by Chaz Salembier and Allison W. Gryphon
The average age of a Golden Retriever is ten to twelve years, so when at the age of six the beloved Harley was diagnosed with cancer, no one knew what to expect. All that her owners, Pat and Bill, were sure of was that their Harley was a lover and a fighter. She would do what needed to be done.
The mast cell tumor, which Pat discovered in Harley’s leg, led to surgery and eighteen rounds of radiation. Harley shined through the operation. It was radiation that was the tricky undertaking. The thing with radiation is the patient must remain still. It’s not easy for anyone and sedating Harley for eighteen treatments was simply not an option. There was concern, but hope, and somehow Harley knew what to do. She stepped up onto the table for every appointment and remained still, all alone in the room, while the radiation zapped her cancer.
The radiation burned Harley and she has the scar to prove it, but she wears it like a badge of honor and has recovered full use of her leg.
Four years after her cancer fight, Harley turned ten. Shortly thereafter Pat and Bill found another tumor. It was on the back of Harley’s paw.
Once again, Harley was faced with surgery. Because of her age and concerned with her quality of life, Pat, Bill and the vet decided not to put Harley through radiation therapy.
Harley sailed though surgery with flying colors and again, made a full recovery.
This month, Harley will turn fourteen. To this day, she still enjoys rides in the car, the occasional steak dinner, and spending time with her younger sister, Zelda.
For Pat and Bill, Harley is still the same wonderful and loving dog she’s always been.
For all of us who have had the opportunity to meet her, Harley is an inspiration and a hero.
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