Gus, The Luckiest Dog In The World

Call me Gus. I am a “lovely mix of Siberian Husky, Chow Chow and Collie with a large happy plumy tail—good with kids and other dogs—anxious and does not like to be left alone,” at least, that is how the Teterboro Animal Shelter described me on the internet. I was just 5 years old when my first human dad had to give me up. On Mother’s Day in May 2008, facing another day wagging my tail ever so much whenever kind hands reached in my pen to pet me, I was to hear just another person comment, “But, he is too old and he must weigh at least 55 pounds—too old, too large.” A woman came my way and tarried a little bit longer than most of the smiling faces. She asked if one of the volunteers at the shelter could show us to the outside pen to introduce ourselves. She was kind and sweet—I tried to impress her with my fetching skills and licked her hands after she petted me profusely. This was the day that I was “going home,” as the volunteer told me! I was chosen! I was going to start my new life with this nice lady and her husband who would become my doting new mom and my dad.

Having brought all of her pets to the Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital, my new mommy made sure I got to see one of the 4 veterinarians there—it was easy to get an appointment, the Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital is open 7 days. Over 6 years, my mommy took me there for all scheduled appointments for wellness care and for a lot of scrapes I got into---a bee sting, an infected paw that I just could not stop chewing, and a never ending bout with allergies and ear infections.

At age 7, Dr. Cerf gave me my first Senior Dog Blood Test. The report told the doctors, mom and dad a lot of things that I could not tell them—that I was healthy and feeling great! I know that cat parents are also asked to bring their cats in between the ages of 6 and 7 years of age. For larger breed dogs, Senior Blood Tests are given as early as 5 years.  Mommy continued to post on the calendar my yearly Senior Blood Test as well as my other scheduled appointments.

In June of 2014, Dr. Cerf found that my liver enzymes were really high from this Senior Blood Test. He wanted to conduct an abdominal ultrasound to see what was going on with my liver, but found no pathology in my liver or other organs. However, a cancerous tumor in the upper apex of my bladder did turn up. I will never forget THAT day…Mommy and Daddy discussed with Dr. Cerf the options to keep me alive and happy—they later sobbed and petted me and really consoled me…I feared the worst.

My transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) was detected via the abdominal ultrasound, but AFTER the Senior Blood Test picked up a high liver enzyme reading. Unlike a lot of other older dogs, I did not have clinical symptoms of bloody urine, difficulty in urinating or pain.  

The Senior Blood Test saved my life and will give me more days in the dog park, more days running around my enclosed large balcony with Puma, my girlfriend, and more days with Mommy and Daddy!  

I am now through 5 chemo treatments and I am carefully monitored with post-chemo blood tests and an abdominal ultrasound every now and then. They say that the tumor has shrunk, and for now, that is good news!

Heed the advice of your veterinarian---Senior Blood Test.

Yours truly,

Gus (the luckiest dog in the world)

Edited by Dolores Hunt-Ozdemir