A beautifully large mixed breed named Mali came to us in October after being surrendered to BARCS by her previous family, who could no longer care for her. Situations like these are always so difficult for the families and the pups. We were so grateful we could step in and bring Mali to the sanctuary for more reasons than one.
Our excellent veterinary staff looked Mali over when she arrived and determined that, like most of our dogs, she needed a tooth removed due to dental disease. This is a fairly standard procedure for the dogs we rescue, and generous donations allow us to help keep our dogs' teeth in top-notch condition. Crest Toothpaste might want to sponsor them one of these days!
While the dental exam wasn’t a huge shock, the soft mass on Mali’s side raised some more significant concerns. After further evaluation, we found that Mali had a mast cell tumor that was cancerous. We scheduled this poor girl for surgery as quickly as possible. In that small amount of time, she developed two more cancerous tumors. With three mast cell tumors, Mali was in for a fight, but if you know this energetic nine-year-old, you know she has the spunk of a puppy and was more than up for the challenge.
Once we got her in for surgery, the vet was able to remove two of the tumors. The tumor on her back leg showed some incomplete margins, suggesting that all of the cancer may not have been removed. Because of this, we put her on medication to prevent the reoccurrence in that area. After a few weeks, her leg had healed and showed no new signs of cancer. We told you this girl was a trooper!
Unfortunately, this particular cancer didn’t want to quit, and we found another cancerous mast cell tumor on Mali’s back a few weeks later. Another surgery could remove it, but the more significant concern was how fast these tumors were replicating. After some discussion, the vet decided chemotherapy was the best course of action for this spunky girl. The hope was that an oral, three-month course of chemo would keep these tumors at bay.
Like humans, the worry with chemo is that the side effects may be extremely harsh while the medication kills the cancerous cells. Mali is already a dog who loves her people beyond measure and hates to be left alone. She becomes destructive when left on her own for long periods, and we wanted her to be able to have some solace during this already difficult situation.
That’s when a beautiful foster family stepped in to help this sweet girl. The fosters knew what a toll chemo could take, having been through it themselves. They knew providing a loving environment would help Mali stay as healthy as possible and hopefully lessen chemo’s side effects. And guess what? They were right. Mali has been doing exceptionally well with her treatments. She’s her regular bundle of energy and seems to be suffering no side effects. The new bump on her back is gone, proving that the medicine is doing its job. Not only that but being in a home environment has calmed her anxiety. While we credit this to her resilience and fantastic dogness, we are also beyond grateful to her foster family for giving her the love and care she needs while fighting this awful disease.
We love to help dogs like Mali. Our ability to offer dogs extensive medical care comes from incredibly kind, loyal donors supporting us. We hope we can update you soon that Mali is cured and happy. Maybe after all this, we can get this girl a home, the final step in the Sanctuary’s process defined by Val many years ago. Mali - we’re all rooting for you!