Cali was a stray dog for the first 6 months of her life. We found her in an animal control center. Our dad saw her first; she was timid and scared. He eventually gained her trust and knew that I had to meet her. We went back to animal control, and she was gone. The employees said she was on her last day so she may not be here anymore, as they only keep the dogs a certain amount of time. I had lost all hope, until an employee came up to us and said that she had actually been rescued by the Humane Society. I knew it was meant to be. Cali got a second chance at life and finding a family. She stole our hearts. Cali and I have been inseparable ever since. I have had Cali since I was 12 years old. She grew up with me. She played soccer with me. She slept in my bed every night. She came to college with me, from Mississippi State, to Auburn, and now to Fort Worth. She was my road trip partner. From spring-break trips to Destin, to hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, running along the beaches of Gulf Shores, and everywhere in between, Cali has been by my side through it all.
About a year ago, I had relocated for school and I noticed Cali had symptoms of a UTI. I took her in to her primary veterinarian to get her looked at, and upon the blood work they noticed things were a little off. They started her on antibiotics for a UTI, thinking her blood work would go back to normal. They then realized her blood work was staying consistent, so maybe a vulvaplasty procedure would eliminate her infection and she would go back to normal. After that surgery, she was normal for a little while. Then I noticed Cali drinking a lot of water, urinating a lot, losing hair, not eating like normal, and I knew I had to bring her back in. After different diagnostics, she was referred to an internal medicine specialist, then on to a soft tissue specialist. We had our diagnoses. After a couple months of diagnostics and vet trips, she was diagnosed with Intermediate T-Cell Lymphoma.
I remember the day as if it was yesterday. We initiated oral chemotherapy and she was responding well to it. We re-located to Fort Worth and we got her in for a check-up at VSNT. A couple of weeks went by, and Cali was no longer responding to her oral chemotherapy. She needed to start a new chemotherapy protocol to have a good quality of life, and I simply could not afford it.
I thought I would have to make the dreadful decision of having to watch Cali suffer because I could not afford her treatments, or be in debt for years to try and afford the chemotherapy. She is my best friend and she deserves a comfortable life. That is when her Dr. told us about Dogslife. I finally saw a glimmer of hope. I applied for the grant having some doubts lingering in the back of my mind, and told myself that if it is meant to be, it will be. When I got the call from Dogslife saying we got the grant for Cali, I had no words. I was so honored and so relieved. I can now provide Cali a great, comfortable quality of life as she continues her chemotherapy treatments and it is all thanks to Dogslife. The people at Dogslife have been so compassionate and understanding to us. Cali is my best friend, and I am at peace with her diagnosis. Having a dog with lymphoma has its good days and bad days. It is very hard to see your dog change as it progresses, but dogslife gave Cali one thing less to worry about. I could not be more thankful and appreciative. We are forever changed. Thank you.
- Gianna Ciotoli (August 2019)