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Veterinary Medicine

Survivors: Cancer stories from the dog's point of view

January 24, 2011
By Tony Phifer

New book aims to spread the word about work being done at CSU's Animal Cancer Center.

Milo's story is one of seven included in a new book, When Jennifer Singer first heard that Milo, her Jack Russell terrier, had a rare form of cancer, she was told that little could be done to help her best friend and constant companion.

Singer, though, wasn’t willing to accept Milo’s diagnosis without a fight. A friend told her about the Animal Cancer Center at CSU – news that would change her life, and Milo’s, too.

“It was very surprising to me when we got to the ACC because we were presented with a number of treatment options we didn’t know existed,” said Singer, who lives in Lone Tree, Colo. “We had tried chemotherapy, which had not worked, but the doctors at CSU were willing to try a revolutionary treatment using a new radiation machine. Truly, it was like a miracle, because Milo began responding almost immediately.

“I do know this: If I had not taken him to CSU, Milo would not be alive today.”

Author hopes to inspire dog owners

Author Jaime RoweThat was three years ago. Now, Milo’s story is one of seven included in a new book, “Survivors – Your Best Friend’s Journey With Cancer.” Author/photographer Jaime Rowe tells the stories of seven dogs who have battled cancer – and lived to bark about it.

Rowe, who lives in Morrison, Colo., has worked on creative projects with Heidi Ganahl, who created the Camp Bow Wow chain of dog day care centers. Ganahl, who lives near Boulder, is an enthusiastic supporter of ACC and created the Bow Wow Buddies Oncology Scholarship through her Bow Wow Buddies Foundation.

“Heidi has been a positive member of the dog community for many years, and she was looking for ways to create more funds for the scholarship,” Rowe said. “We first discussed the idea for a book in 2009, and it came together very quickly. I wanted to do something to inspire owners who feel lost after hearing about their dog having cancer. This book, hopefully, gives them hope.”

Books sales support oncology scholarship

Dr. Christine Hardy, Director of Operations at the ACC, was the driving force behind the book. She helped select the dogs and their owners, making sure that a number of breeds were represented, and that each dog was battling a different type of cancer.

The book, she said, does a great job of telling the story about the good work being done at the ACC. Proceeds from the book’s sale support the Bow Wow Buddies Oncology Scholarship.

“This project was really easy to support because it provides a way to honor the survivors and their families, and to educate people that getting a diagnosis of cancer for their pet is not a death sentence,” she said. “The people in the book tell their story and give other people hope.”

Seven dogs, seven stories

Rowe’s book includes several photos of each dog and tells the stories from the dog’s point of view. The project took less than a year to complete before the book was published in September 2010.

“I’m very happy with the how the book came out, and happy to support a great cause,” Rowe said. “I had a great time putting this book together; it was such a great thing to do.”

Owner: ACC works 'miracles'

Singer is just happy that Milo, now 13, is still around to make her laugh and keep her company. When a recurrence of Milo’s cancer recently was discovered, she immediately went back to ACC to seek treatment.

“When you sit in that waiting room at ACC, you hear about miracle after miracle; it really is an amazing place,” Singer said. “Milo was a real pioneer – their little miracle case. He’s kind of a celebrity there, and everyone knows him. I’m just so grateful to CSU for the options they presented and their amazing, revolutionary treatments. I tell everyone I know about ACC.”

Rowe’s book is available at the CSU Bookstore, online at her website, or at Amazon.com.