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I unexpectedly got Zela when I was a sophomore in college from an acquaintance. At the time I was unsure if I had made the best decision for either of us, but I quickly discovered that we would become in separatable. She is without a doubt my soul dog. I truly cannot imagine my life without her. When I found out that she was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor on her hind leg, I was in denial. I very quickly had to snap to reality when I was told she would need to see a specialist in veterinary oncology. In that moment I was scared and unsure of how, or what, treatment would look like.


At the time we were living in Alabama and saw a wonderful oncology team, but unfortunately the treatments did not go as expected. Zela had an adverse reaction with an local injectable chemotherapy option. However, at the time we thought that it had worked in getting rid of the tumor. Three months after she was completely healed and one move later, we found out that the previous treatments had not been successful. I was then referred to Dr. Bourne at the BluePearl Animal Hospital in Lewisville, TX.

After discussing treatment options, I was overwhelmed with the various possibilities as well as their cost. Between starting a new job, moving, and the cost of the previous treatments I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to afford any of the options that would have given Zela the best chance.


Thankfully, Dr. Bourne introduced me to Dogslife. I felt so much relief just hearing that there was the possibility of getting help to give Zela the treatment she deserves. Upon hearing that Zela was approved for a grant that would cover about 90% of the total cost, I couldn’t do anything except cry and hold Zela close. The generosity of the donors meant the difference between living with the unknown of what would happen without removing the tumor and her living her happiest and healthiest life. 

Although Zela is now missing a leg, she is just as active and content (if not more so!) as she was with four legs. She had surgery in February of 2024 and within three weeks she was cleared to resume normal activities and would be pulling and begging me to go on longer and longer walks. Today we get to live with the peace of knowing that the tumor was removed prior to it spreading to other areas of her body. We can celebrate her being cancer-free by going on all of the walks, eating all of the pup cups, and getting all of the cuddles. Without Dogslife, I don’t know how I would have been able to give her this chance. We are beyond grateful for this gift of a second chance at a happy and healthy life and we intend on not taking this gift for granted. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

-Emma McGill (February 2024)

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