Monday, March 26, 2012


Yesterday, March 25th under the wonderfully kind and watchful eye of our friend and Vet Dr Debbie, Princess passed into the great beyond at exactly 9:30am.

Over the last few weeks, Princess had begun a downward slide as her cancer began to advance. Her pain was evident. We had no doubt of what we needed to do - the best thing for our dog.

So that's it then, the apparent end of this story. I'm left wondering what more I could have done.  Princess survived osteosarcoma for 5 months and 1 week, relatively pain free and in good spirits. That's 2 months longer than the average. Not quite what we were hoping for, but enough to appreciate what a great member of our family that she was - and how much she loved us.

Everything that I could ever say about Princess has been written in these pages. She was a sweet loving member of our family, so brave til the end. We are incredibly fortunate to have spent six great years with her. She was the Best and Bravest Dog Ever. We miss her terribly.

Thanks for reading and all of your support. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Update: Fine Tuning

I've coached in past that no news from this blog is usually good news. That still holds true. Princess is in a relatively good  holding pattern. She continues to be alert and relatively comfortable though she's gotten a little "growley" the evenings. She continues to use her "bad" leg for balance and over the last few day, has begun to put some weight on it. We've made a few changes to her routine so read on. 

Since Princess's diagnosis on October 17th, we've followed the Navy Protocol of drugs with one exception; we decided to add Fosamax a few months back. Our hope was that Fosamax would increase bone growth and strengthen her leg. That's definitely happened but her leg has become very stiff. In her last visit, Dr. Chris, noted that her leg also was thickening.  X-rays showed the culprit to be errant regrowing bone cells invading surrounding muscle tissue.  We're calling it the "Mutton Leg" Good news is that structurally, Mutton Leg is strong and the chance for a break is low. In the hope of slowing down this bone growth, I've decided to cut her Fosamax dose from 10 mg 7 days a week to 10 mg 3 days a week.

Ultimately, holding the cancer at bay will allow Princess's own immune system to take over and cure her. It only makes sense that her diet has a lot to do with her immune health. Two weeks ago, I decided to make all of her food myself. My goal is to produce The Bestdogfood Ever! I feed her this twice a day:

1/2 lb of cooked ground beef,
1/2 cup of carrots or broccoli
(2) 1000 mg fish softgels
(1) Chopped Michael's Everyday Immune Wellness tablet - one per day

I've just described my graduation from Engineer to Dog Chef and hopefully you don't think that I've lost my mind. She does seem to be growing stronger. As evidence, I present the following; You all know that Princess has a passion for shredding cereal boxes. Recently we received an 8 foot long cardboard box in the mail. This morning, Princess dragged it down the driveway and started to shred it to pieces. She's still got it!

I'm making sure that chances are 100% that Princess will live the rest of her life happy, relatively comfortably, with her people, and with a chance of recovery. My goal is to keep moving forward and help a few of you along the way. I'd say it's worth it.  All for now.

Chef Pappysassafrass

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our Mission

Good morning! Many days have passed since my last post. As time passes, the unit of measure always grows. Babies go from days, to weeks, to months then years old. Same with us. Going into this, we expected Best Dog's remaining lifespan to be days maybe weeks long - certainly not months.  We're coming to an important milestone. Next week, on February 17th, Princess will be 6 years old and it will be exactly 4 months since her cancer diagnosis.

Princess has grown stronger since my last post. She appears healthy, weighs 82 lbs, plays with her ball, goes outside on her own and climbs the stairs. This morning, she went out after eating. I walked to the back of the house to check on her though the window. Seemed to be about 10 seconds. In that time, she had traveled 75 yards uphill and was still going. In a few minutes, she returned, picked up her ball and prompted us to throw it.  Her leg in the area of the cancer has gotten hard and thick. Dr Chris hypothesized this to be bone cells regenerating in a cancer confused way.  Watching Princess, it looks like her pain is lessening and the leg is getting stronger. My view is that Princess has progressed from a critically ill dog to a "special needs" dog.

Taken Today!
There's evidence that the protocol is working. Let's get down to business. My personal mission as writer is to document all of this. You as readers can spread the word. Thousands of new dog families face this same difficult situation each day. They have no idea that there's a protocol option. My first couple of posts outlined the the choices that we faced. They're were not pretty or necessary. As readers, you are taking part in our amazing experience - and you can do more. Keep reading, pass this blog on to friends and family. It's not read nearly enough. Help others by participating. Give families hope, and their dogs a realistic chance of survival. Each of you, pass it on. Thanks for reading our story.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Update: Post- Dr Chris Visit

We just returned from our appointment with our Vet, Dr. Chris. We have a fairly good report. Dr. Chris saw no evidence that the cancer has spread past it's initial spot in Princess's bone. Typically by 90 days, there's evidence of cancer cells in the lungs. The protocol is slowing the cancers progress. The cancer has advanced in the bone area but there is also evidence that the bone is trying to regenerate cells. Our biggest worry remains that should her leg continue to weaken, she could break it. 

Princess is animated and happy. Last night, she played ball with the kids. (basically she stays on rug island and we throw the ball to her).  Dr Chris, wife K and I agree that our plan going forward should be to continue the protocol with fish oil in her diet. Hopefully, if we can hold off the cancer long enough, Princess's body will figure out the rest. Good night all.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Update: Fatefull Day Tomorrow.

At the lake 2 weeks ago
Good afternoon everyone. It's been 96 days since we started the Best Dog on Navy Protocol. During that time, we've followed the protocol without fail and spoiled the heck out of her. She's shown both  improvement and setback.
KK and Princey Jan 2011
Princess's condition has deteriorated in the last few weeks. There was an abrupt turn-around after my last post.  At times she's up - alert, wagging her tail, playfully.  More often she's subdued, restless and in apparent pain. She's all but stopped using her leg and needs to be carried her up the stairs in front of the house.  Last week we started to supplement her diet with fish oil. She gets 2000 mg of Spring Valley soft-gels twice a day with her food. That seems to have perked her up.
Princess's recent slow down prompted us to scheduled another appointment with Dr Chris. It's tomorrow, January 24th at 4pm eastern time. We're dreading it. She's been an incredibly brave girl but now we're praying for the best and preparing for the worst. Here's what were thinking; if the cancer remains only in her leg bone, we'll continue on the protocol and research other options. If the cancer's spread, we'll prepare to spare her any more pain.

Regardless of tomorrow's outcome, she's coming home with us after her appointment.  I'll let you all know tomorrow evening.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Holiday Revelations

Hope you all enjoyed a nice peaceful holiday and have been sufficiently wished a "Happy New Year!" Happy New Year could be interpreted as "bon voyage" or have a good trip.  So with many well meaning blessings, we're about to explore the uncharted territory of 2012. Before we sail off,  Let's review a few noteworthy events from the last few weeks since I've written.

We had the pleasure of seeing many friends and family during the holidays. Everyone was happy to see Princess doing so well. She's become somewhat of a celebrity and enjoyed the attention of so many well wishers - both familiar and new. She's greeted all kindly and patiently. She's a model Rottweiler.

Holiday Socializing can be tiring!

Princess had a fantastic holiday -  animated and alert - playing ball, lightly wooshing, eating treats and getting lots of attention. Her appearance of overall health has improved significantly. Consequently, we've been able to go on two relatively long walks at the lake. The first about a 1/4 mile of trails and varied terrain, then a second walk of about 3/4 of a mile. Both ended with Princess wading in and drinking freezing lake waters.

Princess is mostly in "Trike Mode".   She's been using her leg more frequently and is surprisingly fast!  She climbs the stairs unaided. We believe that adding Fosamax to her protocol has helped to improve her condition. It's been about month since we started that.  Gene's suggested that we add fish oil to Princess diet. It's been shown to have significant anti-cancer properties. We'll start that in the next day or so.

Princess seems to be on an upward trend on the Navy Protocol plus Fosamax (alendronate sodium) protocol. Truthfully, this is way beyond what we expected. We are so thankful to still have her.  We hope for the best. We're holding off on a follow-up with Dr Chris for now. Thank you all for your loving support. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Time Travel

It's 4:42am and like most nights, I'm wide awake, waiting for morning and thinking of things. One thing is that we got at new coffee maker. I've been watching the clock since 3:43.  The coffee maker makes its debut at 6am. We've been drinking instant for about a month now and it's getting old. Another thing is my dog and best friend Princess - the star of this blog. Also, how much I love and appreciate my wife, friends and family. They are the reason in a big part for my happiness. Wife K takes all of these awesome photos and provides endless loving support. I'd especially like to mention my oldest daughter Lins. I am so proud of her. She's accomplished so much and her kind loving heart is the reason we have Princess. Lins has placed a lot of other dogs in great homes - including her own. She's the reason this blog exists. She's also a great writer! I'm a fan. Follow her blog at:

Anyway, I'm definitely up so let's make the most of the precious time.  

Princess is the real reason I'm up. She starts each night sleeping on her bed. But much later, I'll wake to find her staring inches from my face. That's her way of politely waking me. Pre-cancer spoiling, it was always reserved for going outside. Now it's for permission to get up on the bed. She still remembers some of her manners.  Two of her other techniques for waking us are the single hand lick or paw on the bed.  They're extremely subtle when you think of  the tools she has in her arsenal. She's got the ominous growl tool, incredibly loud bark tool, or if all else fails, mouth full of teeth tool.  Thankfully all are reserved for rare occasions.

Most times and with most things subtle is better. Princess broke out the ominous growl tool when KK came in late a night ago. She loves KK but could not tell at first if the late night traffic was friend or foe. I slept though that entire incident. Wife K did not. I'm thinking that dogs are telepathic. Fifty two minutes to coffee maker blast off.

If I were to begin our story today,  I'd start with; " A long time ago, in a place far away....." That's the way it feels. So a long time ago in a place far away, we got a terrible diagnosis. If time travel were possible back on October 17th, I'd have been tempted to jump the gap to December 18th - exactly 60 days forward.  That was the amount of time it took Navy to be completely free of cancer. Why live through it? Just get past the 60 days like it never existed and resume as before.  Impossible?  Not at all.  Time travel is very possible and practiced by millions each day. Focusing in a negative place and shutting out the rest is a sort of time travel. It's also a necessary human survival tactic. Hard to appreciate the smell of roses when you are running from a tiger!  On October 17th we faced our tiger and time travel presented itself as a tempting and comforting possibility -to be used sparingly. We did some, but recovered to pass most of these 63 days the old fashioned way - by living and appreciating every minute. That's the key, jump the gap if you must - then recover.  This blog helped and happily, there's been great living along the way; fall concerts, birthdays, breakfasts at the Coffee Cup, Halloween, and now preparing for the great holiday season with family and friends. Wouldn't have wanted to miss any of that. This one big negative back on October 17th tempted me to skip the rest. What a mistake that would have been. Stay in full appreciation of family, friends and great moments. Keep your chin up and as they say, it'll all work out.

Princess is doing very well this last week. Her leg is still lame but she's using it occasionally.  Outwardly she seems healthy and now weights 86 lbs. That's up 11 lbs from October 17th. Yesterday, she made a good attempt to woosh at the bus stop, played with her ball and shredded a cereal box to bits in the living room. She's happy and animated. She gets up to greet everyone and wags her tail a lot.  We added Fosamax to her protocol two weeks ago and she's shown improvement. Since Princess has bone cancer, Fosamax, which builds bone mass and has been shown to be toxic to cancer cells, is a logical ingredient. Wish I had thought of that earlier. In fact, I didn't think of it at all - Gene did. Thanks again Gene.  Anyway, now you all know about Fosamax. Princess will have a  follow-up visit with Dr. Chris for next week. Pending the outcome, we plan to ask him about adjusting the Fosamax dose from ten to 20 mg daily. Big headed bed sleeper just walked into the room. Four minutes to go till blast off. Have a great  day, a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Our Family to Yours