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Finding Comfort: Dolly’s Duel with Lymphoma

Five years ago, Amber and her husband Chris adopted a pair of retriever puppies, one being a Labrador and the other a Golden. The duo was attending dental school at the time and decided that a couple of loving pets could help provide some much needed therapy to cope with the stresses of academics. They donned the dainty dogs with the monikers Dolly and Sadie.

Since that time, Dolly the Golden retriever has grown into an immensely loving and caring dog. Not only has she grown to be Amber’s best friend, Dolly has become a mainstay at the family’s Chattanooga Dental Studio and serves as a comfort animal for patients who are nervously awaiting their procedures.

“Dolly is the gentlest dog you could imagine,” said Amber. “We put her through therapy training when she was younger and it has helped her serve as our office mascot. She’s not just a great dog, she’s a huge part of our life.”

When she’s not in the office, Dolly loves to swim and play with her sister Sadie. She’s a social butterfly around other dogs and enjoys her routine trips to the local dog parks. However, Dolly’s favorite part of life revolves around her food bowl.

“Dolly loves to eat and will do anything for a treat,” said Amber. “Her appetite has gotten her in trouble a few times. She’s been known to sneak food off the table and get her paws on snacks that aren’t hers.”

However, earlier this year, Dolly’s desire to eat bizarrely faded. The spry retriever began leaving kibble in her bowl and showing little appetite for food. The family took note of the odd behavior and planned to bring up the topic during Dolly’s routine wellness exam the following week. Unfortunately, before the day of the visit, they made a troubling discovery.

“My husband was petting Dolly when he felt a bump near her collar,” said Amber. “We looked a little closer and realized she had multiple lumps around her neck. We took her straight to the veterinary hospital to get checked out.”

The veterinary staff ran multiple tests and the results were devastating. Dolly was diagnosed with Lymphoma and would need to undergo intense treatment immediately.

“The results were heartbreaking,” said Amber. “Dolly is so special to us. It’s hard knowing that she has to go through this battle, but we’re going to do everything we can to make sure she lives the fullest and most comfortable life possible.”

Since the discovery, Dolly has been undergoing routine rounds of chemotherapy. Despite the constant medication and occasional nausea that accompanies the treatment, Dolly remains happy and upbeat. Her body has reacted well to the treatments and her cancer has stabilized, but she is far from cured.

“Dolly is fighting hard,” said Amber. “The medication has extended her time with us, but with the type of cancer she has, there’s no guarantee that it won’t come back at any moment. All that matters is that Dolly is happy and we’re going to do all we can to keep her happy.”

Dolly is currently living her life as normally as possible. She has returned to her day job as the dental office mascot and has regained her huge appetite. She’s back to catching the Frisbee and chasing her sister Sadie around the yard. Amber and the family are enjoying the time they have with Dolly and are grateful for all the support they’ve received.

“The veterinarians have done an incredible job with Dolly. We can’t thank them enough,” said Amber. “Having pet insurance for Dolly has helped out tremendously. Because of Nationwide, we’re able to afford all the treatments that Dolly needs. I don’t know what we would have done without it.”

You can help support pets like Dolly throughout November during National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Nationwide will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation on your behalf for every social media post with #CurePetCancer17. Visit www.CurePetCancer.com to find out how you can raise awareness and $50k for cancer research.

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