“Best friend” is a term we learn as children on the playground between games of hide and seek. “Man’s best friend” is a term we learn when we played with the family dog. “My best friend” is a term I learned six years ago when I met Tazz.
He was 10 weeks old and everything before that day is fuzzy black and white, because when I met Tazz it was like breathing in color and life and happiness into my world. Every day since then has confirmed he is my heart dog and soulmate. He keeps me centered, makes my bad days better, my good days greater, and has shown me what true unconditional love is. I call him the happiest dog on the planet - he always has a smile on his face and has such a joy for life whether it’s bunny hopping through fields, swimming after a toy, or flying through the air for a frisbee.
Tazz also introduced me to my other great love - photography. Each photo I have of him (and I have over 20,000) is a piece of a moment I captured - a memory that I will cherish forever. I have learned to show my love for him through the eye of my camera lens and have since met so many other canine crazy friends who have helped shape and influence my life – all because of Tazz’s inspiration.
Not only has he shown me love, but he has shown love to others as well. As a therapy dog, he came to class with me while I was earning my degree in nursing. He provided stress relief for not only me and my classmates, but for everyone at school. He became our class' unofficial mascot, and was even given his own nursing pin when we graduated. He has also done therapy work at Children's Hospital of WI and several nursing homes. Every one he meets, he loves. And everyone who meets him ends up loving him too.
He is only six, and these six years have been the best of my life.
On July 27th, 2017, Tazz was diagnosed with stage III multicentric t-cell lymphoma. The vet has given him a month to live and two options: do nothing or fight like hell. Without hesitation, I chose the latter.
He is seeing the amazing team of oncologists at Oregon State University's veterinary hospital. They started Tazz on the well known chemotherapy protocol known as CHOP, which lasts 20 weeks. The chemotherapy, along with ancillary medications, will hopefully put Tazz in remission, providing more love and joy to this world.
As you can expect, this is very expensive. I have already paid close to $1000 for his treatment, but that does not even cover the charges for the first day's worth of tests. The total for the chemo protocol comes to roughly $400 a week - about $8000. While I would do anything in my power to provide Tazz with the best life possible, financial constraints do not often coincide with the heart, which is why I am setting up this account. Know that every single cent donated will be put towards Tazz’s treatment and that from the bottom of my heart, these donations are so precious and mean so much to us both.
Last week, Tazz started his chemotherapy and has been feeling better day by day. I know this treatment will help him, and helps me give him the life he deserves. I just need your help to do so.
MY NOTE TO YOU:
I used to look at him and feel that whatever happens, whatever life throws at us, everything will be okay. But that sense of peace was ripped away when we learned his diagnosis. Ultimately, there is no guarantee - we are fighting this, he is fighting this, but it is only a temporary fix. I am going to lose him. But to let cancer win right away is entirely out of the question. It’s not what he deserves and it’s not in my nature to throw up my hands and do nothing for him. We are going to fight this with everything we can. I won't let it take away my boy - not yet.
I have always tried to give him the best life I can, but need help to keep doing so. I am asking for help to provide Tazz with the remaining life he deserves. I have been using the adage "no bad days" and have tried to make every day with Tazz in it one of the best. He has lived his best life every day, and I simply need help to give him more of it.
So thank you all for reading. Thank you for being part of this little slice of our lives, our fight, our story. And if you donate, thank you for your help.
Hugs and wet nose kisses,
Hannah and Tazz
- Penny Shumaker
- Jenn Stone
- Ciara Plikett
- Sarah G
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