocked, unprepared, and devastated by this unexpected news. Dr. McCaw explained how aggressive this cancer is and Cooper probably had up to 4 months to live. We had some options to carefully consider. If we amputated his leg and added chemotherapy treatments Cooper could possibly live up to a year. The other option was to amputate the leg and enjoy what time we had left with him. The third option was to put him down.
We were not ready to give up on our beloved Cooper when there was an option to relieve the pain and slow down the cancer. We decided to have the leg amputated on August 15th. The surgery was performed on his hind leg by Dr. Keene at Veazie Vet. Cooper took about 2 weeks to recover and walk around. Dr. Keene did an amazing job with the surgery and Cooper was now pain-free again.
Cooper took a few days to learn how to walk on 3 legs and started hopping around the yard in no time. He quickly adapted to life with 3 legs. Each time he went outside he got faster and his stride looked like he had been walking like this for years. Cooper’s hind leg became stronger and bigger. He could hold himself up without any problems and could eat, drink, go outside, and cuddle. Cooper is so happy, loving life, and enjoying his brother Dexter, a 12-year old greyhound.
The next part of his treatment under Dr. Keene’s incredible care and supervision was a series of five chemotherapy treatments with his first one on September 4 and his last one on December 26th. Yes! We all enjoyed a beautiful Christmas together. In between each chemotherapy treatment Cooper went in for blood tests to make sure his counts were high enough for his next treatment. Cooper fortunately handled the chemotherapy treatments very well. Although he wasn’t always hungry the morning after each chemotherapy treatment, he did not have any vomiting or diarrhea, and his appetite returned in the afternoon the day after chemotherapy.
The vet techs, office staff, and Dr. Keene were truly amazing during this process.
We can’t express how grateful we are to Dr. Keene, Dr. McCaw and the Veazie Vet staff for treating Cooper’s cancer and extending his beautiful life. We continue to cherish each day we have with Cooper.
These decisions are not easy and we have no regrets, just absolute joy that we get more time with Cooper.
Thank you to everyone who has worked on Cooper’s treatment team and a special thanks to Dr. Keene for her tremendous expertise and dedication to her patients.