Whistler on his way to surgery

Greyhound dog laying on dog bed on floor, with swollen right shoulder visible from the osteosarcoma growth
Whistler 3 days before surgery.

Quick update – our lead vet picked up Whistler about a half hour ago, shortly before noon here in Uruguay. He was thrilled to see her, as he loves being at her “pet hotel” near Atlántida.  At 2pm (11am US/Canada Eastern Time, 5pm UTC/GMT), she and her team of specialists from the Universidad de la República will begin the amputation procedure. We’ll try to keep people posted. Follow Mark and Lisa’s personal Twitter accounts @mcmxs and @lisamarimer, our Google+ public newfeeds google.com/+MarkMercer and google.com/LisaMercer, where we’ll likely be making more frequent updates. Also possibly at our Facebook pages, for Mark and for Lisa.

Thank you all for your interest and concern, messages of support, and big hugs to those who’ve already helped with a donation towards Whistler’s care!

A US Greyhound in Uruguay – fighting cancer

Welcome to Whistler’s assistance and fundraising site. Some of you may know of our greyt doggie Whistler the greyhound, and his many travels – all across the USA, from North Carolina to Washington State in the Pacific Northwest, then to the Colorado Rockies – and in 2012, all the way to Uruguay in South America! Here, he’s called a galgo, but the Galgo Español is actually a different breed of dog than the true “American Greyhound” (or English or Irish Greyhound) – so he’s a Galgo Estadounidense (A USA-ian Galgo – because after all, Uruguay is in America too!)

Now he has the biggest challenge of his life – deadly bone cancer that came on with serious limping only this past October. Followed by pain, and fast-advancing loss of function of his now-ruined right shoulder and leg. The right shoulder and leg always was a “hot spot” for him, and we suspect that he may have had an early training injury. Old injuries can become new injuries, and microfractures in bones can lead to cancer when mis-coded DNA causes bad cells instead of good bone to grow. By late December, despite a 3-week period where moderate pain meds had him using the leg again and walking to the beach, the devastating debilitation of this deadly disease struck back – with visible growths, loss of muscle and nerve capabilities, and constant pain. To the point where on January 6, Mark had to carry him home the last block – all 32 kilos (75 pounds) of hurting dog.

We felt we had to put him down the next day, or at most a few days later. But we decided, in consultation with local vets, to give him one more chance. We upped his pain medication significantly, adding a mix of different-mechanism drugs.

Whistler came back! For a few days, he almost was using the leg again, though it was clear that he shouldn’t bear weight on it. What’s more important is his energy, personality (goofy, loving, and stubborn) came back, his eagerness to walk (hop) one or three or 5 blocks further before allowing us to head home (he can plant himself firm to the ground unmovable even with only 3 working legs!) – all back. Our dog was still there, if we could take away the pain.

After much reflection, and the dog himself showing us that with the pain gone, he can hop around on 3 legs like a champion and still be his goofy lovable self, we’ve decided to give him a shot at the big challenge – another year of life, hopefully, if we have the cancerous leg amputated and then get him the right chemotherapy to slow down recurrence and metastasis.

We don’t like to do the “ask for donations” bit, but we’ll need help in order to give him his best chance. That’s why we’re hoping that friends, lovers of greyhounds and other dogs, and anyone who’s attuned to survivors of cancer whether canine, feline, or human, may want to help us out with a secure donation via PayPal.

Please help us help Whistler win!

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