Phoenix's Cancer Treatment

One of Life's Dearest Blessings

That blessing is Phoenix. I rescued Phoenix, a black Labrador Retriever, from his owner whose lifestyle didn’t allow for him to provide the sort of care a puppy needs. He was 14 months-old at the time. His owner’s work schedule required long hours away from home and his time away varied. Phoenix was the runt of his litter but given a bold name, Brutus. Upon realizing that keeping then Brutus would do neither of them good, his owner agreed to let a family with a dog of their own take Brutus in. Whatever the case was, Brutus and the other dog did not hit it off and he was returned a few days later. A friend had a co-worker, the pup’s next-door neighbor, who made it her mission to find Brutus a fitting home. I have always loved Labradors and was in a place in life where I could adopt one, so I said yes when my friend asked if I would want him.

Two days before we were to go rescue him, his owner called to say that a neighbor down his street wanted Brutus and gave the pup up. I was very disappointed but hoped the best for him. The next day the phone rang again with the news that that neighbor returned Brutus and he was available, if I wanted him.  We wasted no time to go claim him.  This sweet and frightened young boy had had no sense of security and love and far too much upheaval in his life. He needed a fresh start and a new name to set his course. Phoenix was perfect!

Getting Phoenix in training and a routine was challenging. He was out of control. I wondered what I had gotten myself into. He tried my patience so much, but I wasn’t going to give up on him and let him down yet again. We went to a series obedience classes for several months, and Phoenix grew out of his bad behavior. He has been the best companion, silly clown, and friend to everyone he meets. He has a neighborhood fan club.

Phoenix is now 11 years old and has been one of the greatest gifts in my life.  In 2018, he was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor on his side and oral melanoma, a cancer double-whammy. I did not think twice about doing all I could to treat his health issues. Our vet removed both tumors surgically and advised me to take Phoenix for further care at the veterinary cancer center. I did. He underwent tests that concluded the cancer had not spread and a six-month course of chemotherapy was recommended.  Phoenix charged through the treatment, lost about 10 pounds, but finished well. He returned to the center in the spring of 2019 and received a clean bill of health.

In January of this year, I discovered a bump on his tongue while brushing his teeth. The bump was in the same area the first melanoma had occurred. I breathed heavy and called our vet. She advised that I have her remove the bump for biopsy sake. I agreed. The melanoma had returned. I took Phoenix back to the cancer center for an evaluation and tests. The oncology vet found no spread of the cancer and recommend radiation of Phoenix's tongue, 4-6 treatments, followed by the DNA vaccine, which shows the potential to keep the cancer from spreading. 

I would start this treatment for Phoenix in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I am still paying off his surgery bills and follow up cancer center visit of this year. The radiation cost is far out of my reach, especially since I was laid off in October and have not had success in finding a job. Phoenix means the world to me and our family. He makes friends everywhere he goes.  My wish is to keep the cancer at bay as long as possible. He is an active, curious and funny family member. I hope you can help fund his cancer treatment. Phoenix had such a rough start in life. I wouldn’t want him to leave this world struggling. Thank you for considering our request!


  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Brittany Sagat 
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $150 
    • 4 mos
  • Alexas Bartkus 
    • $20 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 4 mos
See all


Lisa Petraitis 
Chicago, IL
  • #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