On December 31, 2019 Whiskey turned 2(ish!) She enjoyed a trip to Flying Fish Brewery, and toy shopping at Orvis!
Her birthday cake was an Almond-Coconut cake.
Organic zucchini noodles cooked according to package directions, or make your own!
Since her last monthly check-up, Margarita had another remarkable month. She visited my school again, and made some students extremely happy!
The weeks that followed this classroom visit, however, have been an emotional rollercoaster ride.
On December 6, 2019, Margarita saw her oncologist, Dr. Risbon, for her recheck for lymphoma. During her appointment, I noticed that Margarita was drooling slightly while she was with the doctor, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. Her physical exam was normal and there was no evidence to suggest recurrence of lymphoma. Doctor Risbon could not hear her heart murmur on this day, and Rita’s heart rhythm was reported as normal. Dr. Risbon evaluated Rita’s mammary mass and shared that the thickened tissue portion was similar, and the mass that she could feel seems to have had no change from previously. Dr. Risbon also confirmed that she felt the new small nodule noted by Dr. Campbell during her last visit. Dr. Risbon was pleased with Margarita’s progress and deemed her to be about 9 months in remission. I was very grateful for this good report, but sad and fearful at the same time. This was Margarita’s last appointment with this oncologist, as Dr. Risbon is going on maternity leave, and then transferring to a facility that is out of driving range to our home. Dr. Risbon assured me that the new oncologist will take great care of Margarita, and also told me I could reach out to her at any time with questions on any new findings. We are very thankful to Dr. Risbon for seeing Margarita through her chemotherapy, and wish her the best while adding to her family and continuing her practice at a new location.
On December 9, 2019 Margarita had a visit with our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell. This visit was her monthly check up, as well as her yearly therapy dog examination. In addition, this appointment was also for bloodwork that Rita’s cardiologist, Dr. Bossbaly, requested at Rita’s last visit to test her kidney function because of the heart medication she is currently taking. Dr. Campbell examined Rita’s mammary tumors and reported that they have not changed since last visit. When Dr. Campbell asked me how I thought Rita was doing, I shared that her appetite and energy were both great. I also explained that I noticed Rita drooling slightly at her oncology appointment, and that was something I had never observed before. I almost didn’t even bring it up – but so thankful now that I did. Dr. Campbell then looked at Rita’s gums and said that they didn’t look super pale, but she just wasn’t 100% happy with the color she saw. Dr. Campbell suggested we do some additional blood work beyond the tests Dr. Bossbaly requested for kidney function. I didn’t worry too much about Rita’s gum coloring, and honestly didn’t expect much to come of the bloodwork that Dr. Campbell sent off for testing.
On December 10, 2019 Dr. Campbell called us with the bloodwork results. Much to our dismay, Margarita’s liver values were through the roof. Dr. Campbell explained that the drooling could likely be caused from nausea if something was abnormal in her biliary tract. Rita’s liver values are below:
Dr. Campbell had us schedule the first appointment we could secure with Chief of Diagnostic imaging, Dr. Alexander “Sandy” MacLeod at VSEC. The first available we could schedule was December 19, 2019. Brian and I were nervous to wait that long, so Dr. Campbell had me bring Margarita to her office that evening to do a brief abdominal ultrasound. Dr. Campbell observed that Rita’s liver and gallbladder were somewhat enlarged. She shared that this may be cholestasis caused by the “backing up” of chemo drugs. She started Rita on a low dose (125mg once daily) of Ursodiol in hopes that we’d see a marked difference at the time of her abdominal ultrasound at VSEC.
If you have been following Rita’s Lymphoma Journey from the beginning, you may be thinking that “Dr. Macleod” sounds familiar. That’s because Dr. Alexander “Sandy” MacLeod’s wife, Dr. Jennifer MacLeod is the doctor who performed Rita’s splenectomy.
Dr. Sandy MacLeod performed an abdominal ultrasound on December 19, 2019. Despite the Ursodiol Margarita was taking, there had been no difference in Rita’s condition. His findings were as follows:
Although I was thrilled that her lymph nodes were normal, I was devastated to hear the word “nodule.” Dr. MacLeod explained that the liver findings could be due to hepatitis , toxic insult, infiltration (recurrence of lymphoma) or other hepatopathy. Dr. MacLeod was most concerned that the findings could be the Lymphoma reappearing with a new disguise, so he recommended a guided needle aspirate of the liver nodule and its surrounding tissue for cytologic analysis, which was done during that same appointment. Dr. MacLeod shared that the mild stomach thickening and dilation is most consistent with gastritis.
We received a call from Dr. MacLeod on December 21, 2019. The first thing Dr. MacLeod said was “It’s not Lymphoma.” To say we were relieved was an understatement – hearing this was THE best Christmas gift ever! BUT…what WAS causing the high liver values, enlarged liver , thickening of the stomach, and enlarged gal bladder? This remains unknown. Dr. MacLeod suggested that we do the same bloodwork again with Dr. Campbell to compare Margarita’s liver values in a few more days to see if they corrected themselves now that Rita has been on Ursodiol for a longer period of time. He added that if the liver values do not improve, it would be time to see an Internal Medicine Specialist.
On the morning of December 26, 2019 I took Rita to or primary veterinarian’s office. Dr. Campbell drew Margarita’s blood, and sent the sample out to the lab. Later that evening, Dr. Campbell called us with the results. Margarita’s liver values had increased yet again, despite the Ursodiol she had been taking. The results are below:
These were obviously not the results we were hoping for. Dr. Campbell directed us to stop the Ursodiol and suggested we make the first available appointment with Dr. Klag , the Chief of Internal Medicine at VSEC. Dr. Klag is the Doctor that first saw Margarita in January 2019. Margarita has an appointment set with Dr. Klag for January 16, 2020 (his first available). I also requested to be put on a cancelation list in hopes of getting a sooner appointment. However I was told they do not do a waiting/cancelation list for the Internal Medicine department. I explained that we have been put on a waiting/cancellation list at VSEC in the past for other doctors and departments – such as Dr. Bossbaly in the Cardiology department. I expressed my frustration and disappointment to the staff member making the appointment. The woman I was speaking to informed me that Dr. Klag would return to the office from his Holiday Break on January 2nd. Additionally, I sent an email directly to Dr. Klag to inform him of the events and multiple diagnoses that have taken place since he last saw Margarita in order to explain the urgency behind our request for a sooner appointment. Lastly, I will be calling VSEC 2-3 times a day leading up to the scheduled appointment in hopes of catching a cancellation that would otherwise go unannounced due to the department’s lack of waiting list.
Although these past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for us, I am grateful for every single day that Rita is still riding. Brian and I entered the front seat of this roller coaster prepared for the peaks of celebrations, the abrupt falls, and the mysterious turns Lymphoma would throw at us. Positivity and vigilance are key. Although it is a scary ride, I will be keeping my eyes wide open. Had I neglected to mention that little bit of drool to Dr. Campbell, Rita’s roller coaster could have spun out of our control before we knew what hit us. I am embracing the highs and lows of this scary ride. I celebrate and appreciate each peak – and I’m accepting the plummeting falls as more knowledge that I hope will not only help Rita continue to take a bite out of Lymphoma, but also assist other pups and PAWrents in the future.
Keep those prayers coming – and buckle up – we may be in for a rough ride ahead.
Following her monthly appointments, Margarita enjoyed a small portion of a beef and cheese quesadilla from Wawa.
Porter went on his first hike in Black Run Preserve.
The Black Run Preserve is 1,300 acres of permanently preserved land in Evesham Township. A teacher that I used to work with retired in 2012 and helped found the Friends of the Black Run Preserve volunteer organization. Their mission is to preserve and protect the unique natural beauty and Pine Barrens ecology.
Porter also enjoyed Porter enjoyed a birthday breakfast of a ham/egg/cheese on an english muffin with a side of tater tots🥯. His birthday dinner was a Surf-n-Turf filet mignon and salmon with a side of green beans and sweet potato🥩🍣🥔. His birthday dessert was an apple cinnamon cake🎂.
This recipe can be used as a cake, or for mini or full-size cupcakes!
Remember to use this recipe as a treat in moderation. Too many treats can give your dog an upset stomach and create gastric intestinal distress.
Margarita had an exciting and busy month. She traveled all the way to Iowa on an 11-day trip to cheer on her brothers and sisters at the DockDogs World Championship.
We also did our part to participate in National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day, by publishing a post to help others understand this disease and to learn how to check your dog for signs of cancer.
Back in July 2019, Margarita was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomiopathy, thought to be caused by Doxorubicon (Adriamycin) toxicity. Rita’s heart was enlarged, and she had a grade 3 heart murmur with ventricular premature contractions. On November 5, 2019 Margarita saw her cardiologist, Dr. Bossbaly for her 4-month re-check.
Rita waited patiently for Dr. Bossbaly:
Dr. Bossbaly did a a recheck EKG and echocardiogram. Rita’s heart murmur was graded as a 2 out of 6. The murmur was described as a wispy band shaped holosystolic murmur at the left apex, and audible only faintly on the right. Her heart rate was 118 bpm and regular, and her lungs were also clear. Additionally, there was also no arrhythmia recorded at this time on a long-recorded EKG as well as during the entire echocardiogram.
This means that Margarita’s heart disease is it stable on the current medication. Even though Margarita’s heart showed improvement, Dr. Bossbaly wants her to continue with her current medication and supplements until we have the next scheduled cardiology appointment in 6-8 months. Margarita’s current medication and supplement schedule will remain as follows:
With the indication of Margarita’s marked improvement last month, I must admit that I neglected to continue monitoring her sleeping respiratory rate (SRR), thinking it wouldn’t be necessary considering she was making such great improvements. I was incorrect. Dr. Bossbally instructed me to resume tracking Rita’s SSR. Dr. Bossbaly explained that even when improvement is noted, taking Margarita’s SSR is extremely important for anticipating fluid shifts and the onset of congestive heart failure. For those of you wondering why it is important to monitor your pup’s sleeping respiratory rate and how to count/track it, here is the information I was given:
Lastly, I discussed the possible removal and biopsy of Rita’s mammary mass with Dr. Bossbaly. Doctor Bossbaly explained that Rita is still at a higher risk. If it becomes necessary for the mass to be removed and biopsied, Dr. Bossbaly’s suggestion is to have it done at VSEC were a board-certified anesthesiologist can monitor the protocol that Dr. Bossbaly recommends. If we would rather have the mass removed by our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell, the procedure can be sent over to Dr. Campbell for her to decide if she is comfortable doing the surgery along with the recommended protocol.
On November 15 Margarita had a visit with her oncologist, Dr. Risbon. Rita’s physical examination was normal, and there was no evidence to suggest recurrence of lymphoma. Dr. Risbon could not hear a heart murmur today, and reported that Rita’s heart rhythm is normal. Dr. Risbon also evaluated Rita’s mammary mass and said she thought the thickened tissue portion appears to feel smaller. However, the small mass (approximately 3-5 mm) seems unchanged from previously. Dr. Risbon shared that she is pleased with Margarita’s progress, and feels as though she is doing well in maintaining her remission.
Margarita made a very short surprise-visit with me at my school and made some students extremely happy!
We kept the visit with the kids to only 30 minutes. The visit was perfect and did not exhaust Rita.
On November 22 Margarita visited with our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell for her monthly post-oncology appointment. Dr. Campbell said she was very pleased with the improvement in Margarita’s heart murmur, as well as her Lymphoma remission. While the original mammary mass was being checked, Dr. Campbell found a second tumor on a different gland.
Mammary tumors are extremely common in female dogs – especially those who were spayed later in life. Spaying a female after the first or second heat cycle significantly reduces the risk of the dogs developing a mammary tumor. Since Margarita was not spayed until we took her in as a foster at age 6-ish, we knew mammary issues were a possible issue. If you are reading this and are immediately thinking, “Why is the vet not aspirating the mass to look at the cells?”… then you are not alone. I immediately asked Dr. Campbell if we could aspirate the original mass when it was discovered. Dr. Campbell explained that unfortunately a fine needle aspiration of the mass usually has a very low diagnostic value when it comes to discerning between malignant or benign tumors. Unfortunately, the only way to diagnose a mammary tumor as benign or malignant is to surgically remove them and send the mass out for a biopsy.
The good news is that Dr. Campbell explained that approximately 50% of mammary tumors are benign. My immediate response was, “What if the masses are malignant?” Dr. Campbell informed me that even if the masses are removed and found to be malignant, there is no proven effectiveness of chemotherapy for the treatment of malignant mammary tumors in dogs. If deemed necessary, the tumors would be removed and the biopsy would tell us a more detailed story of what treatment (if any) would be needed.
I have many other questions about these tumors – such as the prognosis if they are found to be malignant. I know the best prognosis is directly associated with early detection. I decided it was best to not ask any other questions until I “have” to, and to do my best to remain positive that Margarita will be lucky enough to be included in the “50% benign” grouping. In the meantime, I am focusing on the many good days we have celebrated with Margarita, and extremely thankful that I have Dr. Campbell as such a patient and informative teacher during this process.
Margarita will continue to see Dr. Campbell on a monthly basis so that both Margarita’s oncologist and Dr. Campbell can keep a close watch on the mammary masses in order to determine the best plan for Margarita moving forward.
Margarita enjoyed a few bites of a grilled cheese from Panera Bread!
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month for both people and dogs. This life-long condition has no cure and is extremely unpredictable, which is why it is important to continue to educate, spread awareness, and support continued research.
Most dogs will show signs epilepsy between the ages of 1-3. It is nearly impossible to know exactly when a dog might have a seizure.
Seeing a dog have a seizure can be very unsettling. The dog may fall over, become stiff, convulse, drool, and become vocal. Dogs may lose control of their bladder and/or bowels and sometimes will also vomit.
Seizure recovery can vary from dog to dog. Some may recover very quickly, and others could take 24 hours or more. After a seizure the dog may be disoriented, pace back and forth, or exhibit extreme thirst.
Epilepsy is a diagnosis of exclusion. Your veterinarian will first need to rule out that your dog doesn’t have a different disease or condition that causes the seizures. The doctor may do blood tests, x-rays, an MRI, and/or a spinal tap. Once the veterinarian rules out the other possible diagnoses, they can conclude that a dog has epilepsy.
Want to learn more? Here are a few informative links:
Vinyl Brewing in the heart of Hammonton, NJ definitely makes our favorites list!
November 7th is National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day. This day is meant to educate and create awareness about this disease.
Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in dogs. Any breed of dog, at any age, can get lymphoma. Although lymphoma can attack any organ in the body, it most commonly presents itself in the organs of the immune system such as the lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow.
The cause of lymphoma is not well understood. However, it is believed that there are environmental contributors to lymphoma such as chemicals and pollutants.
National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day reminds PAWrents to stay vigilant and to check your fur-kids regularly.
Be their eyes. Be there ears. Be their voice. Be their HERO. Chase Away K9 Cancer provides great resources on how and when to check your pup for possible signs of cancer.
Margarita checked off another Adventure List item!
Everyone red meat-eater has their favorite steakhouse, right? Well, Brian’s preferred high-end steakhouse is a a place called The Library II . Now I don’t eat meat at all, but I must say, this place is one of my favorites too… for their famous (and huge!) all-you-can-eat salad bar!
The Library II has been in business since 1942. This restaurant has long been a New Jersey landmark and neighborhood favorite with its distinctive “library” atmosphere and unique serving style. They are well-known for their steaks, surf-and-turf, and salad bar.
When ordering here, you meet your chef at the kitchen window, where he/she will help you select the perfect cut of steak, or your choice of lobster tail.
Not a meat or seafood eater? No problem! The Library has one of the largest salad bars I have ever seen…and best of all: The salad bar is “all you can eat!” Beyond the “normal” salad bar items, the Library II salad bar has an extensive assortment of fruits, vegetables, artisan breads, and gourmet cheeses!
Margarita’s filet mignon:
Margarita enjoyed her fancy steak!
Who you gonna call?!
Our 5th year attending the DockDogs World Championship was fun and exciting! We want to congratulate all competitors for the accomplishment of making it to Worlds, and for the amazing performances of all your dogs! It was quite amazing to see world records being broken in person! We also would like to applaud all those who made finals! It was an honor to share the dock with you all!
First and foremost, we are beyond grateful that our pack had no health issues or injuries throughout the competition. We had an absolute blast playing with our pups and spending time with friends – both old and new. Four straight 8-hour long competition days was a lot to ask of our pups, and we are extremely proud of both their endurance and performance. Above all, our hearts are filled with joy to have seen our pups have fun all week long doing what they love best.
We could not have been more excited to see this little Dock Diving Diva back up on the dock! After a forced medical retirement, Limoncello kicked heart-disease-butt and was cleared to compete again. She did an amazing job during her competitions!
Brian and I could not be more proud…Hooch is the 2019 #1 ranked German Shorthaired Pointer!
We did not make it to the Gala since were were worried about leaving Porter at night. I regret not being able to be there in person to accept Hooch’s award, but after the year our pack had, just being at the World Championship was a blessing. Hooch’s achievement of the #1 ranking is an awesome bonus! Hooch, you are an amazing little dude…it has been my honor to be on the dock with you. I love you, buddy!
For those of you who don’t know Hooch very well, he started out as a pup scared of the water, then branded his signature “Hoochie Hop” ….and then quickly evolved into a pretty impressive jumper, earning DockDogs Most Improved Dog his first year if competition, as well as the #1 GSP 3 times now. Below is the link to the video of his progression from not jumping at all to soaring over 24 feet at 1 year old!
Lager had an impressive showing, and was very close to making finals this year!
We very much appreciate all those who took the time to stop and say hello to Margarita while she was out-and-about since she was under the impression that it was her job to greet EVERYone in the competition arena!
Whiskey may not have gotten wet at the World Championship, but she sure won over the crowd with her shenanigans on the dock!
A HUGE heartfelt thank you to all those who stopped to say hello to Porter, asking how he was doing, and to those who kept an extra eye on him in Dog Town while we were on the competition floor.
Margarita had her monthly checkup at her primary veterinarian as well as with her oncologist…and I’m happy to report that’s there’s not much to report!
On 10/16 Rita saw Dr. Campbell, her primary veterinarian at Old York Veterinary Hospital for her monthly check up. I reported our observations of increased energy and appetite. Dr. Campbell listened to Rita’s heart and said that she could not detect a murmur! We are very anxious to get to the cardiologist next month to see what the echocardiogram reveals. Dr. Campbell examined the mammary mass and said that she said that she did not feel as though it has changed from the last visit. I was very pleased with this checkup!
On 10/18 Margarita saw Dr. Risbon, her oncologist at Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (VSEC). Dr. Risbon listened to Rita’s heart. Like Dr. Campbell, said that she did not hear a murmur and reported that Rita’s heart rhythm is normal! Dr. Risbon also agreed that the mammary mass did not feel as though it has changed from the last visit. Dr. Risbon shared that she is very pleased with Rita’s progress and that she is doing well as she enters her 7th month in remission. Wait… SEVEN months??? I was confused. I explained that Rita had finished her last chemotherapy treatment in July, so my understanding is that October would only make 3 months in remission. Dr. Risbon explained that they count remission months from the date of diagnosis (Rita’s Lymphoma diagnosis date was March 13, 2013) when chemo is started immediately and no signs of reoccurrence are present…so this month, Rita is considered to be in her 7th month of remission!! I also learned that Dr. Risbon will be leaving VSEC as of December 6, 2019. She and her husband are having another child, so she will be relocating to a hospital near her home in order to be in closer proximity to her family. Although I very much respect that decision to relocate and am very happy for Dr. Risbon and her family, we are disappointed that we will not be able to continue Rita’s Lymphoma follow-up care with her. Brian and I will have to make a decision to travel close to 2 hours a month to continue to see Dr. Risbon, or to find another oncologist to continue following Margarita’s case. We will be discussing our decision together along with our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell.
This month Margarita enjoyed a treat from Smashburger after her oncology appointment.
She had a cheeseburger topped with a fried egg!
Margarita also enjoyed some crispy Brussels sprouts!
Margarita will see both Dr. Campbell and Dr. Risbon again next month.
Month 2 of remission was a great one for Sweet Reet! She has been even more spunky and energetic, and playful than ever! We are celebrating every single day with this angel, as we know she is one of the lucky ones to have taken a bite out of cancer. Even though Rita’s Lymphoma is no longer observable and is no longer causing symptoms, we know there can still be millions of cells remaining in her body that cannot be detected at this time. The cells can keep growing and eventually the cancer may again be able to be detected, which would be considered a relapse. With a focus on Margarita’s wellness…good nutrition, supplements, exercise, and happiness…we are remaining positive and hopeful that Margarita took a big enough bite out of Lymphoma to enjoy many more years of happiness!
Check out the video below to see what toy she pulled out of the box first!
We were blown-away at this extremely generous gesture, and can’t wait to return to Wayback Burger to use the included gift certificate to get Margarita another treat!
Month 2 Oncology Recheck
On September 10th, Margarita saw her oncologist, Dr. Risbon. Rita’s physical examination was normal and there is no evidence to suggest recurrence of lymphoma at this time. Doctor’ Risbon can hear you very faint murmur on Margarita’s left side when using a stethoscope. I informed Dr. Risbon that I am trying to obtain an appointment sooner that the scheduled November date with Dr. Bossbaly, the cardiologist. Dr. Risbon agreed that Margarita’s heart seems to improved so much that she is hopeful for a confirmation from the cardiologist that the heart has healed itself to some degree.
Dr. Risbon also examined Rita’s mammary mass. She can still feel the small mass (3-5 mm) in association with the nipple which she feels is unchanged from previously. The mass will continue to be monitored for changes/growth. Only if there are changes to the mass will surgery be considered, pending an approval for anesthesia from Dr. Bossbaly.
Dr. Risbon also recommended holding off on vaccines at this time in order to avoid any unnecessary immune system stimulation as this could risk causing a relapse. She said that flea/tick medication and heartworm preventative is fine for continued use.
Month 2 Primary Veterinarian Recheck
Margarita also saw our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell, for her monthly check-up on September 19th. The last few days leading up to this appointment I felt as though Rita’s mammary mass had changed a bit. When I checked it the day before her visit, there was what appeared to be a cut on her nipple, and the tissue of the mass seemed to feel different and a bit larger. Dr. Campbell examined it, and agreed. Upon further examination, Rita’s nipple is now excreting a bloody discharge, which is not a good sign. Dr. Campbell said that if Rita had not just been through chemotherapy, she would choose to remove the mass immediately. However, Margarita’s case is very complex. The decision was to continue to watch the mass over the next month and reexamine it in October as long as there are no major changes. The hope is to wait until November when Margarita will see her cardiologist. At that time Margarita’s heart disease will be reassessed, and we will know if she is cleared to handle anesthesia or not. Of course if there happens to be remarkable changes in the mammary gland mass in the meantime, this course of action may have to be altered.
The good news is that aside from the mammary gland mass, Dr. Campbell said Rita’s heart sounds great, and her respiratory rate is normal!
Post 2-Month Check-Up Treat
This month, Margarita enjoyed a treat from Five Guys!
She had a bacon cheese dog, and fries!
As always, thank you for joining Margarita in her journey to take a bite out Lymphoma.
BOK to School!
What a cool place to spend a Sunday-Funday during Back-to-School season!
Bok Bar is located on the rooftop of a closed technical high school. The rooftop bar is dog friendly on Sundays after 2pm.
It was neat walking through the hallway of the school to get to the elevator which led to the rooftop!
The bathrooms were left just as they were when the high school was open!
Margarita enjoyed snoozing on the rooftop!
Check out the views!
Margarita visited the Cherry Street Pier!
Cherry Street Pier is a dog-friendly, “mixed-use” public space within a century-old pier on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, PA.
Cherry Street Pier was originally built in 1919 as a shipping pier . You can still see the original railroad tracks, and steel trussed roof.
There is an open-air garden under the Pier’s historic steel trussed roof. Here you will find concessions sold out of historic train cars! There is also many beautiful views of the Delaware River.
We took a break down by the river and enjoyed a beverage.
Margarita snoozed along the Delaware River just beyond the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
One of the most yummy (and fun!) Adventure List Items check off!
Rita performed her very own “Pat’s vs. Geno’s” taste test.
Click on the video below to see which famous Philadelphia cheesesteak joint she thinks is the best!
Our favorite trip and event of the year… K9 Central!
This was Limoncello’s first DockDogs event since she was released from medical retirement!
20’0″ 2nd Place
24’9″ Second Place Elite
24’3″ First Place Elite
Finals: 23’2″ 4th Place
2999.86 seconds Second Place Nitro
2999.86 points 1st Place Gladiator
21’7″ 2nd Place Master
21’1″ 2nd Place Master
21’2″ 1st Place Master
Finals: 20’6″ 2nd place
Margarita enjoyed taking long walks around the property.
6’2″ 2nd Place Novice
7’10” 1st Place Novice
Porter enjoyed chilling with his Pop!
Not to be outdone by her brother, Hooch, who modeled for Subaru of America, Inc. last year, Limoncello also scored a modeling gig with Subaru of America ! She is now featured on the website, and will be seen in dealership brochures and on dealership posters this fall! You can see her on the Subaru website by clicking the link below. Then scroll down to the accessories and navigate to: Featured>Seat cover>Click right arrow to next pick of Cello! ✨🚙💛
Porter and Whiskey visited Island Beach State Park to take a walk on the beach, and experience the ocean for the first time!
First Month in Remission
I am extremely happy to report that his past month has been everything we could hope for. Margarita regained her appetite, strength and desire to run and play in the yard. Her hair has filled in nicely, and her “piggy pink” pigment is returning.
Brian and I are overwhelmed with gratitude as love and support from family and friends continues to fill our hearts. I received this most thoughtful gift box from a very a special friend.
Since out last post, Margarita also received this amazing gift basket from the office manager at VSEC who is one of the sweetest gals we have met!
We also had the pleasure of spending time with friends at a dock diving event who passed on a very personal and special gift. The weekend that Margarita ended up in the emergency room we were supposed to attend at dock diving competition. We of course had to instead stay home that weekend. Friends of ours had brought a gift for us that weekend. This past week while we attended a competition at Hog Dog Productions, we met up with our friends who gave us this very meaningful gift.
This couple got a set of these glasses because they also had a dog who had cancer, who sadly passed. We are beyond honored to have been gifted this glass, and plan to make many toasts to Margarita during her journey. The man who makes these beer glasses has a Golden Retriever named Indiana Jones, who unfortunately was diagnosed with osteosarcoma just days after his seventh birthday. You can view Indy’s Facebook page by clicking HERE where Indy’s dad shares his beloved pup’s story of cancer.
1 Month Recheck
On August 8th, Margarita saw her oncologist, Dr. Risbon for her 1 month re-check. Her physical examination was normal and we are extremely grateful that there was no evidence to suggest recurrence of the lymphoma. However, the abnormal tissue felt during her emergency room visit now has developed what seems to be an additional mass of about 5mm.
Although this was not at all what I wanted to hear, I knew that Margarita would be predisposed to mammary tumors because she was not spayed until after 6 years of age when she came to us as a GSP Rescue of NJ foster dog. Dr. Risbon explained that mammary tumors have a 50% chance of being benign and a 50% of being malignant. Ideally, the mammary gland should be removed and submitted for biopsy. In many cases, even if the tumor is found to be malignant, Dr. Risbon explained the recommendation is for surgery alone (no chemo). The prognosis is 2-3 years if the tumor is found to be malignant. Due to the Dilated Cardiomyopathy brought on by the chemotherapy drugs, if surgery is to be performed, Margarita would need clearance from her cardiologist, Dr. Bossbaly. Margarita will see our primary veterinarian next week where we will discuss whether or not surgery is an option, or if we will continue to monitor the mass each month.
I am not going to loose faith, or diminish our hope for Margarita to have many more years ahead to enjoy life as she deserves after what she endured prior to her adoption. She has survived through more situations and illnesses than most dogs are able to endure. Even through her toughest times, she has met each challenge with such grace and courage. Even if what is thought to be a mass turns out to be malignant, we are confident that Margarita will once again be victorious.
Margarita will see Dr. Risbon again next month for a recheck.
1 Month Re-check with Rita’s Primary Veterinarian
On August 14, Margarita saw our primary veterinarian, Dr. Helen Campbell at Old York Veterinary Hospital. I am thrilled to report that the murmur discovered along with the Dilated Cardiomyopathy during week 15 of her chemotherapy plan sounds to Dr. Campbell like it has significantly improved to the point of not being heard with a stethoscope! This originally was thought to be permanent damage, so we are overjoyed to hear this news! This is also great news in the event the mammary mass is removed. We have put a call in to Margarita’s cardiologist, Dr. Bossbaly, at VSEC to see if we can get a sooner appointment than the original 4-month check up scheduled with Dr. Bossbaly in November in hopes to verify her improvement and hopefully reduce or stop her heart medication, Pimobendan. We have to keep a close eye on the mammary mass. If we do not see any changes in the mass in the meantime, Margarita will see Dr. Campbell again next month for a re-check.
Post 1-Month-Check-Up Treat
Margarita stopped at Wayback Burger !
She enjoyed bites of a bacon cheeseburger and tater-tots!
Tom’s Cove Park, located on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, overlooks Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague Island National Seashore Park.
This was our first time camping in Chincoteague. We enjoyed the views, and the dogs very much enjoyed bird-watching all weekend!
Margarita LOVED being on the pier and watching the boats and birds!
Margarita and her main-man, Mr. Spock, did some bird watching together on the pier!
Camping in Virginia also allowed Porter to add a state to his “States Visited Map!”
We stayed on site P65 with a great view of the water (light pink sites closest to the waterfront sites).
Sunrise views from our campsite:
Hooch at our campsite:
Limoncello enjoyed “hunting” golf carts down all weekend from our campsite!
We found out that Porter loves riding in a golf cart!
Whiskey enjoyed people-watching from the camper.