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Tim and I got Reilly when she was about 4 months old from a kennel we heard about from a friend.  We were desperate to have another Rottweiller in our lives as we had lost an 8-month-old puppy to a heart defect only two months prior.  To our delight we found Reilly.  The kennel owners were hesitant to let us take her as she had a slight cold and was on antibiotics.  We brought her home that day just the same. 

When Reilly was a couple of years old she developed a slight limp in her right front leg.  After some x-rays we were told she had a slight case of arthritis in her wrist.  We helped her shed a few pounds and were careful not to have her jump too much so she wouldn’t irritate the area.  So when Reilly started limping in January 1999 my first instinct was that her arthritis was acting up.  Reilly was now 4 ½ and was constantly running around and abusing that leg.  We took her into the animal hospital and they put a splint on the leg.  That was an inexpensive way of trying to take care of the problem.  We thought she had just injured it.  After a week of no exercise and the splint, the leg was just as sore and just as swollen.  We had her x-rayed and it was confirmed that she had osteosarcoma, a very painful and deadly form of cancer.

We decided we would amputate the leg to save her life and to try and extend her life we opted for chemotherapy.  We were initially going to purchase two doses of the therapy.  However, towards the end of her first dose of chemo, the veterinarian believed some of the liquid actually pumped under her skin and not into the vein.  They agreed to purchase a third dose just to be sure that she got what she needed.

When we initially brought Reilly home I kept her covered up with a blanket.  The staples and shaved hair really had me on edge.  Reilly however, climbed the stairs to our bedroom the minute she got home and jumped up in our bed.  There she slept comfortably all night long.

Tim and I have never regretted our decision to spend the money to save Reilly’s life.  We were hoping to initially give her another summer of love and fun.  She has been such a joy in our life.  Reilly can run and chase a ball (which is her favorite past time).  If she doesn’t get out to play one day she is just bouncing off the walls.  Her exercise is still very important to her.  We truly believe she is a cancer survivor.  Our veterinarian (who was totally wonderful through the whole experience) did not give us very good odds for her life expectancy.  We were told that after one year 60% of the dogs are alive and after two years that number drops to 10%.  We truly hope that Reilly will beat the odds and be a survivor for years to come.

It has now been 16 months since her amputation.  Reilly and my family couldn’t be happier that we have her around.  She does tend to get lame a little easier; after all she is carrying a 95-pound body around on only three legs.  Her front leg tends to take a beating from all the running around.  We try to limit her so she does not end up lame at the end of the day. 

To anyone out there who thinks that amputating a dogs leg is cruel or that it in any way makes their quality of life any less should think again.  Reilly is completely and totally happy.  She does not feel sorry for herself that she hops along on three legs, she is just happy to be loved and to run and play.  After all, that is what loving and caring for a pet is all about.  Reilly is truly a survivor!  We feel blessed to have her.


This is our big buddy, Hal

This Hal & Friends WebRing site is owned by Shannon & Tim

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