Sawyer Shurkoff Chemo/Medical

It’s Going to Be Okay

July 19, 2017


Hey Sawyer, whys we gets peanut butter kongs (nom nom lick) before dinner?

Sawyer: Cuz I went to the doctor today, Em. (lick lick)

Emery: (lick lick) You saws Aunt Brenda?! I ruffs Aunt Brenda…

Sawyer: No Em, I didn’t see Aunt Brenda.

Emery: Huh?! Who you sees today, Sawyer?!

Sawyer: I saw a special doggie doctor today. I saw Dr. Kate Vickery at Hope Veterinary Specialists. She had a special friend with her and his name was Devon. He is studying to be a vet, so he sat in on our visit.

Emery: Whys? Whys a special doggie doctor, Sawyers?? What does Dr. Vickery do?

Sawyer: Because mom and dad found lumps on my neck, that’s why…(lick lick) and Dr. Vickery is an oncologist.

Emery: Lumps!?!? What kind of lumps, Sawyers? Lady lumps? Old man lumps? What’s an ona-counta-lotta-gist?

Sawyer: Em, How’s your kong, baby girl? Is it good? Yummy, right?!

Emery: Whys you call me that, Sawyers? You call me Rapta, Em, Emmers, Slinky, pain in your fluffy… Sawyers, you scaring me…

Sawyer: Emmy, listen, everything is going to be okay. An oncologist is a special doctor who can tell what the lumps are and how to best treat them. We found out today that I have lymphoma, at least stage 2a (mandibular +/- prescapular lymph nodes).

Emery: I dunno whats that, but I don’t like it…GRRRRRR…I don’t likey at all. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Sawyer: It’s cancer, Emery. I guess I’m a little bit sick. Funny, cuz I feel fine! My nom noms are delish. My poo is perfectly poo-ey, and you know how much fun we have playing. So I feel kinda ok.

Emery: You gonna be otay, Sawyer? (whimper whimper) If I stops Rapta-ing you will it be all better? I’ll stop, Sawyer, I will! I promise!!!

Sawyer: Yeah, yes I am going to be okay, my little Rapta. You have done NOTHING wrong, okay? This is NOT your fault! It’s just part of life, Emery. You see, I’m a Golden Retriever Dog, and Golden Retriever Dogs are very prone to cancer.  We are exceptionally prone to lymphoma. I think one out of eight Golden Retriever Dogs suffer from cancer. My spirit mention, Riley, mom and dad’s first golden retriever pup, he had it too.

Emery: SUFFER??!! Nooooooo!!!!! I don’t want my Whoobee to suffer!!! No! No! No! I’m a Golden Retriever Dog, too, right? Can I take the cancer away from you?

Sawyer: No, no…I won’t suffer. I didn’t mean it like that. I might get a little sick from the chemo, like I did last night…the great big pike of puke Ranger Rick cleaned up. (good daddy!!) But I won’t suffer. The Love Monster, Ranger Rick and Dr. Aunt Brenda won’t let me suffer. This, I know. And no, you are not a Golden Retriever Dog. You are a dog, but you are a beautiful Labrador Retriever /American Stafford Terrier Rapta mix.

Emery: Otay. I trust you, and the Love Monster, and Ranger Rick, and Aunt Brenda… Sawyer, you always tells me how beautiful and smarts I am. You also call me a brat, sos… I still ruffs you! KEE-MOE. I don’t like it. It sounds yucky.

Sawyer: Well, it kinda is. It’s a very special, and very expensive medicine that I got today to help me. It really sucked, but Nurse Becky and her friends gave me extra EXTRA special lovins while I was getting my chemo. Hehehe… she admitted to mom and dad that they kept me in back longer than “necessary” cuz they liked lovin up on me so much! Xoxoxo! I pulled out some show-stoppers for them like, “show me handsome” and “gimme paw”… did my basic commands… you know, I just turned on the charm like I usually do. And I gave them a little wiggle of my big ole foofy fluffy booty. Gets ‘em every time…

Emery: I sooooooooo sad…..soooooooooo sad….(whimper whimper)

Sawyer: Hey, listen… I don’t want you to be sad. Cuz it’s all gonna be okay. Do you want to know the secret to beating this cancer?

Emery: Uh…DUH!!!!!! Yeah!!! I could chew it outta ya! We could tinkle on it!

Sawyer: Well, those are some really great ideas, but… First, we have to stay really happy and really positive and we need to keep living life as we always have, okay? Cuz love and silly biznass and normal stuff, that’s some of the best medicine there is. And, it’s free. Good lovin is always free.

Emery: Gotcha. We can do that. (sniffle sniffle) I dos anything for you, Sawyer! I can be bouncy and happy and we can chase in the house and play all kinds of fun games together. All of us. Can you still visit and do the PAWS for People and visit the Coatesville and Downingtown libraries? I like it when you tells me your stories of all your friends. I hope I gets to meet them somesday.

Sawyer: Yeah, we are definitely gonna play silly games! The Love Monster said we can all play ball in the house, too! YAY! I have to go every week to visit Dr. Vickery and Nurse Becky and my new sweet friends at Hope Vet Specialists so they can check my blood and give me my special icky chemo medicine. I’m getting a total of three different alternating chemo drugs. I’ll do this for one month and then we’ll see how I’m doing. If it’s a good response, then I’ll do this for another three months, for a total of four months of chemo. Doctor said as long as I’m ok with doing PAWS, she’s ok with it. But the final decision is up to the Love Monster and Ranger Rick. They will make sure I’m feeling well enough to share the golden love.

Emery: Oh Sawyer! That sounds so yucky and extapensive!

Sawyer: Yucky, yup, but I should be okay. I’m big bear! I’m really strong and mom and dad will make sure I get everything I need and more to stay strong. Maybe a little bit of vomit here and there from the chemo medicine, but it ain’t nothing for today’s carpet cleaner to soak up! It just gets US more boiled chicken and boiled beef, more peanut butter kongs… I’m gonna score BIG for us, Em! TREATS TREATS AND MORE TREATS PAWLEEEEZE! Expensive, yes, it sure is. But that’s for mom & dad to figure out. I know they will. The Love Monster and Ranger Rick said that’s not for us to even worry about. Okay?

Emery: Otay. But I still worries. So after the Kee-kee-moe…

Sawyer: CHEMO

Emery: Yeah, whatever, will you be all better?

Sawyer: I sure hope so, Emery. Dr. Vickery sent my pathology, a sample of my cells from one of my lumps, to the lab to figure out what kind of lymphoma I have, B-Cell vs T-Cell, so we know how to best attack it. I know that I’m going to do everything I can to be around for as long as I can.

Emery: Where would you go, Sawyers? Be around as long as you can?? But, what about our adventures together? We just started! You have to teaches me more, we have to explore more…(sniffle whimper WHIMPER) Please don’t leave me Sawyer…

Sawyer: Oh Emmy, my sweet little Rapta. Here’s the thing…the ones we love, never ever really leave us. Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t with us in our hearts and in our memories. They live with every story we tell. They live with every picture we see. They live in the sun that warmly greets us each morning and they live moon that lights our path at night. Every time you see a twinkling star, that’s your loved one smiling down on you, letting you know they are never far away. The ones we love become part of our hearts, so they are ALWAYS with us, just like I will ALWAYS be with you and you will ALWAYS be with me. Our adventures have just begun, my sweet little brat! And the best part about it is this…our adventures, The Adventures of Sawyer and the Rock Bottom Ridge Pack, not only are they just beginning, but they will never, ever end. This, I promise you. So wipe away those tears, sis, cuz those gosh darn bunny twins that keep eating the Love Monster’s flowers, the ones that mock us from the front window…. Well, they are currently sitting outside in the garden right this very minute and I’m about to convince Ranger Rick that we both have to tinkle so this is our chance to show ‘em that ain’t nobody gonna mess with the Love Monster’s flowers….not as long as the Rock Bottom Ridge Pack is around!

Emery: I ruffs you so much, Sawyer.

Sawyer; I ruffs you, too, Emery.

Love Monster: Okay you two, time for one last potty break before bedtime. Go outside with Ranger Rick. Then upstairs for some Love Monster attacks before sleepy time.


Love Monster: Now that the pups are gone…

Ranger Rick and I just wanted to lovingly thank everyone for the wonderful messages you have sent to Sawyer, to Emery and to us! We are so sorry it took so long to share a pupdate on Sawyer. As you can imagine, we’ve just been processing the news, absorbing all the information, treatment course and options, next steps and frankly, we’ve been lovin’ on up on Sawyer and visiting with friends as we share the developments from the day. It’s been a day…that is for sure.

Lymphoma is very common in Goldens, unfortunately. And while the long-term prognosis is bleak, that doesn’t mean the end is near. It just means that we need to help Sawyer kick this cancer into remission so he can go to continue to live a full and meaningful life a little bit longer. This pup has done so much good for so many in need, and in his community, and he’s not done yet. He’s got more to give…more that he WANTS to give.

For those of you that know Sawyer, you know he’s one truly special pup. Our once-in-a-thousand-life-times pup, as I call him. He’s sure to put a smile on your face and love in your heart if you are lucky enough to cross paths with him, and that’s no lie.

We made Sawyer ours at 8 weeks of age from Weber’s Golden Retrievers. He was the first litter to Annie and Quigley, June 7, 2009. And the first time I held him, I looked into his big beautiful brown eye and I promised him that from that moment on, I’d be his mama, Ranger Rick would be his daddy, and I would make sure he would have the best life, from start to finish. I’m not breaking that promise…ever and no matter what.

Now, eight years later, he is a Canine Good Citizen, a Master’s Certified Paws for People Volunteer Pet Therapy Companion decorated in numerous awards and certificates of achievement, a leader in his community, an advocate for reading, the bestest big bother a pup could have, an adventure seeking Safety Sargent Sawyer partner in crime to Ranger Rick, a Good Deed Doin’ Do Gooder with the Love Monster, a master of story-telling and adventure seeking, a crafty Facebook personality, and an all-around Zen-Saw snuggle bug.

From the healing powers he gave to me as I battled my own personal devastating health illnesses and issues, to the unforgettable moments and memories of lives we’ve touched and friends we’ve made while visiting or sharing stories. Sawyer is majestic. So all I can say is this, he really and truly is magic and there will never, ever be another like him.

We hope, if you are able and want to, you will consider donating to Sawyer’s GoFundMe Page to help us cover his medical costs and chemo treatments. Your support, however you chose to share it, means the world to us! Thank you so much for being part of Sawyer’s life, and ours!!! And that’s for keeping the Adventures of Sawyer and the Rock Bottom Ridge Pack alive.


Love to all,

The Rock Bottom Ridge Pack

Sawyer, Emery, Ranger Rick and the Love Monster


 See top
  • Lisa Schneider Back 
    • $25 
    • 41 mos
  • David Prince 
    • $300 
    • 42 mos
  • angela huberty 
    • $20 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $40 
    • 43 mos
  • DeLinda Kirby  
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
See all


Nancy Shurkoff 
Coatesville, PA
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more