Foster- Our Miracle Boy
June 10th- All Points West was made aware of a pup that had been wandering the country roads East of Colorado Springs. A young couple that lived in area reached out to us to let us know that they were able to catch him and keep him safe overnight, but were unable to keep him and provide the care he desperately needed. The next morning, one of our Directors went and scooped up this boy. He was emaciated, dehydrated, anemic, and had a severe urinary tract infection, so much so when we picked him up he was cramping and he had an inability to retract his penis back into the sheath. We were very fortunate to get him when we did as he may not have made it another night without the urgent care he so needed.
We immediately contacted his foster mom to make her aware of his need for emergency care . We were so lucky, her vet was willing to come back into the clinic to treat him as it was a Saturday and they had closed for the day. Dr Matt at Mesa Veterinary Clinic performed an exam, some bloodwork, xrays and urinalysis. We learned that Foster was somewhere in the 6-8 year range but didn't have any teeth as they had been worn down, likely from constant chewing in an attempt to escape his enclosure. Dr. Matt informed us that Foster had a very enlarged bladder and wasn't able to pass urine on his own. He also provided him immediate relief by catheterization and removed 350ml's of urine. For a human, the normal desire to urinate is at about 150ml's so imagine the discomfort and pain this boy was in. He was prescribed a bland diet of chicken and rice, some antibiotics, anti inflammatories and to come back over the next few days to continue catheterization until he was able to maintain a urine stream on his own. Although, Dr Matt was honest and let us know he wasn't sure that would be possible, only time would tell. Foster mom, Dawn stayed up with him vigilantly the first night and took him outside every hour to relieve himself. Our goal was to support him through the next few days and to provide supportive care in hopes he would turn the corner.
Over the next 48 hours, Dawn provided us with updates. He was eating well and really was just trying gain strength and to live. There was a lot of sleeping, vet visits, snuggling and foster dad, Michael gave him a bath. He had horrible diarrhea and difficulty making it outside in time but Dawn and Michael stood by him through each day and just loved him. As each day passed you could see he felt a little better but after 6 days we realized he wasn't putting on any weight so we switched his diet with more substance and started him on some joint supplements. Dr. Matt relayed to us that he felt that Foster's urinalysis results indicated that he didn't just have a regular urinary tract infection, but that it was actually secondary to some other underlying issue.
A week later, we were able to get Foster in to see a Veterinary Specialist where they performed an ultrasound, and several other tests. Sadly, Dr Matt's suspicion was true. Foster was diagnosed with Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC). Not at all the news any of us in rescue were hoping for. The specialist recommended several different treatment options, some regimens included chemotherapy and radiation, but all were dependent on how well he would tolerate the tough therapy. Some dogs do very well and others, don't do well at all. The longest they could offer us was about 6 months. Definitely not enough time to allow Foster to live the life he so deserved.
We decided to forego chemotherapy and radiation and put him on Peroxicam, an anti-inflammatory that is known for working very well with TCC patients. We also decided that it was time to do some research and explore all of our options both through traditional medicine and holistic wellness. It was vital to us that we provide him with great quality of life care for the remaining time we were graced with his sweet presence. He was eating, gaining weight, starting to play with his GSP siblings, and was finally able to urinate on his own. All the things that a GSP loves to do!
The next few days brought a lot of tough conversations. As a rescue we have limited funds but we all agreed that we had to help this boy. We decided to reach out to our Holistic Veterinarian to see if she could offer Foster any support or treatment options. After all, she had played an integral role in the treatment of one of the Directors pups who was diagnosed with an inoperable Mast Cell Tumor and was given very little time. Miss Ladybug had surpassed her "date" and was thriving due largely to the holistic regimen and care she was receiving. Surely, Dr. Adams could help.
July 18th -Foster saw Dr. Cheryl Adams. We received the ray of light and hope we needed! Dr. Adams has had success in getting transitional cell carcinomas to shrink, thus allowing easier emptying of the bladder, less straining, and a longer life span. She was hopeful that he will be with us for few good years on a protocol she was recommending. Foster's diet was changed to a very high protein diet, grain free so that we would no longer be "feeding the tumor". Along with mushroom and fish supplements, he was put on a Chinese herb mix and several other TCM supplements to aid in shrinking the tumor and assist with his incontinence. He was also put on a blood regulator that helps cut off the blood supply to the tumor and is receiving acupuncture routinely geared towards drainage.
August 18th- Foster is one month in today on his holistic treatment and 2 months from the day we picked him up. He continues to thrive. He loves his GSP siblings, Hector and Hank, along with his human siblings. He's a healthy weight, loves playing in the back yard and sleeping in his foster parents bed at night. He even gets to be a real Colorado boy and go camping.
Dawn Moews and Mike Johnson, Foster's foster parents, have lovingly offered to remain Foster's home and provide him with Fospice care until he lets us know it's time for him to cross over. These two along with Dawn's mom, Virginia Moews, are so incredibly kind and selfless. As I've been typing this I was trying to think of a way to express to you, all of our supporters, just how amazing they are. I realized, I can let Dawn's words speak for themselves. “At the end of the day, I’m his person and he deserves to know a loving and happy home, Mike and I can provide that so we wouldn't have it any other way!"
We at All Points West are BEYOND GRATEFUL to have you Dawn, Mike, Virginia, Hank and Hector and your entire family in his life. As long as Foster fights, we'll fight with you. Both his and your quality of life while caring for him are our highest priority!
A special heartfelt thanks to Lucia and Dusty Heinzmann for simply doing the right thing by bringing Foster into safety. Without that swift and gracious decision, his outcome would have likely been a painful one.
Thank you to everyone that has sent prayers, warm thoughts and support for Foster. Please keep them coming! His journey isn't over and he needs your love now more than ever! You have all been a part of his journey thus far and we will continue to provide periodic updates as we go, one day at a time.