We picked up Trapper from the Tractor Supply Store, through the Caring for Creature Organization. My husband had talked to a woman from the foundation who said she had “just the one for us…a sweet family dog.” Little did I know that he would someday take up a huge space in the hearts of his “forever family.”
When I saw him in his cage, I couldn’t help but notice his big, lonely eyes that melted my heart. We left that day in 2004 from Tractor Supply together, and he has been with us every since. He has been a faithful family friend to our whole family, but especially to me. I had read information about the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed, and how they tend to bond closely with one member of the “pack.” Maybe it was because I was the one who rescued him that day, or maybe is it because I’m the one who serves the dog meals daily. In any case, Trapper is my constant companion. He watches my every move, and follows me from room to room. Constantly at my heels and underfoot when I’m cooking, there he is like a 90 pound rug ornament. When I retire for the evening, so does he.
He has done some unusual things, like many dogs do. The very first time we put him in a crate for a few hours while we went out, we came home to find that “Houdini the Great” had escaped by somehow prying the steel bars of his cage open wide enough for him to slip his large body out.
Trapper’s best act though, was when he brought me his first “present.” He dropped it at my feet on the living-room rug while I was watching TV. I didn’t notice it at first, but I did notice he was panting and “amped up”, with that doggie smile on his face that seemed to say that he was extremely satisfied with himself. When I glanced toward the floor, I then knew the reason for his satisfaction….he had plopped a huge, immobilized opossum on the rug!
Needless to say, we were saddened to hear that Trapper had a cancerous Mast-cell tumor for the first time. Our vet recommended that we remove it surgically, and we did so immediately. Several months later, another bump appeared on his stomach, and we took him to the vet to have an aspiration done. It was another tumor, which was surgically removed again. We were feeling bad for the poor guy, but had hoped that this would be the last of it.
Almost a year later this past September, I felt something unusual in his armpit area as well as a small bump on his neck. I took him to the vet with a dismal feeling in my gut, something that said this was not going to be good news. Unfortunately, it was another Mast Cell rumor for which chemotherapy was recommended. Having just had to put another pet to sleep one month earlier, I was not ready to give up the fight until we had done more to help Trapper fight this beast called “Mast Cell Tumors.”
In December, Trapper received a round of Vinblastine chemotherapy and did well. After that, he received CCNU, and all was going well until this past Saturday, when Trapper developed a dinner plate sized discolored area on his side that did not look normal. After having him checked at the vet just yesterday, this mass was confirmed as another mast cell area.
Dr. Waite recommended trying the chemotherapy drug Palladia, as it is made especially for the treatment of Mast cell tumors, as well as another potential surgery. However, Palladia is very expensive and seems to be just out of our reach financially. We have tried all of the other options besides the one drug that could potentially work the best for him.
While I know that no dog lasts forever, and every good thing must someday end, I feel that I want to do everything in my power to give Trapper the best chance at life that he can have, until the end of his dogs years and the Lord all him home. He was a strong will to live, and is a very happy, well adjusted, much loved guy despite his cancer diagnosis.
Having reached a crossroads with Trapper’s treatment, We, the whole Helmuth family, respectfully request that you consider endowing us with a grant to make it possible for Trapper to receive treatment with Palladia. Whatever your decision, I want to thank you for your time in considering this application. I am so thankful for the fact that Fetch-A-Cure is in existence and is helping many families receive financial assistance for their animal friends in need.
Trapper (canine, 10.5 years old)
Christine and Gary
Jacob (15 years old) and Abby (8 years old)
**Update: I am sorry to let everyone know that we lost Trapper to his cancer this week. We are extremely saddened by his and miss his presence and love. Thank you for everything you and Fetch have done to help us in our time of need.