We had no idea what we were getting into over 8.5 years ago when we decided on getting an English Mastiff puppy. We researched different breeds because we needed a good guard dog for when my husband worked out of town. We picked Goliath out of his litter of 13 brothers and sisters when he was eight weeks old! He chose us! He immediately came up to us and laid his head in my lap the whole time as we played with the other puppies. It was love at first sight! We were so over-protective of him that we found a friend to babysit him everyday while we were at work. He literally became our third child. He loved to be with us at all times and hated being alone. He traveled everywhere with us as a puppy, however, as so many hotels have weight limits, we were soon forced to invest in a camper trailer just so he continue on our trips.
When Goliath was about six months old, I found out that I have stage IV colon cancer. Our whole world changed. The traveling stopped immediately except for the frequent trips to doctors’ appointments, hospital stays, chemo and radiation treatments, and many, many surgeries. The whole time, during every long hospital stay, our biggest worry was Goliath grieving himself to death, missing his mommy and daddy so much. He was my biggest comfort and most faithful companion – always by my side as I healed. We never dreamed that eight years later he too would face his own cancer diagnosis.
Over Goliath’s 8.5 years, he ran into a few other health issues, including an emergency surgery after eating a corn cob at eight months. Immediately after this incident, we learned a dog his size is very expensive and so we bought pet insurance so we would be able to provide him with the best care in the future. This insurance was a life saver as it covered significant portions of veterinary care related to another corn cob incident (our one year old grandson decided to share his) and when his back legs stopped working which required an MRI. Well, due to my not being able to return to work after my cancer and being put on disability, and my husband’s job in the oil-field starting lay-offs and pay-cuts, our financial situation changed very quickly – we had to let Goliath’s insurance go.
You can imagine how devastated we were when a large knot came up on his left front leg very quickly and learning the news it was osteosarcoma. When we learned the treatment plan of radiation and chemotherapy would be at least $12,000, we didn’t know how we were going to afford it, and were beside ourselves with grief. Our son’s girlfriend, who is the manager at a local veterinary hospital, had been helping us in the diagnosis of Goliath’s cancer and told us about Dogslife. We were so afraid that Goliath’s age would exclude him from being a candidate for a dogslife grant, however, when Matt and Hannah called with the news that dogslife would be providing a grant for Goliath’s treatment beyond what we were able to pay, we were so relieved that our sweet boy would be with us for a few more years. We had prayed for a way to help cover this cost and God truly answered our prayers with this great organization. We owe them everything! Goliath is such a huge part of our family and we wouldn’t know what to do without the unconditional love he gives each of us every day. We want to do everything we can to grow Dogslife so they can continue to help more sweet dogs in the battle against this horrible disease.
- Melinda Petty