44235794_157690221951155_r.jpegThis is my boy, Rocco. He was about six or seven when he first showed up at my mom and dad's front porch in March 2015. We spent days walking and driving looking for his owner because the microchip was not updated. After roughly three days, we found his owner and they made it clear they did not want him back. I begged my dad to keep him! It didn't take much, I mean, look at him.

I took him to his first vet visit and he was diagnosed with dental disease. I believe it was the second year when I took him to the vet, he had to have teeth pulled which cost me a little over $500! Thankfully, I still lived with my parents. CareCredit accepted me and I was able to pay it off with no issues. Years went by and all was well. With every dental appointment, there was at least one tooth extraction and Rocco's labs were great. 

In the summer of 2019, Rocco had another dental appointment and this is where it starts to go downhill. He was needing FOUR teeth to be extracted and the estimated cost was going to be roughly $1,500! The teeth have become rotten. :( With living on my own now and working two jobs/bills, I couldn't afford all four even with CareCredit. I asked them to extract the two most critical which still came out to $700 with the medicines needed after. I currently am still paying this off...slowly, but surely. The vet had told me that the other two would be ok until the next dental.

Fast forward to the last week of November 2019, I noticed Rocco was not eating and having trouble going to the bathroom. He has been like this in the past and the previous vet had told me to give him pumpkin puree and it had worked miracles! I decided that it was no big deal this time around and gave him pumpkin. Day one. No changes. Day two. No changes. Day three and then day four. He did not want any more pumpkin, did not want to eat any food, could not go to the bathroom, and wanted to sleep more than usual. My doggie maternal instincts were to call the vet. Banfield was so busy that I had to go to another clinic to be seen within 48 hours. 

During this visit, the doctor told me his lymph nodes were swollen and jumped straight to the "C" word. I immediately became defensive because Rocco just had his comprehensive visit and it was a total shock. There was no way. I put a halt right there because I thought she had just wanted my money. Instead, they did a fecal occult and found it had traces of bacteria. My thinking was that he was just fighting an infection and that's why his lymph nodes were swollen. The vet gave me some steroids and a probiotic to help his digestion and help his appetite. We both hoped that would be a simple solution.

In the first week of December, Rocco was still not going to the restroom and refused to take his medicine. I literally had to force them down his throat. I was concerned and called his primary vet. She had read the previous vet's notes and wanted to take a look at him herself. Dr. Stromberg confirmed that his lymph nodes were abnormally large and briefly went over the possibility of....cancer. She gave me another week of low dose steroids to see if it would help. 

It was the second week of December. Rocco's energy had gotten better and was still barely eating. (I honestly think he was just being picky at this point.) I kept an eye on his lymph nodes and they were not getting any better. If anything, they were getting larger. During this time, I had come home from work one day and Rocco appeared to have cherry eye in his right eye. I did heat compresses to his eye about two times a day and it seemed to work. Although, I noticed when the cherry eye disappeared his eye was really cloudy and red and couldn't see. 

Rocco and I went to his follow up appointment on December 17, 2019. Dr. Stromberg was baffled about his eye which happened to be bleeding in his cornea and confirmed his eyesight pretty much gone at this point. Not completely, but he definitely cannot see as well as he used to. (I'm bawling at this point because I know what's coming.) The doctor wanted to run his comprehensive labs and see what was up. I waited 30 minutes and the doctor told me to wait in the room. (This isn't good.) The labs revealed his hemoglobin, red blood cells, and white blood cells are low. She went over the possibilities of what it could be and really went more in detail about the labs. It also turned out Rocco had blood in his urine. (He peed on the vet). With his eye and the blood in the urine, it seems he was having issues clotting. Given all of his symptoms, it is as if Rocco's body is attacking itself. He had also lost 6 lbs since the last week of November.

At this point, I had to know what was happening by taking it a step further. I agreed to have them take a biopsy of Rocco's lymph nodes to test for cancer. I was told the results would take about 5-7 days. I anxiously waited and just so happened to receive a voicemail while I was at work on December 18, 2019. Dr. Stromberg was brief, but comforting over the voicemail. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

It has been confirmed that Rocco has Lymphoma.

I had talked to the vet today (December 20, 2019) about options for Rocco. It has been decided that given Rocco's age (about 10 years old or maybe older), oncology would be too much for his frail body. Rocco only has 2-3 months left with me and will be given steroids until the medications do not work anymore. I just want to keep him comfortable and live his best life without being poked and prodded.

I am asking for donations to go towards Rocco's medical expenses in case of an ER visit we may have to take in the future. I am trying to think ahead for when the time comes so I won't have to worry about financial issues during a sensitive time. Please contact me if you have any questions or need any proof of Rocco's medical condition. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all in advance!

With much love,

Brianna and Rocco


  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 6 mos
  • The Himlers 
    • $40 
    • 6 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 6 mos
  • Nicole Haun 
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 6 mos
See all


Brianna Vassar 
San Antonio, TX
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

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