About a week ago, we noticed blood in Aspen's urine. After several trips to the vet and diagnostic tests, we learned that what we initially thought was a relatively harmless urinary tract infection was actually an enlarged right kidney filled with cysts and poised to rupture. Kidney cancer is exceptionally rare in dogs (<1% of all canine cancers) - but we always knew Aspen was special! Her case is even more unique, though, as she also has a tumor on the adrenal gland that sits on top of the kidney. Since kidney and adrenal tumors do not metastasize to each other, Aspen has the rare misfortune of developing both tumors simultaneously.
We were crushed to learn that our happy, energetic dog who had just been given a clean bill of health 2 months earlier would have to be euthanized. Aspen had a great summer filled with backpacking trips and lake days, and she showed no signs of fatigue or discomfort, which made the thought of putting her down particularly heart-wrenching.
Luckily, we live near an excellent veterinary school that is capable of surgically removing the affected kidney and adrenal gland. There is no evidence that either cancer has spread, and the veterinary surgeons and oncologists think Aspen will likely live another 3-4 good-quality years if the tumors are removed!
Surgery is clearly in Aspen's best interest, and we are relieved to have that option. However, given the complicated nature of the procedure, the estimated cost is $5,750. We have tried to be responsible pet owners and have saved money for vet costs throughout her life, but this bill is beyond our means considering Janee's modest stipend as a graduate student.
It is painful to realize that we can't financially provide what our pooch needs, but we've decided to swallow our pride and ask for your help so we can do what's best for Aspen. (We'll be getting pet insurance from now on!)
Aspen's surgery is scheduled for this Thursday, August 16th, and we are hoping to raise funds to bridge the gap between the cost of the operation and what we can afford. We are fortunate to have the option of keeping our best pal around and we are deeply grateful for your love and support! Every bit helps.
Aspen was born in a pack of strays in Winslow, AZ, where she was picked up by a kind woman who ultimately couldn't keep her. We brought her in and she has been a stellar companion - adventurous, intelligent, playful, and well-behaved (except for that one thing where she barks her head off at other dogs).
Aspen is full of energy and loves to swim, hike, and run around like a complete maniac. When she's not violently squeaking her stuffed lion, she can be found obsessively licking her pillow or "snuggling" with (enduring?) her little bro, Reggie.
Despite being colorblind, she sure seems to have a preference for orange foods: mangoes, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are a few of her favorites.
After spending a few years in Arizona and Texas, she moved to Colorado where she is regularly treated to her all-time favorite thing: SNOW!
Aspen really means a lot to us, and so does your help.
-Josh and Janee
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