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Roak Knoll Shelties

Roak Knoll Believe In Magic



"Riley the Rescue Sheltie"

Rarin' to go after Chipmunks, Squirrels, and any agility course,
ready to take walks, dig "to China " and climb trees if she could in search of them critters
until the lymphoma drained her energy but it didn't rob her will.
Surviving the first course of chemo treatment with the love and care
of a devoted "mom" she rebounded like a puppy, full of energy and excitement...rarin' to go again
until the "Red Devil" returned. 

I am Kirstie Dean, my husband is Active Duty Army and we have 3 Shelties (Gizmo 12, Riley 10 and Scout 5) and 1 cat (Mylo 12). Here is my story.

Riley was given up to sheltie rescue by a military family that felt she was too much to handle. She came to my home as a foster dog and proceeded to play her way into my heart as well as my husband's. 

I was looking for another Agility dog at the time and she was a natural. She told me that she wanted to stay with us one day when I was out playing agility with my older dog Gizmo. A friend was holding Riley’s leash while I ran Gizmo through the agility obstacles, next thing I knew I heard laughing and looked back to see what was going on. Riley had pulled the leash out of my friends hand and was following along behind Gizmo and I doing all the obstacles we had just done. And she had never seen any of them before. I knew right then that she had to stay with us. So instead of adopting her out, we decided to add her to our family. To this day I feel so very lucky that her previous family decided to give her up.

Riley came to me at 1 year old and has had an amazing agility career over the years. In May Riley went to a 3 day agility trial with me and by the end of the weekend she just seemed off. I thought she may be sore and that she needed some rest, but I took her to the vet for X-ray's to make sure nothing was broken or otherwise. The vet told the X-ray only showed multiple locations of arthritis, which is to be expected for a dog with her agility career. We put her on 7 days more rest. She seemed okay, just didn't want to jump up on things. When she started to not want treats, from there she didn't want to eat her meals (this is a dog that would eat anything). So I took her back to the vet for full blood work. Here kidney levels were off, WBC was low and Calcium was high. Vet suggested a retest to be sure and an ultrasound. Retest was a little better but still mostly the same. We went on to the ultrasound, which showed an enlarged right liver but nothing else substantial. At the time of the ultrasound we noticed a lump in the pelvic region, since she was scheduled for a dental, I asked that they take the lump out and send it off. Just call it intuition. The lump turned out to be a very swollen Lymph Node and the pathology came back with the following:
"The lymph node is effected by compact cellular sheets or relatively uniform neoplastic hyphoblastic cells which fill sinuses and extend through the capsule into perinodal connective tissue. ... This is a malignant tumor and if generalized lymph node involvement is present, the prognosis must be very guarded. Chemotherapy may provide Temporary remission." This was all on June 14, 2006.

Riley was in such poor condition at this point that I had to administer Sub Q fluids 2x’s a day to help keep her system going. So we decided to go to an oncologist and go from there. However, we were in the process of moving from GA to NJ. The packers came on Monday, Tuesday and loaded our stuff on Wed. We were supposed to drive out of there a week from Friday. I didn't want to wait to start treatment, but wouldn’t be stable home wise for a few months. So I asked my local vet to contact University of PA and see what their protocol was, so that maybe we can start a treatment and then go to the oncologist there when we get up that way. We made the trip to Maryland where my parents live and I got myself set up with the critters while my husband left for a one month army school in Austin TX. I was on my own. I took Riley in to see the oncologist at University of >PA to get staged and continue treatment. She was staged as a 5b with a very guarded prognosis. We went every week driving 3 hours each way to her oncology appointments. It was a 19 week protocol and I was also trying to find a house in NJ for us to move into. On August 15th I left my parents and moved into our new residence in NJ. When we got a little settled I looked for an oncologist closer to home to continue treatment. We ended up finding one and she continued the protocol that University of PA started. On November 14, 2006 Riley finished that treatment and I was on top of the world. She had been in clinical remission since July 7, 2006 and I was thinking we had beat the cancer beast down. One November 23rd I noticed that Riley was not feeling well. She continued to get worse and I took her into the emergency center November 25th. After two different emergency visits, an oncology visit and many many tests, I was getting no answers. So we went to RedBank Veterinary Hospital for an CT Scan of the Chest and Neck. Indications were that the cancer was back in the bone and we would have to start a rescue therapy. By this point we had spent over $12 thousand dollars on Riley’s care and I did not know what to do. We were out of money and my baby girl needed more treatment. I decided to stay with the oncologist at RedBank as the cost was a little less that where we had been going. As I was trying to find a way to help my baby girl I was contacted by The Magic Bullet Fund and my hopes raised with the possibility of continued help with treatment costs. Riley has made a grand come back and is doing great on her second week of the Rescue Chemotherapy. Riley made it through the rescue protocol

Then on Tuesday March 20, we got blood test results back. We thought Riley was doing well. Thought she even was going to get a break from Chemo. Alas the results told us that the Calcium levels were elevated again. But Thursday I thought she was starting to hurt and she was sleeping a lot. We were in the process of trying to figure out if we would try another protocol. But Riley's body had other plans. She was too anemic and we had to wait till next week to see. By Friday I could tell she was hurting, more shaky on her feet but still eating and pottying on her own. Sat came and she was hurting more, then within 4 hours something just gave way. My precious girl was unable to get up and started to pant hard and cry out in pain. It just kept getting worse as we took her to the emergency room.

My special rescue girl, my first girl sheltie, my first dog ever to have to let go to the bridge.
I love you little girl. Your pain is done, your fight was valiant.

Roak Knoll Believe in Magic "Riley" 3/12/1996-3/24/2007

Riley newspaper article


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