Dutch’s Story

Meet Dutch. He’s an 11-year-old lab with a heart of gold and a story to tell. We thank Dutch and family for their kind words and continue sending our best wishes.
What Cancer?
My name is Dutch. I am a black lab. My mom describes me as the ambassador of all things good in the world. I love everything – people, food, other dogs, kids, food, sun, rain, snow, and also food. Nothing gets me down. When I am not out adventuring, I always sit at the front window at home, “on duty,” watching for something. I don’t know really what I am looking for, but it’s pretty exciting. When people come over, I have to sprawl out in the middle of everyone. That way if anyone NEEDS to pet me, they can easily reach me. I do it for their convenience.
I will be turning 11 in November, and I was diagnosed with incurable cancer in June 2016. June 23, to be exact. My mom cried and cried for weeks following my diagnosis. She was so worried about making the right decision for my treatment. She loves me so much. Her license plate even reads “LAB MMY” for Lab Mommy.

The clan – Maddie, Lilly, and Dutch.

My mom brought me to SAGE because they have always taken care of us when we were sick. (My litter mate Lilly is kind of accident prone.) But this has been the biggest and hardest thing because she knows my time left is limited. Together with SAGE, we are making the most of it. SAGE and my mom have the same goals – to help me be comfortable and happy for the remaining days of my life. Under Dr. Sogame’s brave and brilliant guidance, I have been undergoing chemotherapy treatments. I am doing incredibly well!! I don’t feel sick and I am hungrier than ever. Karla and Marilee (oncology technicians) are so attentive to me and always give my mom a hug and a tissue when she needs it. She cries a lot when they talk about me, even when the news is positive. I don’t know why because I really feel fine. Karla and Marilee are the best; they really know their stuff. They always help me when I come in for my treatments and encourage me to be positive. They also help my mom decipher all the meds to make sure everything is just right. They call my mom at home, too, just to see how I am doing.

Dutch conquering the sea monster.

In addition to the cancer, I also have really weak hind legs. This is from many years of getting to run in the hills of San Carlos and on the beaches of the California coast. In 11 years of my life, I have never missed a daily walk. Ever. Sometimes I even had up three walks a day. I have spent many years trying to catch leaves and birds and kites and deer, but to this day I have never caught anything. Except this one time when I saved the world. I was swimming in the ocean and came face to face with a raging sea monster! I tackled it and grabbed it and dragged it ashore, despite its massive size. My mom said this monster was called “kelp” and that it was not really a monster. But she said I was a hero anyway.
If I were to talk about one of the “benefits” of my diagnosis, it’s this other gifted lady at SAGE named Jenny Jones. She is a physical therapist at SAGE , and along with her assistant, Karyna, has helped to rehab my legs, so I can still go and roam the hills. We do all sorts of exercises each week and I even get to go in the water when I am there. Plus, they always seem to have chicken around. I would totally do it all for no reward because Jenny and Karyna are super nice and believe in me. I get super excited when I go in, and I am always rolling around on the floor like a big ham. It’s kind of hard to stay focused, but when I do, I see a lot more chicken! My mom hugs Jenny, too. Jenny gives us exercises to work on at home. For one of them, I am supposed to walk on a line of dog beds. What Jenny doesn’t know is that in our house, it is a long line! We have only three dogs at home, but my mom has 10 dog beds in the house.

GoPro-ing about town.

The other people my mom is always talking about are the remarkable reception desk staff that greets us and keeps all our bills in order. They are always so nice and efficient. Now that they are at the new facility in Redwood City, we haven’t seen Bacon yet, but I like that guy, too. He seems to be almost as hungry as I am. He and I both share another similar characteristic: Andy Rooney eyebrows.
I am so glad that my mom has SAGE there to help her through these difficult times. We have a small and distinguished pack made up of my litter mate Lilly, Maddie (an 11-year-old basset hound), Pete (he is always trying to take GoPro videos of us), and Vivian, my mom. My mom says she will be forever grateful to the team at SAGE for all of their efforts. When we go out in the world and meet people, and my mom tells them about my cancer, I just want to say, “What cancer?”
Pawfully yours,
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