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An Enduring Battle Against Cancer: Sadie’s Strength

Thirteen years ago, Jennifer Good was gift shopping at a local strip mall when she passed by a pet store. Jennifer’s husband at the time convinced her to step in and take a look. Jennifer hadn’t had a dog since she was a child and had no intention of re-kindling that type of companionship… until she laid eyes on a tiny red haired Chow and German shepherd mix puppy.

“I asked what kind of puppy she was, but instead of answering, the employee brought her out to for us to meet,” said Jennifer. “Apparently she was a stray that the store had brought in to find a home for. There was an instant connection and for some reason I said ‘she looks like a Sadie.’ Just like that, we put her in the car and she became part of my life.”

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Since that fateful day, Jennifer and Sadie have embarked on a long journey together, which has featured major changes in both of their lives. Jennifer has since re-married, made significant career alterations, and moved homes. The one constant in her life has always been her faithful fur-ball, Sadie.

“For a long time it was just her and me,” said Jennifer. “She’s really the ultimate companion. No matter where my life has taken me, Sadie has always been by my side. Our life is amazing now and Sadie couldn’t be more loved by her new family. She’s got my husband wrapped around her paw, and she was even in our wedding!”

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Sadie is loved by many people, including the staff at Happy Hounds Dog Day Care and Lodging. The lovable mutt has been going to the same doggy daycare center every Monday through Friday for nearly 10 years and has become a fixture in the staff’s day-to -day lives. Sadie has appeared in numerous calendars and newsletters for the organization and was even included in a memorial picture for the company’s recently deceased founder.

“Sadie’s daycare is an extension of our family,” said Jennifer. “They’ve meant so much to us over the years and I know how much Sadie means to them. They call her their little diva because she’s so sassy.”

One day, the daycare staff dealt with much more than Sadie’s selective hearing when they noticed blood in her urine. The staff immediately contacted Jennifer and explained what they had found. Jennifer picked Sadie up and went straight to the veterinarian. The team ran preliminary tests, and diagnosed Sadie with a Urinary Tract Infection and sent the duo home with medication. However, the medication proved unresponsive and Sadie continued to spot.  Jennifer continued to monitor the situation hoping for an improvement, until Sadie had an odd incident.

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“We weren’t sure if the medication had taken affect yet so we were giving it time,” said Jennifer. “I was loading her up in the car for daycare one morning and she just kind of collapsed. She caught herself mid fall and started to freak out. I knew something was wrong so I rushed her to the emergency veterinary hospital.”

Once at the emergency hospital, the staff ran initial tests and recommended that Sadie be seen by one of their staff specialists.  The specialist took further X-rays and the results brought forth devastating news. Sadie had a tumor on her bladder.

“I was shocked by the news,” said Jennifer. “He told us that she only had a few months to live and it left me in tears. I didn’t want to give up on her that quickly so I decided to get a second opinion.”

Jennifer decided to take Sadie to the Animal Cancer and Imaging Center in Michigan to find out what types of treatments were available to Sadie had. The staff ran further tests and set forth a plan of attack. A few weeks into her initial treatment Sadie seemed to be doing better, until Jennifer got another call from the daycare center. The staff explained that Sadie was bleeding again and this time was worse than before.

“I wasn’t sure if this was going to be the end,” said Jennifer. “I’d never want her to suffer, but she was still enjoying life so I knew we had to keep fighting. I consulted the team at the cancer center and they recommended that I take her to the Michigan State University Veterinary Medical Center, because of their advanced equipment.”

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With that recommendation, Jennifer and Sadie dressed in Spartan green and headed to the campus fueled by hope. Sadie underwent advanced screenings that were able to pinpoint the exact area of her tumor, which was located in a difficult area. After receiving the results of the extensive tests the staff gave their recommendations to the team at the Animal Cancer and Imaging Center, and Sadie immediately started on a new chemotherapy program. The vigorous treatment schedule included intravenous chemo treatments followed by antibiotics, prescriptions for pain and stomach medications. However, the concoction of treatments has worked. Sadie’s tumor is stable and while she may never be completely cancer free, she is now blessed with the opportunity to finish her final years in happiness.

As of today, Sadie is still fighting and has progressed to an easier form of oral based chemotherapy and is reacting well. Jennifer and the whole family recently celebrated Sadie’s 13th birthday and surprised her with a large puppy cake. Sadie hasn’t lost a step and still yearns to play with her friends at the day care center and never misses an opportunity to cease a treat.

“You’d never know that she’s battling cancer,” said Jennifer. “Everyone has been so amazing to us throughout this whole ordeal. The staffs at every hospital have welcomed us with open arms and made us feel completely comfortable. Nationwide has been incredible throughout the whole process. From the first time I called they always ask how Sadie is doing and have made sure that I receive the most coverage possible for her condition. Every time Sadie has needed medical help, Nationwide has been there, and it just makes me happy knowing that we’re covered.”

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You can help support pets like Sadie throughout November during National Pet Cancer Awareness Month by sharing this story with the #CurePetCancer. During the Month of November, Nationwide will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation for every picture, story or post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #CurePetCancer. Visit http://www.curepetcancer.com to find out how you can raise awareness and $50k for cancer research.

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