George, a lovable Basset Hound, was a street dog in Puerto Rico who was rescued and placed in foster care with Katherine who was able to manage his chronic bronchitis. When the veterinarian discovered a tumor on George’s lung, many foster homes might have found that a bit too much to handle, but not this home. The rescue provided funds for George’s surgery, but did not have the resources to pursue additional therapy. Katherine decided then and there to provide the treatment George might need to fight back. She became what’s known as a foster failure and she adopted George to her “forever” home. Good news for George at last!
George’s lung tumor was well encapsulated, meaning it could be removed entirely and that the surgeon could get good margins all around. That was more good news for George; however, the biopsy revealed that the tumor was a keratin mass. Katherine took George to see Dr. Merrick, a well-respected oncologist at VCA Katonah Bedford Animal Hospital to advise what could be done. Dr. Merrick let Katherine know that George’s tumor was rare and that it was best treated with chemotherapy, but that this would be one of those times when some things would be completely unknowable – like how successful treatment would be.
Katherine knew that George deserved many more walks on the beach near his home, so she decided to move forward with treatment. George began a six session chemotherapy protocol over 18 weeks Every three weeks they check with Dr. Merrick. So far no additional signs of cancer have emerged. Plus, George never felt any side-effects from his treatment protocol. He looks forward to every day with his devoted family and leaves footprints on the beach and on every person’s heart he meets.
George’s experience teaches people not to prejudge shelter dogs or canine cancer, because better outcomes are just around the next bend. With more and more people heeding the call to adopt dogs with medical issues, people like Katherine, and with more donations to cancer research to discover treatment, dogs like George are well on their way to celebrating survivorship!