Her dog's cancer led her to help others through loss
Battling cancer one time seems more than enough for any dog and its family. But for Bogey, and many other dogs, cancer can have more than one face. “You think that if your dog has had one cancer, it won’t get another,” said Kim Bradley, of Woodbury, Minnesota. “That isn’t a correct assumption, but I thought it when Bogey had his first cancer.”
Bogey was a beautiful golden retriever, outgoing and vivacious, a real “mama’s boy,” said Kim. When he was 8 years old, he was diagnosed with a nerve sheath tumor on his left front leg.
“Our surgeon removed as much of the tumor as she could,” said Kim. “We didn’t want to amputate his leg. Lucky for us, the residual tumor was very slow growing.”
Kim was diligent in taking Bogey for checkups, and his cancer was stable – the family felt they might be over the worst of it. Then, one day in early August 2013, Bogey came to Kim and put his head up for her to pat.
“I could feel a huge lump under his neck, where his lymph node was located,” said Kim. “I took him to my veterinarian where they discovered that Bogey had lymphoma.”
Lymphoma is one of the most common types of canine cancers, accounting for 10 percent to 20 percent of all cancers in dogs. Lymphoma can take many different forms, each with a different prognosis. Unfortunately, Bogey had a very aggressive form of lymphoma that soon spread throughout his body.
“It was like bullet holes,” said Kim. “First it was here, then it was over here, then it was there.”
For Kim and her family, one of the most tragic things they experienced was when the lymphoma spread to Bogey’s eyes, and he went blind.
“He had these beautiful eyes that were so full of life, and to see them change into something so different was extremely difficult,” said Kim.
Within one month of his diagnosis, the family felt Bogey was suffering and gently let him go on August 25.
Kim found herself in a support group after Bogey’s death. The group helped her cope, and also inspired Kim to form her own pet loss support group. Now she helps others through the grieving process.
“So many people are struggling and suffering through the loss of a pet,” said Kim. “People need to talk with people who are sympathetic.
Bogey’s experience with multiple cancers, particularly lymphoma, is one shared by many dogs and their owners each year. Morris Animal Foundation has invested more than $4 million in lymphoma-related research during the past 20 years. Several studies are ongoing, and the most common types of projects funded address advances in unique cancer treatments, identification of testable genetic markers, and development of diagnostic tests.
Kim has found a way to turn her grief into something positive by bringing compassion to others suffering through the loss of a pet. She also supports the fight against canine cancer, and is a face of hope for owners like herself.
Funding research that advances our understanding of lymphoma, and possible treatments, is one way Morris Animal Foundation is giving hope to owners whose dogs are facing a cancer diagnosis. To learn more about our current studies, please visit Our Research. To help in the fight against cancer, make a gift today to Morris Animal Foundation's Unite to Fight Pet Cancer campaign. Now through June 30, the Blue Buffalo Foundation will match your gift up to $50,000.
Categories: Animal health