Before we even got our pretty Sheltie, we were talking with our son about getting a dog. We told him if we got a male, we planned to name him Dubya. Our son really liked the name and told us to please get a male. So we had our puppy named before we even got him. We bought him in Hamilton, Tx. He was only six weeks old and was so small. He slept all the way home to Bastrop, but once we got home he bounced around on our front porch. That porch was his security blanket for several weeks.
Dubya had a cautious and somewhat sensitive nature. He loved every person he ever met but couldn’t really see the sense in other dogs, especially large and very physical dogs. One of the dogs he played best with was the Chihuahua across the street. His favorite activity was fetch, and as a young dog he could play for hours every evening. He also loved to chase the squirrels. We lived in the woods and there were plenty of squirrels to keep him busy. He played a game we called “circling”, where he would run in circles with sudden pivots in the opposite direction. He especially enjoyed playing that game in the house and would jump into one of our rugs until he’d pushed it into a heap.
We talked to him a lot and he had a huge receptive vocabulary. We could take him anywhere; many people commented on his good behavior.
We had never taken him to the vet for an illness, but in October 2010 he didn’t seem himself. When we took him in, we learned he was suffering from cancer. He received wonderful treatment from the A&M Veterinary Clinic and participated in a clinical trial. He was happy during the course of his treatment. He really did not seem to mind going to the clinic, and we think it had to do with the wonderful people there–not just the doctors and fourth year students, who were great, but the others at the front counter, who were so friendly and kind. We are extremely grateful for the help and kindness he received.
We wish he could have lived his full life span. But we know we made a good pick when we chose him and were very lucky to have such a great friend. Dubya was beautiful, sweet, and full of life. In his own doggy way, he was perfection. We loved him.
Sylvester was rescued from abuse at a fishing camp when he was about 3 weeks old. His little back legs had been injured, and it took him about 6 months to be able to jump to any height.
He grew to be the finest cat. Sylvester was gentle, kind, alert, and very social with everyone. He was especially fond of babies and small children. He would lie at their feet or walk beside them. He greeted everyone that came to visit and everyone liked him, even those that did not want to admit that they liked cats. Sylvester warmed the hearts of the coldest hearted.
Sylvester took long walks with me, always attentive, and was there for me anytime I needed him. I had Sylvester for 17 years, and those were undoubtedly the best 17 years ever. He gave me his total dedication and love, and I know within my heart that he had the greatest life any cat could have.
Finally, I noticed a little swelling under his left eye, and took him to Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. There, Dr. Claudia Barton examined him, and gave me the bad news that he had cancer of the jaw that was very advanced. I was so saddened by this news, but she gave me the courage and strength I needed to cope with his cancer. The swelling around his eye seemed to occur just overnight; I couldn’t believe that this could have happened so quickly. He had the best veterinary care during those 17 years, and for something like this to happen was devastating.
Dr. Barton extended so much kindness to me and to Sylvester. She told me to take him home and love him and that I would know when the time was right to put him to rest. I asked her about chemotherapy, but she advised me that this type of cancer does not respond well to drug treatment. The tumor was too large and involved too much of the upper jaw to be surgically removed. Treatment like that would be very stressful for him, especially at 17 years of age.
I wanted Sylvester to live on in some way, and was so thrilled to be able to donate funding for Dr. Barton to fulfill her dream for this website in Sylvester’s honor. My Sylvester now will live on forever, helping other cats to have cancer detected early and live full lives. I hope that in some way this website will help other pet owners to realize what is involved in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in cats and dogs. Perhaps knowledge gained from the information here may even alert an owner to signs that will permit a diagnosis of cancer in his or her beloved pet early enough that a cure is possible.
— Karla Bludworth/Sylvester Enrichment Fund
Mookie is a 13-year-old tabby cat, and has always been a delight. As a small kitten, I could put him in my hand and carry him around on his back. He was always so laid back and relaxed. He was the last to open his eyes when he was a baby, and didn’t play like the other kittens; he just slept most of the time. While the other kittens would curl up to go to sleep, Mookie would sleep sitting up, with his front leg resting on the arm of the chair or couch. To this day, he always sits up to sleep, like an old man might fall asleep in his favorite chair. Just as he did in his kittenhood days, Mookie still loves to be carried upside down. He is a large cat and is quite an armful, but I still carry him this way because he loves it so. I think that it reminds him of when he was a small kitten.
When Mookie’s other brothers and sisters would bring a bird, lizard, or bug to the door to show me what they had captured, Mookie would bring a dirt clod or leaf and leave it at the back door. He didn’t want to have to catch anything that could run that fast!
Mookie has been totally dedicated to me alone; he has never wanted anyone but me to pet him or to have anything to do with him. He won’t eat unless I feed him, and won’t even take any notice of anyone else. He follows me everywhere—just a complete loner happy with “his person.”
Mookie injured his leg about five years ago, and had to have extensive orthopedic surgery performed on his left knee. Since that time, he has developed arthritis in the leg, which has limited his running and jumping. Because he couldn’t exercise, he began to gain a great deal of weight. When he sits up, he holds his bad leg straight out, so I know that it bothers him a lot. The veterinarian has given him medication to help to relieve the arthritic pain.
About two weeks ago, we noticed a raw-looking place on Mookie’s foot. I took him to our local veterinarian, who did testing that suggested that the mass might be cancerous. We then came to Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, where Drs. Sophie Grundy and Claudia Barton examined him. After some testing, they concluded that Mookie had cancer of the foot and hock on the same leg that was operated on five years previously. They did needle aspirations of the mass and the lymph nodes and found evidence of cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer cells had already spread to his abdominal area. Because the tumor has spread up his leg and into his groin, surgically removing it is not possible, and the cancer is too extensive for radiation therapy to be used. We are considering chemotherapy, and may try this if the tumor enlarges.
Through Dr. Grundy’s and Barton’s kindness and understanding, they have prepared me for the next four to six months that I will probably have with Mookie. I intend to give him all the love and pampering that he could possibly have. He is not in any pain at the moment. It is so sad to have this happen to Mookie; cancer is something that I never dreamed of. He has had the best care, with regular checkups by his veterinarian, and has always been so healthy until now. This is a situation that no pet owner is ever prepared for.
I am hoping that this website that Dr. Barton is preparing will help people like me learn more about cancer. My little Mookie is just another cat that perhaps will help other cats that have this problem in the future. Like Sylvester, Mookie too can be remembered forever by helping other owners learn to check for cancer in their pets.
— Karla Bludworth