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About Ernie




Age: 6

Info: Ernie is a 6 and a half year old brindle greyhound who has been living with our family for the past 3 years. Our concern for Ernie's health started on February 19, 2004 with our oldest daughter finding a large lump in his lower jar. The diagnosis turned out to be leiomyosarcoma a fast growing localized cancer that is slow to spread to the rest of the body. The prognosis was dependent on resectability. Within 8 weeks of initial tumor discovery, Ernie had stopped eating and would need either surgery or he would have to be put down.  A biopsy was done on February 23, and on February 28 the veterinarian called with the results and recommended surgery along with a good prognosis. Our family was in no position to commit the financial resources required by the surgery so on February 29 we inquired about any possible programs for such situations. On March 8, Leah called back to indicate that there is a cancer society in Spruce Grove, AB that could provide financial assistance with proper qualifications.  Already feeling overwhelmed and sensing that Ernie was quickly running out of time due to the rapid growth of the tumor we resigned ourselves to palliative care to make his final days as comfortable as possible. On March 22 we happened to read a very interesting article on greyhounds written by Mark Abrams and we called him to get his perspective on our situation. He immediately directed us to the West Veterinary Specialist Center (WVSC) in Calgary who assisted us in submitting the necessary forms for the Animal Cancer Therapy Subsidization (ACTS) subsidy on March 26. Working with both Dr. Strick, Ernie's vet, and Mark Abrams we managed to get onto the agenda of the ACTSS committee's next meeting to review Ernie's application. Apparently, this committee only meets every six months and they approved Ernie's application on March 31. That same morning Ernie had chest X-rays and began IV re-hydration with an examination by surgeon Dr. Dave Szentimrey as he was admitted to WVSC for the surgery. On April 1, ACTSS called to confirm that Ernie's surgery would be partially subsidized. In addition, we learned that greyhound pet owners, Leslie and Glynis Hogle, helped raise additional funds for Ernie's surgery which took place shortly after his admission into the clinic.  Ernie returned home 4 days after his operation. Except for the adjustment that he has to make while eating now that he does not have 2/3 of his lower jaw, he has resettled back home nicely. He has regained his appetite and has stepped right back into his regular routine. His tongue does hang down and is more visible now which gives him an endearing "Harvey the Hound" look like the famous Calgary Flames mascot. Obviously, Ernie has been blessed with a group of very caring and capable people all mentioned above who were able to bring resources together in a timely manner. On behalf of our family, thank you for your kindness and generosity in keeping Ernie with his family.  Once again, thank you,  Maretta, Sharla, Emily, & Danny