After hearing about a Columbus-area man’s concern for his dog, who had a massive growth on his underbelly, Rescue Me Ohio raised over $600 to help him get the care he needed to save his dog. Read their story, below.
By Laurie Deerwester – Volunteer for Rescue Me Ohio
Overheard conversations. Concern for another person. Concern for an animal. Caring about your neighbor and the goodness that we often don’t see in people.
I found out about Max third hand. After overhearing his story in a retail establishment, a concerned women shared it with her daughter, who brought me into the loop.
The woman overheard Steve, the dog’s owner and a Columbus-area resident, talking about how concerned he was for his dog. Max is a 5-year-old, 138-pound Bull Mastiff who had a massive growth on his underbelly. As Steve spoke about Max, the woman could hear in his voice that we was not able to do for his dog what he wished he could (and provide the medical attention he needed). The woman who overheard Steve’s story later shared it with her daughter. The daughter called me once she was able to go to the store and verify the story with Steve.
I have been a volunteer for Rescue Me Ohio (RMO), a statewide education and advocacy organization, for almost four years. One of the most rewarding things about volunteering for Rescue Me Ohio is getting the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of companion animals and their humans. When I heard Steve’s story, I thought RMO might be able to help him get Max the medical attention he needed and deserved. I didn’t know what I was getting us into!
I shared Max’s story, along with pictures, with our group and proposed a fundraiser to help Steve cover the costs of treatment. Shortly after, Steve updated me that the mass had begun to ooze – he was very concerned about the dog’s health and well-being while he was away at work. I told him that I was trying to figure out a solution.
After a short trip to the pet store, I headed over to Steve’s with the biggest cone they had to accommodate a dog of Max’s size. I took some pictures of Max and the mass dangling from under his ribcage, which was threatening to rupture. I left telling Steve that I would get back to him as soon as I knew more about whether Rescue Me Ohio would be able to assist.
Most in our group were shocked when I sent an update and pictures of the dog’s current condition. RMO’s Board of Directors agreed immediately that we needed to do something to help, and decided to host an online fundraiser to try to cover the expenses of getting Max’s mass removed. Rescue Me Ohio shared Max’s story and fundraising information on our Facebook page and within our networks. Rescue Me Ohio raised about $625, and covered the remaining cost of Max’s surgery.
Getting the medical attention Max needed
I contacted Dr. Michelle Gonzales (Dr. G) of Rascal Animal Hospital and Rascal Unit to get her opinion of Max’s growth, and whether she would be willing to do the surgery. It turns out that the mass was not a lipoma – a benign tumor composed of fat – which is what Steve had been told previously. Instead, the mass was necrotic (meaning the tissue was dying) and needed to be removed as soon as possible.
Dr. G provided me with an estimate on the cost of the surgery, and agreed to perform it.
I immediately shared the good news with Steve and made arrangements to meet him to transfer Max. On Sunday June 13th I brought Max into Rascal Animal Hospital in Dublin; they had him in surgery that evening with Dr. Seiple, a veterinarian at the hospital. The vet shared a very positive update that evening: Dr. Seiple removed the mass (which weighed 4.5lbs!). They medicated Max and put in a chest tube for drainage; the biopsy of the mass would be sent out for testing, which would take 5 to 7 business days.
The area affected by the surgery was quite extensive. Rascal Animal Hospital had to remove a lot of Max’s skin around the mass, because if it was cancer they would need to remove as much tissue as possible.
The recovery process
Max had some difficulty with the sutures – they didn’t want to heal. Being such a big dog – who is often taking people for walks (instead of vice versa) – it was challenging to keep him calm enough to allow the wound to heal.
Rascal Animal Hospital updated me on Max every day for 13 days. I passed the updates along to Steve so that he knew what was happening at every step of the way. On Saturday June 24th I was told that Max was ready to be released. However, he still had an open area on his chest that remained from removing the chest tube and that needed to be monitored for infection or tearing.
Eager to beat the crowd and get Max back to his dad as quickly as possible, I returned to the hospital early on Sunday morning. Rascal Animal Hospital provided medication and wound care instructions and we were ready to go. Max came bounding out of the back room – he had enough of being caged up and wanted to get home! He was very excited and strong, dragging me across the parking lot to my car. We hopped in and headed home so that he could be reunited with Steve.
Once at Steve’s, I reviewed all of the instructions from the hospital and the importance of keeping Max calm. I left them to get reacquainted, and told Steve to call me or the hospital if there were any problems.
Today, Max is doing well. He was diagnosed with cancer, but it is slow-growing and he is expected to live a long life.
Rescue Me Ohio would like to sincerely thank everyone who donated to Max’s cause!