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An Unbreakable Bond: Remembering Bravo

Nationwide will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation for every time this post is shared on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #CurePetCancer.

Nearly eight years ago on New Year’s Eve, Ginger Ruiz brought home an adorable 6-week-old Chow Chow puppy, naming him Bravo. Ginger has a strong love for the lion-like Chow Chow breed and has owned many throughout her life, but none have meant more to her than Bravo.

“He was such a caring and lovable puppy,” said Ginger. “We knew he was going to grow up to be a big boy because his paws were so huge. In fact they were so big that he would constantly trip over his own feet and clumsily fall down all the time.”

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Within a matter of weeks, Bravo had established himself as part of the family. However, when Bravo was just 3-months-old, Ginger suffered from an emergency medical condition and was forced to stay at the hospital for an extended period of time. Ginger recruited her father to take care of the young pup, but the transition wasn’t as smooth as expected.

“Bravo was a mess when I was in the hospital,” said Ginger. “He refused to greet my dad when he came to feed him and he hid under the bed most days. When I was finally able to return home, he was ecstatic.”

When Ginger walked in the door for the first time since being released from the hospital, Bravo sprinted and leaped into her arms. Since that day, Bravo refused to leave her side.

Over the years, Bravo matured into his paws and eventually grew to be over 90 pounds. Alongside Ginger, he enjoyed a wonderful life filled with trips to the park, frequent servings of treats, and his favorite activity – long car rides.

“He was such an amazing dog,” said Ginger. “He loved me and his Chow Chow sister Blanca so much. He even learned to accept my husband when we first started dating. I think Bravo was always a little jealous, but he welcomed him in and grew to love him.”

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Sadly, Bravo’s pleasant life was cut short abruptly. Earlier this year, Ginger was preparing to take Bravo to his routine wellness examine when she noticed that his harness seemed loose.  When they arrived at the veterinary clinic, Ginger pointed out the observation and mentioned that she had recently changed Bravo’s food, wondering if that could be the cause. The veterinary staff ran some tests and determined that Bravo had lost 12 lbs since his last visit, just three months prior. The staff was also concerned about the firmness of Bravos stomach, believing that there was a large mass inside that would require surgery.

“Everything happened so fast,” said Ginger. “It was supposed to be a quick check up, but it turned out to be the beginning of the end.”

After consulting with her veterinarian, Ginger agreed to schedule an operation for Bravo. When the veterinarians proceeded with the surgery, they made a grisly discovery. Bravo stomach was filled with cancerous growths and the disease had spread throughout his entire body. The veterinary team was forced to halt their operation and called Ginger immediately.

“It was a phone call that no one is ever prepared for,” said Ginger. “They explained everything and indicated how extensive the disease had spread. I was faced with either putting Bravo down during the surgery or hope he would wake up post operation and attempt to painfully elongate his life by just a few months at the most. I would never want him to suffer like that, so I was forced to make the choice that every pet owner fears. I had to put Bravo down.”

Since that horrible day, Ginger has joined in the fight against animal cancer and has run multiple 5K and 10K races to help raise funds for animal cancer research. Despite the pain of losing Bravo, Ginger hasn’t lost her passion for Chow Chows, and recently brought a new puppy into her home named Mister Butters to accompany Blanca. All of Ginger’s dogs are proudly insured through Nationwide.

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“All we can do is move on and remember how great of a soul Bravo was,” said Ginger. “I’m so grateful for the compassion that the veterinarians showed and for the support and kindness I received from Nationwide. My dogs are like children to me and I rest easy knowing that they are covered if anything happens,”

You can help support pets like Bravo throughout November during National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Visit http://www.curepetcancer.com to find out how you can raise awareness and $30k for cancer research. Nationwide will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation for every time this post is shared on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #CurePetCancer.

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