Hi. My name is Patrick. This June 30th I will be 39 years old, and am convinced that the only reason I will still be alive and able to celebrate my birthday is in large-part due to my partner and best friend, Galileo.
Let me explain: Galileo (Leo) is my dog. But to me, he is so much more. I found Leo from an ad posted on Craigslist for “clearance” beagle puppies, and picked him up later that day. Leo was barely 6 weeks old at the time, but from the moment he came home with me I knew he would play a significant role in my life. Leo and I instantly established a deep bond, and over the last 11 years of shared heartbreak and joy we experienced together, our bond has only deepened.
I was diagnosed with advanced heart failure on November 14, 2017, due to a severely dilated (greater than 8c.m.) left-ventricular which resulted in, among other complications, an ejection fraction of 5-8%. Then, on October 5, 2020, I was told I had no more than 6 to 8 months to live. It has now been more than a year and a half since I received that prognosis and I am still here. And, through everything, Leo has remained at my side— nuzzled up close in my armpit comforting me when I feel too sick to get out of bed. And, encouraging me to get up and take him on his walk when I only think that I am. It is those rather unique howls of affection which are particular to the beagle breed that Leo greets me with every time I come home from the hospital that have given me strength to keep going whenever I was almost ready to give up. Therefore, I feel I owe it to Leo to do everything in my ability to ensure that he is allowed to enjoy the happiest life possible for as long as possible.
Leo was diagnosed with Stage 2 Lymphoma on April 19, 2022. Because lymphoma tends to rapidly progress in dogs and is considered one of the most aggressive forms of canine cancer, Leo began treatment under the "CHOP" chemotherapy protocol the very next day, April 20th. The CHOP protocol involves giving the patient four different chemotherapy treatments administered over 4 consecutive weeks, with a break from treatment on week 5; this is then repeated 3 more times. A full course of treatment under the CHOP protocol therefore lasts a total of 20 weeks from start to finish and costs approximately $10,900. However, because of my condition, I am now permanently unable to work and receive monthly Disability Insurance benefits— but these are barely enough to cover my regular expenses. It was almost entirely from the support of my friends, family, and a private donor (for which I am eternally grateful) that Leo was able to undergo the first 4CHOP treatments—thereby complete the first cycle treatments.
I heard about Dogslife from Leo’s oncologist and one of the vet techs at her office when it first became apparent that I was struggling to find the funds to cover the cost of Leo’s treatment. Getting this grant allows me to make sure that Leo will get the full course of CHOP treatments, fulfilling the debt I owe him. So far, Leo has responded very well to treatment and is now expected to be in full remission. With this grant, a little luck, and a lot of love, Leo should remain in full remission with no detectable signs of cancer in his blood for at least another year.
- Patrick McMenamy (May 2022)