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Shortly before Mya started chemotherapy, she suggested we re-x-ray the leg. We did, which led to more bad news: The bone had begun to fail at the tumor site. And Carl found a great site for information about canine amputation, Tripawds. But still, I dreaded the surgery and its aftermath. The procedure was scheduled for August 22, They kept me distracted at the hotel while Mya had surgery to remove her right-front leg.

When I heard from Dr. Jeglum, there was finally some good news: Mya was doing great after surgery. In fact, on a follow-up call, Dr. Jeglum told me my wonderful girl already had gotten up to go to the bathroom. She said that her quick acclimation to the lost limb was a good sign for recovery.

Still, when it was time to pick her up the next evening, I was a wreck: Nothing can prepare you for seeing your once whole dog now with only three legs. Mya must have sensed my angst. As soon as she hopped into the reception area and saw me, she tried to jump into my arms. I broke down and cried. Back at the hotel, I took her out to potty for the first time. She fell down.

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Will she truly adapt? But Mya jumped up, figured out how to balance on her three remaining legs, and never looked back. After four weeks of rest and limited activity during which she started chemotherapy , Dr. I began by walking her in my neighborhood, adding one block at a time as she gained balance and strength.

Within a few days, she tried to take off at a run.

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Shortly after that, I took her out to a field where I could safely let her off leash. As soon as Mya heard me unsnap her lead, she took off.

It was pure joy to see her running so easily. As she was able to get out and about more, Mya became an ambassador for living after a disability; she even earned her Therapy Dog Title. With her outgoing personality and love of life, she made a positive impression on everyone she met.

While it took her a while to figure out how to balance with a big pheasant in her mouth, she had a blast doing what she was bred to do. She continued not only to survive, but also to thrive. I wanted her to be part of the Parade of Titleholders. Throughout that winter and into the following spring, she remained bright, active and happy, so we made the trip to Nationals.

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As we trotted around the ring, I saw there were lots of tears, too. Mine were tears of joy. Turns out that Mya had a big impact outside the ring as well, especially with kids, who were curious about her missing leg. I took her back to Dr.

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She told me that it is extremely rare for it to metastasize to the kidneys. She removed the kidney, and Mya bounced back from surgery in no time. As a precaution, Dr. Jeglum put her on four rounds of chemotherapy. That fall, we took her to South Dakota for the pheasant hunt. Mya hunted in a blizzard, and had a great time romping in the snow.

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It was such a joy to watch her bouncing around like a puppy, over a year after her original diagnosis. Christmas came and went, with Mya enjoying the festivities. My heart sank. I rushed her to Dr. Devastated, I took Mya home. Carl and I treated her for a week. At the end of the week she stopped eating.

I still cry when I think about losing her. But we remain thankful that we were able to give Mya not only an extension on her life, but also a great life for more than a year and a half afterward. Was it expensive? Yes, both emotion- and money-wise.

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Was it worth it? Our takeaway? Carl and I know, though, that not everyone can afford the treatment. The fund will cover any kind of cancer. The dogs must qualify, however, by having a viable chance at a quality, reasonable, post-treatment life span. We are now holding fundraisers, and hope to start treating patients through the fund this year. Mya was a great pet who happened to be a champion. I look back and think she was meant to be with Carl and me, so we could help her on this journey. I miss her every day, but she lives on with us through her puppies.

Perhaps her legacy will be to help other dogs spend quality time with their families after a devastating diagnosis. A new grant was recently awarded by CHF to study a potential canine osteosarcoma vaccine.

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The genetic makeup of dogs and humans is about 85 percent the same. There are about diseases that affect both dogs and humans. Because of this, research in canine health can benefit you. And research in human health can benefit your dog. It is dedicated to advancing the health of all dogs pure and mixed-breed by funding scientific research and sharing health information that can help prevent, treat, and cure canine disease. It is nearly identical to the same cancer in children. Comparative oncology is the study of cancer that naturally occurs in animals and the comparison to its human counterpart in order to identify treatments and cures that can benefit both humans and animals.

It is an aggressive cancer that destroys normal bone, and tends to metastasize spread to other parts of the body typically the lungs.