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Two and a half years ago, I came home one morning after work, and my brother surprised me with Riley. She was only 7 weeks old, so small I could fit her in the palm of my hand, but boy did she have big paws. She was so cute, and all she wanted to do was eat. As time went on, I grew more and more attached to my little Riley. Every challenge I have faced in the last 2 ½ years, she has helped comfort me. Struggling with school and work, she makes me feel like everything will be alright. Riley and I have become very attached to one another. If I am anxious and have trouble staying still, then Riley will keep following me until I calm down. If I lay down, then she is right there to lay next to me. She truly is an amazing dog, and I do not know what I would do without her.

In October 2021 I discovered Riley was bleeding a little bit from her mouth. I looked in her mouth to discover a small mass, the size of a grape. I immediately made an appointment with her vet, and he did surgery on it to excise the mass and send it for biopsy. When the biopsy results came back, Riley was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer found in young dogs. I was devastated, I must have cried all day. Since her diagnosis, I have spent hours doing research. I have had to get her mass excised a second time, and another surgery to remove two of her molars. I also took her to see an oncologist, had a gene mutation test done and started her on chemotherapy for five months. The chemotherapy was working at first but then her mass started to grow again, so the oncologist recommended a CT to see what else could be done for Riley. Riley’s Oncology office also told me about Dogslife and recommend I apply for a grant for Riley’s treatment.

I am very grateful for the help of this grant, and to see what the next steps are for my little Riley. I cannot tell you how many days I have spent crying over Riley’s diagnosis. She is part of my family and I love her. And I got believe she will survive this. She is only 2 ½ years old and she deserves a longer life. This grant has helped give me some hope again.  Thank you.

- Natasha Ash (April 2022)

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