Charlie’s Story


Meet Charlie!  Charlie is a 6 year old Golden Retriever that was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September, 2014.  We recently treated his cancer and he is now on the road to recovery!  Here is his story from his owner:

My Travels with Charlie

Charlie and I became a team around Thanksgiving 2009. Energetic from the start, he had a way of meeting people wherever we went. We’re well matched, as we both needed long walks, and we certainly enjoyed the many trails Plymouth has to offer. For the first 5 years of his life, we walked a minimum of 3 miles daily, sometimes up to 8, despite the weather. Last September (2014) that all changed, and Charlie actually sat down and whimpered and wouldn’t use his right paw, after chasing and playing with a neighboring friend. We thought it was a soft tissue injury and in time, it would heal, but it sure didn’t and the limp became more pronounced. Thanksgiving of 2014, despite his young age, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. You see, osteosarcoma is typically a fast moving, fast growing type of cancer and I wasn’t ready for this diagnosis. Fear set in. for me.  Charlie’s limp became worse and he just dragged that paw. Amputation was suggested, but it didn’t seem right for us at the time. (From everything I heard, amputation was done for pain management. We seemed to manage the pain, for the most part.) However, his energy level was dropping and he really didn’t have his usual zest.

Cancer is a terrible thing to watch; you wonder if this day is the last.  Mad, sad, angry, bitter – the entire gamut of emotions hit ME. Finally, I decided to make the best of the situation and adopted Charlie’s attitude. He is able to make the best of every situation and is a great teacher. Even if he couldn’t walk, he could accompany me on walks in his “pet stroller”. We’d love to find an indoor walking place this winter, but we’ll keep going and perhaps find a way to rig up a sled for him.

Slightly before the Fourth of July, we were invited to go swimming and boating on Lake Minnetonka. There was no hesitation on our part. He had a BLAST, but as a result, he developed a double ear infection. That day was a turning point for both of us. I saw just how emaciated his poor body had become. (At his “heaviest”, he weighed 67 lbs. and now, 45 lb.) We happened to receive a mailer from Vet Partners, and chose to make an appointment for his ears. This was just the place that we needed. Ears were taken care of, and we also found other services that we have used to manage his pain – acupuncture, essential oils, and low level laser treatments. At our follow up visit, Dr. Woodward suggested re-visiting amputation, as now might be the time. This was on a Monday, and two days later, he had his surgery. We were able to find financing, and also enrolled in the monthly care plan Vet Partners offers, and this allowed us to research whether or not the lungs and liver were impacted, as this would help us to make our decision for amputation.

Bottom line. Our support “team” is far and wide. We have been incredibly blessed on our journey, as the resources, services and support (including hugs) needed, have been shown to us at the right time and place. Charlie’s tail now wags constantly, despite being a tripawd (yes, there is an actual term and website dedicated to this). He has the best outlook on life which includes eating lots, playing with toys and friends and taking advantage of TODAY!  I am trying to look at things the same way and am lucky to accompany Charlie on his journey. So, if you see us walking with our stroller, please honk or wave to Charlie, as he loves every person out there. PS – he’s now at a healthy, happy 55 lbs and loves to run at the dog park with his friends.