Police Enforcement K-9 / Search & Rescue Dog Robin
Courageous Cancer Journey: Year 1

 All About Robin  |  Courageous Journey: Year 1  |  Courageous Journey: Year 2+

Police Enforcement K-9 / Search & Rescue Dog Robin

ROBIN IS THE FIRST GOLDEN RETRIEVER IN HISTORY to win the American Kennel Club Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) in Law Enforcement [2009], certified as a working Police K-9 specializing in Human Remains Detection, Narcotics and Mantrailing. Eight-year-old Golden Retriever Robin (Am-Can Ch. Nitro's Boy Wonder SDHF BISS TDI CGC, Police K-9/Search and Rescue Dog) and Mary MacQueen work for the Salamanca Police Department, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office, and assist with searches for the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force in Western New York State. In 2009 alone, Robin has been responsible for getting about half a million dollars worth of dangerous narcotics off the streets.

Robin and Mary were recipients of the 2008 Police Officer of the Year award for the Salamanca Police Department. In addition to his work in law enforcement, Robin is a therapy dog. And, when his busy schedule allows, he also leads local parades, visits hospitals and nursing homes, and makes trips to schools to educate students about the dangers of drug abuse. During community events and fundraisers, he can often be seen carrying a donation basket or lunch box filled with candy for the kids. Despite his intelligence, perseverance and beauty, Mary notes that temperament is by far Robin's strongest attribute, as noted in her comment below.

Any Golden fanciers who have had the pleasure of meeting Robin can attest to his utterly sweet disposition. Always willing to entertain the crowd, Robin has a real sense of humor, is reliable, trustworthy, and truly 'plays well with others!' [He] is especially fond of small dogs. Whenever he befriends a new one, he looks at us as if to say “Mom and Dad, can we keep him, can we, PLEASE??”

 Follow the journey . . . . . year one (Oct 2010 - Oct 2011)
Oct 19: The Beginning Oct 30: Cont. Donations Nov 13: The Plan Dec 11: A New Batch Mar 9: A New Leash on Life
Oct 20: w/Mary's note Nov 1: w/Golden Deposit Nov 14: Snuggies / Checks Dec 14: Four Days After Mar 10: A What a Showman!
Oct 21: w/school demo Nov 2: w/TV school demo Nov 16: Treatment Begins Dec 16: Hanging On Mar 13: More Robin & The Follies
Oct 22: In the News Nov 3: w/TV appearances Nov 19: Treatment Cont. Dec 23: Amazing Progress Mar 14: Robin Helping the Cause
Oct 23: w/Mary's Article Nov 4: Cont. Donations Dec 1: Special Diet & HOPE Dec 24: Holiday Greetings Mar 22: Incredible Checkup
Oct 24: Cont. Donations Nov 5: Cont. Donations Dec 4: Rally for Robin Dec 31: So Very Thankful Apr 16: Six months already?
Oct 25: Cont. Donations Nov 6: Cont. Donations Dec 6: Some Heartfelt Help Jan 5: Down Under Gifts May 17: Seven Months
Oct 26: Soon Howl-o-ween Nov 7: Cont. Donations Dec 7: Waiting for the Bus Jan 8: GReat Progress Report June 21: Eight Months
Oct 27: Cont. Donations Nov 8: Cont. Donations Dec 8: LOTS of Meds Jan 25: Such a Star! July 19: Nine Months
Oct 28: w/Mary's Article Nov 10: Special Story Dec 9: A HAPPY DAY Feb 9: GReat 2-Month Report Oct 3: Catching Up
Oct 29: Cont. Donations Nov 11: Condition Update Dec 10: Golden Karma Feb 17: TV Appearance Update Oct 15: A Happy 9th Birthday

Jan 22, 2012

Mary: "How we spent our weekend, teaching a Ski Patrol mountain travel and rescue class at Denton Hill Ski resort in PA. A balmy 13 degrees Saturday night. but we had Robin in the tent to help keep us warm. He had a blast and was somewhat lame from chasing his Frisbee all weekend! That boy NEVER quits!"

We have lots to share today. Mary continues to be very busy with Robin, even having him accompany her when she teaches her SAR classes. Here, you can see them together on one such venture in the middle of December 2011.

On January 17th, Mary reported the results from Robin's most recent appointment at Cornell:

"Well, Robin's appointment at Cornell didn't go exactly as
Planned today as he was not 100%. That's because the
vet said he's 110%! They are thrilled with how he is doing!
Happy dance!"

Mary shared this with us and it made our day:

"As you put it Rochelle, Robin continues to be my a
miracle man. He probably looks healthier than he ever
has, and his coat is as shiny and luxurious as it could
be. I actually have him entered in the Golden Retriever
specialty in Hamburg New York this coming weekend,
and I dare say he looks so good, he may actually win it!
He continues to do demonstrations for the schools etc.,
and is loving life! "

Now, Robin only needs to be checked every 2 months. But, Mary is still so very diligent when it comes to his diet.







Over the last year Mary has had many people contact her about Robin's cancer starving diet. Even though we provided it below on December 1st, 2010, folks have contacted her with specific questions about how to prepare it.

When Mary initially started making this diet, she spent an unbelievable amount of hours in the kitchen. We felt the same way when we began home cooking for our Goldens when Darcy was diagnosed with Cancer in 2005. We streamlined the process in a similar way to what Mary has done.

After over a year's work, Mary believes she has finally streamlined it to make it more user-friendly. We have taken that version and added Mary's photos showing the various stages of the procedures detailed. Print your own copy and keep as a fabulous reference. Just click here.

Robin says: "Mom has been stockpiling my anti-cancer diet ingredients, YUM, YUM, YUMMY! Otis thinks they're yummy too!"





Nov 16, 2011
On Monday, Mary shared this: "'Robin and I are headed to Ithaca tonight for Robin's one year appointment at Cornell tomorrow. 3 hours of grooming done, now on to 3 hours of driving; visions of a perfect check up...priceless! Can't wait to spend the evening playing with Robin, Stink Pup and the gang in the hotel!"

Then, she shared this funny addition: "Well, while the Guardian Angels were busy with Robin, I think they forgot about me. I had put Robin's bag of fresh cooked Salmon food in the front pocket of my suitcase to take into the hotel room, as it was too heavy for him to carry in his lunch bag. When I got into the hotel, I discovered the Ziplock bag had opened, spilling salmon juice all over my clothes. Needless to say, all the cats in the waiting room at Cornell loved me yesterday!"

Robin says: "Yaay! At the hotel with all my favorite things! I'm gonna rock at my appointment tomorrow. Think if I swallow Stink Pup he'll show up on my ultrasound tomorrow?"

Robin says "MOM! Throw my toys!"

Well, here is the good news from Mary: "It's the best news ever, Robin's ultrasound was clean as a whistle and the blood work normal. Robin is now officially CANCER FREE! Thank you all, we couldn't have done it without you! THANK YOU!"

Robin says: "Hi everybody, this is where the nice doctor from Cornell had to shave my belly so he could see all my stuffing! I told him my squeaker was off limits!"




Oct 15, 2011



Oct 3, 2011
Mary's last report on September 22nd was wonderful. She happily reported that "Robin made it through another Cornell check-up with flying colors (mostly Golden)! They said his blood work was perfect and all organ functions looked great with no signs of any suspicious areas on skin. A yearly check-up and ultrasound is scheduled for November 15th. Party time!"

Our Miracle Man Robin was recently asked to carry the flag in the annual Falling Leaves Festival parade, which took place at 1pm today in Salamanca, NY. He was in the second unit  behind the American Legion Honor Guard.

Robin says "I love a Parade!"

"Even in the rain . . ."

"La, la, la, la"

Be sure to go to Mary's Facebook page to see a short clip of Robin helping the parade honor guard with flag duties.



July 19, 2011

"Cornell said I couldn't look any healthier! Another 100% clean bill of health for your favorite K9 Robin, whee!"




June 21, 2011
Eight Months . . . and
Robin's mom, Am./Can. Ch. Nitro's Blaze of Glory CGC TDI SAR K-9 "Willow" 12/8/98 - 5/31/11
By Mary MacQueen

Robin continues to thrive since completing his radiation therapy for cancer in November.

But, Willow, Robin's mother, and the mother of many other great Goldens, recently left my side. With much sadness, I regret to have to report that my most amazing Search and Rescue (SAR) partner ever, "Willow", now holds a respected place at the Rainbow Bridge.

My heart dog, and Robin's mom Willow left us on 5/31/11 to meet her brother Badger at the Rainbow bridge. The best Search and Rescue dog ever, she was even requested to 9/11. This cuts so deeply. Have fun at the bridge with all your friends and family my sweetest girl. I will be with you again someday . . .

For those that did not have the pleasure of knowing my beloved Golden Retriever Willow, AKA Ch. Nitro's Blaze of Glory, she was an amazing dog. She taught me so much about SAR, and more importantly, what I didn't know, yet needed to know about SAR!

There was the time that she came back to tell me she had found the lost subject, carrying an open bag of Cheetos in her mouth. It's kind of hard to do a bark alert and re-find that way! So I told her to "out" the Cheetos, which she did. She then gave me her obligatory bark, then jumped up, grabbed the Cheetos bag, and ran back to the victim with the bag in her mouth. Only when her job was complete did she feel free enough to start eating all those Cheetos she had dropped!!! Yes, with all the successes, Willow taught me what a great SAR dog SHE was...

Much larger than that, I will share an amazing lesson Willow taught me about humility that I will never forget. Willow and I were called in the dead of winter in two feet of snow, to do a river/water search in -20 degree temps. Willow, forever the Walmart greeter, was taken to the boat on lead for fear she would have to say hello to everyone at the scene. (Willow was quite the talker!) Two hours of water searching by boat turned up nothing. I took her back to my patrol car, which was parked at the boat launch, again on lead to avoid too much 'happiness' by Willow at a solemn scene.

I had decided to put out a small cadaver find after the search, to give Willow a chance at a little success on an otherwise unsuccessful day. For those of you that knew Willow, she LOVED her work, yet each time I tried to get her to search, she ran back to our patrol car. I finally took her to the area of the find and practically dug it out of the snow myself to get her to alert on it.

We never found the missing woman that day. Two weeks later, our local forest ranger, also the incident commander on the search, called me to meet him at the boat launch. They had found the body, under two feet of snow...less than 5 feet behind where my patrol car had been parked that day.

Yes, Willow WAS one of the great ones. I will miss her terribly. G-d speed dearest Willow, and in your grand fashion may you welcome all who follow you to the Rainbow Bridge. "Good girl Willow, Free dog!"

Willow enjoying the garden on May 31, 2011

It was Willow that captured my eye when I discovered your incredible work ethic so many years ago. Those Goldens at the beginning always seem to remain the most cherished. And, just impossible to let go.
― Rochelle Lesser, Founder, Land of PureGold Foundation




May 17, 2011
Seven Months . . . .
By Mary MacQueen

Well here I sit seven months since Robin was diagnosed with cancer. I am happy to report that thus far, I have a very healthy dog sitting next to me vying for my attention. It has not been an easy road with the long drives, even longer nights away from home, and the endless hours of preparing his meals. With that special diet, I have cooked and Robin has consumed almost 200 pounds of Salmon as well as all those fruits, vegetables, and vitamins! I have to tell you it was worth every hour and every mile.

Robin continues to amaze me and his veterinarians with his vim and vigor, and his boundless energy through all of this. He continues to get acupuncture treatments from Dr. Stein and his wonderful staff in Amherst, NY; and at his check-up today at Cornell University he amazed his oncologists once again. In fact, the appointment went so well that Robin does not need to return for a checkup until July 17th.

Robin has not been called back to Police work yet (although I am once again working for the local Sheriff’s Dept), but his social calendar would never give evidence to that fact. I addition to being my demo dog for our dog training academies at Extreme K-9, he has been busy appearing at fundraisers for two different stray animal organizations, dutifully carrying the donation basket throughout the day. The next few months are filled with community day appearances, as well as several Relay For Life appearances as a cancer survivor.

We are still doing demonstrations for the school children, and had the funniest one ever last month when Robin accidentally set off the fire alarm while trying to get to where the drugs were located! Throughout all those alarm bells going off, he just sat there patiently waiting for me to give him his reward toy.

Most importantly, he has also been called several times to assist with the rehabilitation of children who have been the victims of sexual predators and domestic violence. In retrospect, I have to believe that Robin lost his job and survived this cancer to be able to answer to this higher calling.

Words can never express the gratitude I feel for all who helped in the fight for my beloved Robin, and it is my hope that we can continue to not only pay, but “paw” it forward for many years to come!


On a sad note, though, our hearts are with Mary given her recent loss. Sweet Badger, one of Mary's Golden kids, went to meet his family at the Rainbow Bridge this afternoon. Can. Ch. Nitro's Runs With Scissors "Badger" 12/16/99 to 5/17/11 (shown here in his working vest) was starting to suffer due to a nasal tumor.

And, Mary could not allow that, telling folks "that will NEVER happen to our gang. Sleep well my dear Badger..."

The cycle of life seems to be taking center stage in Mary's life right now.

From taking care of her current litter to meeting Robin's special dietary/medical needs to easing Badger to a life with no pain, she has been rocked by emotion.

Yet, she continues to endure. And, to be a help to others. An amazing woman for sure.











April 16, 2011
Well, it's time to catch folks up with what has been happening in Mary and Robin's world since our last update on March 22nd. So, so much has been happening, and how Mary manages it all is beyond us. First, we have to celebrate hitting the 6 month anniversary from the date of Robin's diagnosis. Simply amazing. What a comeback this boy is having. It just blows us away.

Robin is now the proud grandpaw' to six babies from his daughter Dimples, born on March 29th.

There are five boys and one domineering, demanding, I will NOT be ignored kind of girl (Mary's kind of gal). According to Mary, all are doing well, and Robin celebrated on March 31st by spending the day getting an acupuncture treatment with pain veterinary specialist, Dr. Bob Stein. While we've gotten acupuncture for our Golden Darcy, the vet never had anything out except for her trusty needles. But, if you look at the photos below you will see Robin hooked up to a machine as well. Looks pretty cool.

After being such a good boy on March 31st, Robin had to just kick back and be a boy on April 1st. Robin says "Sorry Mom, you know how I just LOVE my morning Zoomies in the mud. And after all, it is April Fools day!"

Mary took Robin back to work on April 5th. They had the Demo of all demos at Northwood Elementary in West Seneca, NY. Mary thought she would try fooling the kids by hiding drugs on the wall instead of in items on the floor. All was going well until Robin decided to jump up to smell where the drugs were. And, where did that happen to be? Right where there was a Fire Alarm. Must have been pure chaos when that alarm went off. 

Finally, we thought we'd share a Youtube video on the Golden Retriever. It shows lots of working dogs like Robin, with footage that we actually took at The White House of a wonderful mobility service dog named Caesar. And, we are including it here because Robin made it as well!




March 22, 2011
Fantastic news, Cornell was so impressed with Robin's exam today that they said he doesn't need to come back for TWO MONTHS. Really, this is truly amazing. You just don't get such good checkups like this ...... in the land of canine cancer.

This puppy party should have been all about Robin, but Mary just couldn't resist having Robin's mom Willow tell the story. "Only 9 months to live from October 2010, HA! We've got news for you cancer, we are gonna kick your ass!"




March 14, 2011

This is one of Mary's favorite photos from the Jamestown High School's Will Rogers Follies musical, Robin collecting money from the audience for the benefit of Ryan Malarkey's chapter of Alex's Lemonade Stand. Over $4000 was collected by the cast members and through lemonade sales to benefit childhood cancer.



March 13, 2011
Robin did such a marvelous job in the Jamestown High School's Will Rogers Follies. Enjoy the videos and photos below.

Mary spoke before the performance about Robin helping with the fundraiser for Alex's Lemonade stand to raise monies to fight childhood cancer.


This is an audience member's video of part of Robin's March 12 Will Rogers Follies performance.


From Robin: "This is Lillie Gabreski, my expert trainer/handler in the musical. I LOVE HER. ALWAYS AND FOREVER! She said she has never worked a dog before but I know better. She is a natural, and I think she is pretty hot too! I Love you Lillie ♥ ♥ ♥"


Here is Robin and Lillie in action.


Here's Robin with some of 'his' girls from the show.


Robin, Lillie, and the entire cast of the Will Rogers Follies


Robin is shown here with his award he received last night for "Community Spirit" in the Will Rogers Follies. He says: "Hey mom, look what I got at the show! Is this that guy Tony you were talking about?"




 March 10, 2011
We just adore this photo of Robin in the dressing room tonight, waiting to go on stage for his performance in the Jamestown High School's Will Rogers Follies. What a showman!




March 9, 2011
We are so thrilled with Robin's progress. Since finishing his punishing round of radiation treatments, he has once again begun doing more work in the community. Robin will be helping the Friends of Strays, Inc. raise money for homeless animals at Parkview Supermarkets in Salamanca, NY next Saturday.

If you live in the area, why don't you come give Robin healing hugs and drop a few bucks in his basket! The Friends of Strays, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue group dedicated to spay & neuter programs, animal health & safety, and finding families for homeless pets. They hope one day to have a permanent animal shelter or eliminate the need for one.

THE EVENT:  Friends of Strays Day with ROBIN
THE LOCATION:  Parkview Supermarkets, 545 Broad Street, Salamanca, NY
THE TIME:  ‎9:00am on Saturday, March 19th


Always the showman, Robin is also appearing as a special guest in a local community high school musical: the Jamestown High School's Will Rogers Follies. Performances will run Thursday March 10th at 7:30pm, Friday March 11th at 7:30pm, and Saturday March 12th at 2:00 & 7:30pm. Tickets are $8 and are available at the door at the Reg Lenna Theater on 116 East Third St in Jamestown, NY.

Robin back stage waiting for the first performance to begin...

Here is a fabulous article from The Post-Journal about the show.

Fun For A Good Cause Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Special Canine Guest To Be Featured At JHS Musical
By Dave Emke (demke@post-journal.com), March 9, 2011


Jamestown High School will present ‘‘Will Rogers Follies’’ at the Reg Lenna Civic Center from Thursday through Saturday. Pictured above are some of the cast members.

Will Rogers was a great humanitarian, helping numerous causes during his life and giving much of his fortune away to charities.

So it's only fitting that during the Jamestown High School musical production of ''Will Rogers Follies,'' a worthwhile cause will be supported.

Funds will be raised for Alex's Lemonade Stand, an organization benefiting pediatric cancer research, during this year's musical at the Reg Lenna Civic Center, March 10 through 12. Locally, the cause of Alex's Lemonade Stand has been championed by Kim Malarkey and her 8-year-old son, Ryan.

Ryan was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma in March 2006.

A rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer, nearly 70 percent of children diagnosed with the disease before the age of 5 - as Ryan was - make it to adulthood.

But Ryan is a lucky one, his mother said, thanks to new cancer research that is only being made possible because of foundations such as Alex's Lemonade Stand.

She said that because of the influx of money being provided to pediatric cancer research in recent years thanks to Alex's Lemonade Stand and other such fundraising organizations, her son was able to mark four years of being cancer free on Dec. 8.

''The research money has helped Ryan because it provided him with a therapy that wasn't available 20 years ago,'' Mrs. Malarkey said, adding after other treatments failed, her son received mouse antibodies that have forced his cancer into remission. ''That's why organizations like Alex's Lemonade Stand are critical. ... I'm just so grateful Ryan is here, but he's one of the lucky ones.''

During the four productions of the musical at the Reg Lenna Civic Center - Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. - a stand will be set up in the lobby offering lemonade, coffee and baked goods in exchange for donations to the cause. In addition, musical director Michele Constantino said she will bring Mrs. Malarkey and Ryan onto the stage before the show to tell their story and speak about the organization.

Ms. Constantino, who said she is also marking five years of being in remission from cancer, said that making the community aware of important issues is vital.

''Without people really thinking about this, things don't happen,'' she said. ''Awareness is a really important thing.''

The Malarkeys first hosted an Alex's Lemonade Stand at their home in 2007, then hosted one at the Foote Avenue Quality Markets later the same year.

In 2008 and 2009, they expanded their efforts to the entire Penn Traffic Corporation, which owned Quality Markets, and raised more than $100,000 for the cause.

Mrs. Malarkey said she has always been impressed with how Jamestown and the surrounding community has been willing to offer its support to those in need.

''It just blows me away that people are just so giving and want to help kids like Ryan,'' she said. ''I'm probably going to cry on the stage.''


Dec. 8 was a big day for Ryan Malarkey, as it was his four-year anniversary of being cancer-free.

Dec. 8 was also a big day for Robin, a trained golden retriever and former Salamanca Police dog - it was the date of his last radiation treatment at Cornell University in his battle with cutaneous epitheliotropic lymphoma.

And, like Ryan, he's been cancer-free since.

Robin's trainer and handler, Mary MacQueen, said that her prized pup has had a positive attitude ever since his October diagnosis.

''There hasn't ever been a bad day,'' she said. ''The side effects (of his radiation) at one point were like third-degree burns all along the bottom of his chin and his neck, and on his worst day ... it was going from carrying four toys to only carrying three.''

Robin will show his toy-carrying skills and much, much more to the ''Will Rogers Follies'' audiences as he will make an appearance during the musical's St. Louis Exposition scene. Mrs. MacQueen has been working with JHS junior Lillie Gabreski to teach her to work with Robin on stage, and she says the student is a natural.

''I told Lillie, 'You have the hottest guy in this whole play out here working with you. You have to be proud of him, you have to be happy. If you're up, he's up,''' Mrs. MacQueen said. ''And she's just so good, she takes every single word I say to heart.''

Ms. Gabreski said that although she has never done any animal handling before - beyond simple commands such as ''sit'' with her own dogs - she is finding Robin to be an amicable co-star.

''Robin is the most amazing dog I've ever met,'' she said. ''Besides being a wonderful police dog and helping the community with that work, he just listens to everything you say.''

Robin has appeared on NBC's ''Today,'' Animal Planet and on the front cover of Dog World magazine. He has received numerous awards for his talents in the police world and as a show dog.

While he is not a "trick" dog, Mrs. MacQueen said, getting him to do stunts for his role in ''Will Rogers Follies'' isn't a problem. Robin will do pretty much anything that is asked of him, she said, so long as he is directed to do it in a positive way. Rehearsals, she said, have been about training Ms. Gabreski to properly do that.

''I don't think it's going to be a problem with Lillie directing him - she's learning really quickly,'' Mrs. MacQueen said, adding that the main things to remember when commanding a dog is to maintain tone of voice and presence. ''As long as you have the right attitude, the dog will be like, 'Hey, whatever you want.'''

Mrs. MacQueen and Ms. Gabreski are working on a routine with Robin that will last about five minutes, the handler said, and will have the audience entranced. Ms. Gabreski said that she's sure that once the crowd lays eyes upon the dog, they'll be putty in his paws.

''Anyone who sees him falls in love with him,'' she said. ''He's such a beautiful dog, amazing and friendly, and wonderful to work with.''

General admission tickets to see ''Will Rogers Follies'' as presented by the students of Jamestown High School are available for $8 at the Reg Lenna Box Office or by calling 484-7070.

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February 17, 2011
On January 25th, we told you to be on the lookout for Robin to appear with Melissa Holmes from News Channel 4 WIVB-TV in Buffalo, New York. Well, here you go. First, is a filmed feature and then a live studio appearance.




February 9, 2011
Well, Robin's 2nd month checkup turned out to be another winner. What great news. It is really quite amazing that he's had a 100% clean checkup.


From Robin: "Here we are at Cornell, waiting for our appointment. Me and the big Stinky P made it thru PT just in time yesterday. Wish us luck today."




January 25, 2011
Check out Robin with Melissa Holmes from News Channel 4 WIVB-TV in Buffalo, New York. They will be running a special feature in mid-February. Robin and Mary will be going to the studio that day for a live feed. They want to tape right after Robin's next cancer check-up, which is February 8th at Cornell.

From Robin: "Hey guys, eat your hearts out, I AM the man! It's K-9 Officer Robin here with my new friend Melissa Holmes from News Channel 4 WIVB-TV in Buffalo, NY. (Sometimes you just have to make sacrifices.) See, CHICKS DO DIG SCARS!"



January 8, 2011

Robin's one-month post radiation appointment (January 6th) revealed another cancer-free checkup. The next appointment is in one month, and Mary is "taking them one at a time from here on out and demanding nothing but positive results!"

One more little crusty left on Robin's neck,
but chicks always dig battle scars.
One month post radiation and smooth as a baby's bottom
with no more ouchies.

Amazingly, Mary investigated some earlier 2008 photos of Robin and found evidence of a lesion on Robin's lip. Check them out below and you will see just how difficult it is to catch this kind of thing.


Depigmentation on left lower lip in December 2008, opposite side cancer was first discovered on. This side did end up showing cancer on second biopsy on November 5th, 2010.


Right lip lesion visible in a photo from December 2009. This is the lesion that ended up first showing cancer when biopsied on October 11th, 2010.

Right lip lesion somewhat visible in 5-8-08 drug bust photo



January 5, 2011

Robin checking into the Holiday Inn in Ithaca today. He's a Priority Club member don't you know!

Robin got some special gifts from his BFF from down under, Aunty Lynn & cousin Ros!





December 31, 2010

So Very Thankful
By Mary MacQueen

I received a check from the Land of PureGold Foundation on Monday, and Robin has already deposited it into his account. The girls at the bank were just thrilled to see Robin again after his treatments, and just revelled at how great he looked!

Thanks go to Rochelle for taking the time to sort all those emails out of folks wanting to divert their donations to help with hotel & medical travel expenses. She will never know how thankful I am for all she and her foundation have done for Robin. I know it has been very trying and a monumental amount of work. Robin and I can only hope one day soon to meet Rochelle to thank her personally for all she has done.

I especially wanted to share with you a special letter I recently received. It was addressed exactly like this:

To "Robin" (Hero) c/o Mary MacQueen

Inside I found a Christmas card which said "Robin, I wish you well, you are my hero!! :) and the same for your family". It was signed "Love, an admirer, Merry Christmas 12-25-10".

Also inside the envelope, was tucked a crisp $50 bill. No return address, no signature, just a card filled with love. I am now a bowl of pudding.

How can I ever let these people know how much their support has meant to Robin and me? The human spirit is amazing. I am so fortunate to have such an amazing support system.

Here are two photos that you will love. One is of Robin with his two top-notch Cornell Radiation staff technicians, Laura (on the left) and Jean (on the right), taken before his appointment on December 22nd.

These girls loved Robin like their own and it showed. He gladly went with them each and every day, trusting in the journey that they were about to take him on.

The other photo was taken of Robin delivering Christmas gifts to Dr. Stein's Pain Management Center on December 29th. Rice Crispy treats, of course, because they are nice and light, and easy to carry!

Robin's appointment last Wednesday, Dec 22nd, went off without a hitch, and he passed each test with flying colors. We go back to Cornell next Thursday for another two-week check up.




December 24, 2010

A Holiday Message from Mary: To all Robin's wonderful friends, we couldn't have done it without you. Merry Christmas and G-d bless! Have the Happiest of Holidays, we love you all!





December 23, 2010
Well, we're back with a great new updates, first from Robin and then from Mary.

Robin says, "Yep, Mom groomed me and soaked all the yuckies off my lower jaw. I think it's looking pretty good now!"

By Mary MacQueen

Here's Robin back in Ithaca at the hotel waiting to go to his recheck appointment at Cornell on Tuesday, December 22nd.

It's been a great last few days. Some children who made get well cards were at the local restaurant Tuesday night. I beat feet home to get Robin, his Santa hat, and his basket with trading cards which he hasn't been able to carry for a while. When we got there, I put on his hat and he literally jumped up and grabbed his basket, and ran inside!

Below, Roving Reporter "Stink Pup" shares a few videos of Wednesday's appointment in Ithaca for Robin's first check after radiation. I just spoke with Dr Malone who says everything looks A-OK, with no lymph node enlargement or abnormalities noted. WOOHOO! So far so good. Merry Christmas to Robin . . . AND me.

I met with the vet after Robin's checkup today and she just raved about how well Robin is doing. She said she is absolutely amazed at his progress and doesn't ever remember a dog rebounding like this. She also checked him over with a fine-toothed comb and at this point can't find any evidence of cancer! He will stay on all pain meds etc. for two more weeks until his next appointment. Merry Christmas to all!





December 16, 2010
Goldens are so very often stoic, so it's good that Dr. Stein is on the job. Although Robin's mouth and face look a mess, it is definitely not effecting his quality of life. Otherwise, he would not still be carrying around his toys and wanting to play tug with them.

Five Days after Radiation

Six Days after Radiation ... Holding onto his Bee

To cheer folks up after seeing such horrid radiation photos, check out Robin in the snow. This is one week post radiation. Those pain meds must be doing the trick, that's for sure.

Golden Snow Angels - Robin on top, Mama Willow the middle, Daughter Dimples bottom

 Robin and Mom

On another happier note, here is K9 Demo video from the 2010 GRCA National Specialty in Colorado, about two weeks before Robin was diagnosed.



December 14, 2010

Robin with his *Bee* . . . 4 days after radiation



December 11, 2010
Well, Robin is back home for a bit, having finished all of his radiation at Cornell. But, Mary just checked the freezer to find only enough food for Robin to last until tomorrow morning. So, it's off to the store to buy more supplies for the massive food prep session ahead.

We know about these sessions as we have a special organic home-cooked diet for our Alfie and do it the same way. But, we do not include pomegranate in his diet as it truly is a mess to handle, even if the nutrients from this fruit are incredible. You can surely see why Mary says "Pomegranate is Evil!"




December 10, 2010
Mary just called to let us know about Robin's appointment with Dr. Stein (shown below with Golden Dozer (Lord rest his soul) & Dobby). He runs the Animal Pain Management Center, a veterinary referral practice in Snyder, NY that is devoted to improving quality of life and extending the time we have with our furry companions. This two-part benefit is achieved by coordinating several related disciplines: advanced anesthesia, pain management, cancer management, physical rehabilitation therapy, acupuncture and herbal therapy.

Animal Pain Management Center: Pain has Lifelong Consequences

Painful events can have profound lifelong impact. The pain system has its own memory. Painful events can make future injuries and surgeries more painful than they should have been and they can create patients that are often much more fearful when visiting the veterinary practice. Compassionate practices manage stress and pain from the first puppy or kitten procedures right through the lifetime of the pet.

Our cherished pets deserve the most comfortable life that we can provide for them. Pain and stress management, from their first surgical experiences, is required to provide the optimal quality of life. By doing so, you minimize adverse associations with your practice and maximize the delivery of timely healthcare.

Pain and weakness can be the reason we lose a pet. With age comes many health concerns that have the potential for pain or weakness of such intensity that we consider putting our pets to sleep. Severe arthritis or back pain and cancer pain are a few of the pain entities that we commonly view as life ending. When the pain associated with these disorders is effectively controlled we can enjoy a wonderful extension of time with our loved ones.

The timing of patient intervention is crucial. Too often we are presented with patients that have end-stage osteoarthritis or are unable to stand at all on their own. It is remarkable that we can so often make a huge difference for these challenging patients but osteoarthritic, back pain, and weakness patients must be seen early in the course of their disease in order to make the best possible impact on long term patient outcome.

Cancer and the pain it causes can often be controlled. Our director has over 30 years of successful cancer management experience. You may be surprised to know that chemotherapy is usually very well tolerated by our patients. In addition, pain strategies, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, and anticancer herbals can all be useful tools to extend patient comfort and longevity.

The average veterinarian lacks the knowledge needed to treat tough pain and dysfunction. This is not a criticism, it is a reality in both human medicine and veterinary medicine. Most doctors are unaware of the best medication combinations or doses needed for effective pain control (multimodal analgesia), the critical need for early rehabilitative care, and the potential benefits from acupuncture. There is too much dependence on NSAIDs (the class most likely to cause liver, kidney, or GI issues) at most practices. There is little to no consideration for the inclusion of physical rehabilitation unless the owner requests it.

Dr. Stein helps other veterinarians due to the limited programs in pain management (still the norm in small animal general practice) by creating the Veterinary Anesthesia & Analgesia Support Group website, a site that currently hosts about 20 thousand visitors monthly. Dr. Stein is also one of a select group of anesthesia & analgesia consultants on the Veterinary Information Network, a provider to over 31 thousand veterinarians and veterinary students worldwide. Do share Dr. Stein's fabulous March 2008 article: Newer Options for Chronic Pain Management, which we created in PDF (printable) form so that folks could readily share it with their own veterinarians. Dr. Stein can be reached at (716) 839-1100 or drstein@vasg.org.

Amazingly, Mary found this miracle worker online, which we know was truly Golden Karma.

Robin indeed got his Christmas miracle from Dr. Robert Stein. What a compassionate and caring staff. Doc got Robin on all the correct compliment of meds to keep him comfortable throughout his symptoms. I feel like Dr. Stein is Robin's very own personal trainer of the veterinary world! Obviously, Dr. Stein is a genius.

Mary spent well over two hours with the good doctor and he illustrated to her just how pain is determined in our furry friends, especially ones who are as stoic as Robin. We are thrilled that Robin is getting such wonderful care. And, Mary let us know that soft-hearted Dr. Stein has offered all of his services for FREE as part of the Life Extension Fund that he set up in his Golden Dozer's memory. Five-year-old Dozer recently died (summer 2010) after collapsing outside while playing. Although an autopsy was not completed, this type of sudden loss is not uncommon in dogs with hemangiosarcoma.

Effects thus far from radiation, and the gifts given to Robin, good and bad, by the radiation staff at Cornell.

From Mary: "Dr. Robert Stein of the Animal Pain Management Center in Amherst, NY is a genius. Look at how well Robin is doing on his new meds. Not groggy at all and full of life. Thanks for the Christmas miracle from Doc Stein, Robin's new personal trainer of the veterinary world!"

Dr. Bob Stein is a graduate of Michigan State University where he distinguished himself with a perfect 4.0 pre-veterinary GPA. He was awarded the Phi Zeta Award for graduating second in his class and the AAHA Senior Student Award for best overall proficiency in small animal medicine and surgery. His interest in surgery led him to the University of Minnesota where he spent an additional year studying advanced surgery under the guidance of the board certified surgical faculty. In 1991 Dr. Stein was bitten by the anesthesia & pain management bug while attending a multiday program at Michigan State. His general practice, the Amherst Small Animal Hospital, began the widespread use of pain medications shortly thereafter. In 1997 Dr. Stein began a series of seven anesthesia & pain management clerkships at Michigan State University. In February 2006 Dr. Stein spent the entire month on the anesthesia & pain management service at the University of Florida. In December of 2005 Dr. Stein successfully completed the American Academy of Pain Management credentialing process, making him only the 4th veterinarian to be awarded the title of Diplomate, American Academy of Pain Management. 2006 also saw Dr. Stein complete the Chi Institute small animal acupuncture program. These are the pain management services provided:

Western Medical TherapyAn effective pain management program needs to be broad based. No single medication or method is effective in all pain situations. Too often, animal patients are only given NSAID medications. Too often the medications chosen are not well matched to the pain condition or the doses of medications are inadequate for the level of pain present. Pain management may require extended intravenous infusions of key pain blocking agents, epidural (spinal) injections of pain relievers, and combinations of oral medications. We work with you to find a strategy that is not only effective but also one that the patient will readily accept. Pain medications must be carefully matched to any other disease conditions present. Flexibility is the cornerstone of our program.

Physical Rehabilitation Therapy Physical Therapy (PT) is a critical element in human pain and injury management. Physical Rehabilitation Therapy (PRT) provides these same tools to management patient pain and dysfunction. PRT often allows us to reduce or eliminate pain medication for chronic pain patients. We incorporate PRT methods into every situation possible to improve the recovery rate and maximize the degree of patient function. Our goal is not just to have the patient do "OK"; we want our patients to resume their activities of daily living (ADLs). We offer Underwater Treadmill (UWTM), Land Treadmill, E-stim Whirlpool, Ultrasound Therapy, Laser Therapy, TENS, NMES, as well as a rich assortment of land based options. We work with you to develop an effective Home Exercise Program (HEP). In addition, we conduct a detailed review of the Home Environment as well as a review of the appliances that can be used to maximize your pet's function while helping to reduce the risk of owner injury. PRT should be a comprehensive program combining aquatic and, quite critically, non-aquatic office based modalities along with home modifications and exercise programs. PLEASE NOTE: PRT is not simply getting your pet into a pool or UWTM. Nor is it simply laser therapy.

Acupuncture & Herbal Therapy Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is steeped in a long history and tradition. There are many pain, paralysis, and cancer patients that either have no good treatment option through conventional western medicine channels or the options available are judged to be too risky or too expensive. Many patients fail to tolerate western medications. Many patients have disease conditions that prevent the use of many western medications. TCVM provides for the care of these important patients. Acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and aquapuncture coordinated with Chinese herbal therapy often provides dramatic relief for difficult pain, weakness, and cancer patients.

Advanced Anesthetic Services Advanced anesthetic methods are a natural extension of an advanced pain management program and a key aspect of our practice. Over the past fifteen years we have incorporated extremely sophisticated management techniques into our anesthetic safety program. Whether a patients has kidney disease, heart disease, or is simply very old, by focusing on safety details we can improve the likelihood of a successful outcome. Every patient has detailed monitoring in place including dual blood pressure, pulse oximeter, ECG, and end-tidal CO2 monitors. Direct arterial and central venous blood pressure monitoring is a very advanced monitoring option routinely employed at our practice. Every patient has a dedicated staff member monitoring their anesthesia. Multi-level blood pressure support is available at the patient's side. We provide advanced anesthesia support at our practice and we have the option of providing advanced anesthetic support at your normal veterinary practice.

Pawspice End of Life Support One of the most difficult and the most painful decisions is that decision about when we have to let our beloved pets go; when their quality of life has diminished to the point that they are suffering unnecessarily. By combining the best elements of pain management, PRT, cancer management, and the balance of acupuncture and herbal therapy we can provide a unique opportunity for your pet to enjoy significant additional time with the family.



December 9, 2010
I believe Robin must be getting royal treatment at Cornell as their chief oncologist who has written about Robin's case and prognosis for their upcoming publication (a release date of December 20th). Here is a snippet from that article:

Early detection protected Robin’s life, a favor that the Golden Retriever’s owner hopes he will return countless times when he resumes his duties as a police dog.

When Officer Mary MacQueen noticed a pink, thick spot on Robin’s lower lip, she knew that it was likely cancer. “With Goldens, it’s not a question of if they get cancer, it’s a matter of when they will get cancer,” she said, drawing from her experiences of more than 30 years as a breeder. After conferring with her veterinarian, MacQueen, a decorated police officer from Salamanca, N.Y., brought Robin to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA) for treatment. At Cornell, MacQueen’s partner was diagnosed with cutaneous epitheliotropic lymphoma, a fairly aggressive and rare skin cancer that is not usually detected until it has metastasized.

“Officer MacQueen’s quick detection was a key factor in our success,” said Dr. Margaret McEntee, professor of oncology and section chief for oncology at CUHA. “Once cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the future is less than bright.”

Seen in only 3 to 8 percent of all canine lymphoma cases, the early stages present symptoms similar to inflammatory skin disease, according to McEntee, who adds that advanced stages typically have more skin lesions on the oral, nasal and eye areas. In addition, McEntee noted that when compared to other types of lymphoma, this type affects the skin first but can metastasize to lymph nodes and other organs.

Robin’s treatment began with the removal of his right lymph node and aspiration of his left to check for metastasis. This was followed with 15 radiation treatments on the lower jaw and regional lymph nodes, with oral pain medicine and nerve blocks prescribed to make him more comfortable. “They tried to stay away from his upper jaw as much as possible, so as not to affect his scenting ability,” said MacQueen. “Robin’s career should be long. Physically, he’s a strong dog. Most police dogs have to give up because structurally, their joints begin to fail. This shouldn’t happen with Robin as his genes are strong. Goldens are made for this type of work. They’ve been bred to hunt. Birds, of course, are what most Goldens are asked to hunt, but they can easily be trained to search for anything.”

Robin specializes in mantrailing, evidence search, narcotics and human remains detection. He is responsible for keeping many thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs off the streets, according to MacQueen. In addition, he is a show champion, and earned the 2009 American Kennel Club’s coveted Award for Canine Excellence in Law Enforcement.

“Without training, Robin could have been the dog with ADHD,” said MacQueen, who is also a professional dog trainer. “Instead, he is a successful police dog who has and will continue to save lives.”

Happy Days . . . . Hopefully to Come
By Mary MacQueen

Another beautiful sunny day for our drive home from Cornell, the difference is WE'RE ALL DONE! Wow! No snow here in Ithaca, but my husband says we have over four feet at home! I can't wait to see it. I love the snow.

Well, Robin just finished his 16th radiation treatment, but continues to amaze me with his incredible spirit and great heart, acting as if nothing has happened to him. He is, however, getting some fairly angry looking radiation burns on the inside of his mouth, under his tongue, and under his lower jaw.

The radiation staff members at Cornell are amazed at his resilience considering how painful the inside of his mouth looks. They are doing their best to keep him pain free with nerve blocks, pain meds, antibiotics, prednisone to keep his appetite up, and antihistamines to prevent swelling. They are also sending him home with a Hyperbaric Oxygen spray to help his skin wounds heal faster. Sounds pretty cutting edge to me! He has only lost three pounds throughout the whole course of treatment, which they feel is pretty good.

This Friday, Robin has an appointment with the Animal Pain Management Center in Amherst, NY for a consultation for pain control. In addition, we will be consulting with a Holistic vet to try and attack Robin's cancer treatment from all angles. All these vets will be working in concert with Cornell to assure that Robin's best interests are kept at the forefront.

Once Robin's radiation is complete, we will be returning to Cornell for an all-day follow-up appointment on December 22nd, to insure that his healing is progressing well and assess the effects of the radiation. They will be doing more testing, blood work etc. After that, he will be checked monthly until May when he will have another abdominal ultrasound. Then he will have to go back every two months. If anything new pops up, we will then have no other option but to go with chemotherapy. As the oncologist said, it could pop up again somewhere in two weeks or two years. It's just the nature of this nasty form of cancer. As they predicted, Robin's facial hair has gotten much whiter from the radiation. Personally, I think it gives him a distinguished look!

I have been reluctant to do so, but I've included below some photos of what the outside of Robin's mouth looks like right now. It doesn't look great, but I also don't want folks to think it looks worse than it is. Just be sure not to show these to Robin. Although, he doesn't seem to care how it looks!




December 8, 2010

Here are all the medications that Cornell is sending home with Robin to keep him healthy. They said all 15 items are mandatory! Mary thought the Hyperbaric Oxygen spray and especially the toys, were extremely cutting edge.





December 7, 2010

Here is Robin at Cornell waiting for the bus. This soft lunch box his girlfriend sent him is easy on his mouth, and does the trick. Please don't tell Robin it's empty. Only two more days to go!


Oncologist Dr. Michelle Keyerleber gives a tour of the radiation vault at Cornell University Companion Animal hospital during the course of Robin's treatments.




December 4, 2010
There was a fabulous Rally for Robin, with the following GReat photos courtesy of Dianne Noyd. According to Dianne, Pati Gillfillan-Andrews, and Lisa James did most of the organizing for the event.





December 6, 2010
Robin is now completing his last week of radiation treatments. He has finished 13 and has just 3 to go. Mary says he's in particularly good spirits.

Robin's mouth is getting pretty nasty, but his spirit is so very strong. Cornell can't believe how he is holding up, considering what they saw in his mouth when he was under anesthesia today.

Mary was given this special donation jar this past Saturday. Here is what she had to say about this wonderful heartfelt gift:

This is the kind of thing that just makes me want to break down and cry. This jar was given to me Saturday by an eight-year-old boy who lives in Salamanca, and had heard about Robin having cancer.

Robin personally delivered to him a set of Police K-9 Mighty World Action Figures (kinda like Legos but with an attitude). I bought them last year for my Robin collection, but thought they would now have a much more deserving home with Seth.

I knew he would appreciate it far more than I EVER could. The look on his face, when Robin walked in his house carrying this gift in his basket, was simply priceless.

By the way, the note was tucked inside. ["I was saving to buy some legos but Robin is more important. I collected some of this at school. I hope it helps Robin get better. Seth☺"]

Children, who have not yet learned how to hide their emotions, reveal much about their hearts and feeling for others.

Mary and Robin's latest video below at the hotel tonight playing Frisbee, is just wonderful. Robin is such a tough guy, still hanging in there.




December 1, 2010

On Monday from Mary:

Well Robin made it through today's appointment better than me. It's sad to see this beautiful boy have to go through these radiation sores. I'll just have to suck it up, because they said it will get worse looking before it gets better. So, I decided to take Robin to the Robert Treman State Park near Ithaca today to get my mind off it. (shown on the right)

On Tuesday from Mary:

Another stumbling block today. Robin needs to go on pain meds and they also sent us home with a lidocaine, antibiotic, steroid mouth wash to keep him pain free. Another nerve block scheduled tomorrow. Most sore areas are in his mouth, poor guy. He still wants to carry SOMETHING. Lunchbox now to much for him. Little stuffed toy time...

Today from Mary:

Robin had his radiation today and the doctor said he's headed for some stormy weather, so they upped his meds and pain meds.



Robin's Cancer Starving Diet Plan
This is the diet that has been created by the Cornell oncologist responsible for Robin's nutritional planning. Just check out the mess at Mary's house in her preparation of this wonderful diet.

Daily Diet to consist of:
  • 16 ounces (1 pound) Cooked Salmon (Atlantic, wild)
  • 3 cups of vegetables/fruits – cooked, boiled, steamed (Broccoli, carrots, green beans, sweet potato, tomatoes, apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, mango, pomegranate, watermelon)
  • 0.5 cup of ground Almonds
  • 1.5 cups of cooked, long grain brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon of Salmon oil
  • 5 teaspoons of Safflower oil

Daily supplements: (to be mixed in with one or more meals):
  • 1/2 generic vitamin B12 tablet (typically a 250 mg tablet with 250 micrograms of vitamin B12)
  • 2 tablets of Caltrate 600mg calcium supplement
  • 1 generic Choline tablet (typically 500 mg tablet with 250 mg of choline)
  • 1 generic Zinc Gluconate tablet (typically 250 mg tablet with 30 mg elemental zinc)
  • 1 generic vitamin E capsule (typically 400 IU)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Morton Iodized Salt
This diet formulation contains approximately 2091 kilocalories and should be enough to sustain Robin, however, all dogs are different. Please weigh him in one month's time to see if he has lost or gained weight. If noticeable weight gain or loss is observed, please contact us so that we may adjust the diet appropriately.

Given the diagnosis of epitheliotropic lymphoma, we have developed a higher quality protein and specific fat (oils) diet, while limiting carbohydrates (yet still allowing for the value of complex carbohydrates). This is appropriate for Robin since it will maintain his lean muscle mass and increase the palatability of the diet. The above vegetables and fruits have been chosen for their specific antioxidant and vitamin/mineral properties. The amount of Safflower oil that has been added equates to approximately 180 milliliters weekly, which is the dose that has been researched and shown to limit neoplastic cell proliferation (particularly epitheliotropic lymphoma). Please take a week to two weeks to increase to the full dose of 5 teaspoons daily.

Regarding any other additives (herbal in nature) such as green tea, turmeric, etc., the veterinary medical community does not have enough evidence at this time to advocate their use in a therapeutic manner, particularly since most research suggests they may prevent cancer rather than being useful as a treatment for cancer.

Please use the supplements suggested by adding them directly to his food or feed them close to his meals to maximize absorption of the nutrients. Many of the supplements can be crushed and added directly to one or more of his meals each day. The ration above is designed to be mixed together and partitioned out into two meals or more each day. Some choline tablets can be very bitter so it may be best to tray and get him to take it in pill form rather than crushing it and adding it to the food. ... The ingredients can be made in larger batches and then mixed together and frozen or refrigerated into daily portions that can be fed out over a week's time, if so desired.

Mary's new part-time job: 15 hours cooking Robin's new diet + 2 hours cleaning up


Recently, Mary received a special necklace from Suzi Beber, of Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund. Suzi is an artist who has an entire jewelry line at her site to help in raising monies for canine cancer. For those diagnosed with cancer, the embodiment of Hope remains critical, Suzi's necklace creation a perfect way to keep this belief burning bright.

A hefty 80lb weight, 5¼" x 7¼" quality ivory linen card, is paired with a matching 70-pound linen envelope. The card is blank inside to allow for your own message. However, the left side provides the famous hope-themed quotations shown here. A precious sleeping puppy sticker is enclosed with each card as a free gift! They are great to affix to envelopes as an embellishment or as a type of seal.

Find out about ordering these cards here.




November 19, 2010
We continue to receive additional donations via check, which is mystifying given our actually having plenty raised to take care of Robin's needs.

This photo was taken on Robin's fourth day. His radiation continues to go well. And, while he once again carried his lunch in, Mary indicates that he wasn't so sure he wanted to go with the technician this time.

He sat down still firmly holding his prize, then finally gave in to the idea and went with her. Still no ill effects, and the staff had fun taking photos of Robin sitting in their chairs, carrying his box, etc.

Be sure to click here to enjoy a HD film of Robin's happy "Zoomies" morning. Please note that only Facebook members can view this video.











November 16, 2010
We continue to receive additional donations via check, which is simply incredible. Here is Robin yesterday trying to get all of his toys in his mouth (provided by his friend Linda).

And click here to see a HD film of Robin after being under anesthesia today for CT scans. Please note that only Facebook members can view this video.

Mary had this to say about Robin's first day of radiation:

Hi guys, thank you for being patient. Robin did great today on his first day of radiation. They said for Robin to pack a lunch, so out came his trusty lunchbox. I took him to the University to drop him off, and watched through the window as he happily carried his lunch down the hallway with the radiation technician...

My friend support has been amazing through all this. Another great friend and fellow female police K-9 Officer from the Philadelphia area came up to be with us through today's events. I am humbled by the love that surrounds us...

Robin has no ill effects from today. The technician said that he won't have any significant pain until next week about 5-6 day into the treatment, so Tuesday he is scheduled for his first nerve block. In the meantime, it's toys everywhere, and a lunchbox to be carried to "work" each day!



November 14, 2010
We have continued to receive additional donations via check, that have all just been deposited. We all are so touched by this level of support.

Robin's bestest Girlfriend ever Caitee (who owns Mary's great friend Carolyn Corbett) sent Mary and Robin some new "Jammies" to wear while Robin is at Cornell getting his treatments. They're just the coolest Superhero Snuggies. And, also check out Robin sporting his Snuggie while holding his brand new package of
squirrels. Robin is like "Doug" from the movie "Up" when it comes to squirrels.

Check out all the "I Helped Robin Take a Bite out of Cancer" posters at the Community Bank in Salamanca. That's where Robin does his banking, of course. He starts his course of 16 cancer radiation treatments on Monday...




November 13, 2010
We continue to receive additional donations (via check) that have not been reflected here just yet, as they need to be deposited and cleared. We are so touched by this level of support. Sometimes folks provide special notes for Mary and Robin, this one from Pat, in Buffalo:

I met Robin in the airport at Charlotte, North Carolina in December 2009. They were on their way home from their award in Long Beach, California. I was amazed with the connection and respect between Mary and Robin. I lost my Golden to the same disease, cutaneous lymphoma, last April. She was diagnosed further along because she was going through rehab from a stroke she had in October. My prayers and good wishes are with you!

Here is the latest from Mary regarding Robin's status.

The Plan
By Mary MacQueen

Since it has been awhile, I wanted take the time to update everyone on Robin’s progress. But first, I have something that I feel is much more important to share.

I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped in even the smallest of ways to keep Robin’s body, and my mind healthy throughout this difficult time. I have received so many amazing get well cards and letters from folks just wanting to express in some way, how much they care about this dog. I have had countless stories shared with me about how Robin has touched their hearts and reminded them of their own dogs in some way. Or about all the good they feel Robin has brought to this world and now it was their time to give back to him.

As several people have reminded me, many of us have dogs, and they are ALL special; but somehow to them, Robin has made a difference in some extra-special way. There have been so many cards, photos, powerful prayer chains, and well wishes; many times from folks whom I have never even met. I am humbled by all of this, and it certainly has helped us to keep a positive attitude through this journey. For this, and to all of you, we shall be forever grateful.

We had been anxiously waiting to hear of the results from Robin’s additional biopsies since his surgery on November 5th. I received the call I had been waiting for from Cornell’s Oncology department yesterday.

Dr. Erin Malone informed me that the tissue they removed from the left lower lip (the original cancerous area was on the right lower lip), also showed signs of the disease. The good news is that the right lymph node they removed showed some involvement, but not to the extent originally thought. And even better, the left lymph node is CLEAR so far.

Dr. Malone asked me how Robin’s incision site looked, as they are always concerned about slow healing when the patient has cancer. I told her the site looked beautiful, clean, dry, and without any signs of irritation. Robin hasn’t even had to wear the giant martini glass because he has left the area alone…Good BOY! Due to this fact, they have decided to start Robin’s radiation phase of treatment on Monday November 15th.

Monday will be an all day stay at Cornell for CT scans etc. to help with the decision on exactly where and how to conduct the radiation treatments. Tuesday will be the start of his daily treatments. It will be almost a full day stay due to getting things set up, making calculations, etc. After that we will be going every day through Friday. On the following week, Robin will be receiving radiation Monday through Wednesday, and then will be off for the Thanksgiving weekend. Dr. Malone said it will actually be beneficial to give him some rest time before the next round, which will start again the following week. This will continue until Robin has received all 16 treatments, somewhere around December 9th.

Cornell’s nutritional staff has compiled an awesome anti-cancer diet for Robin that includes one pound of wild salmon each day along with nuts, fruits, vegetables, rice and oils. And let me tell you, it is DELICIOUS…of course,more than a half  I tried it! He is also on about 15 different vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements to keep his mind, body and immune system strong. He will be taken off most of the supplements on actual radiation days so as not to interfere with the efficacy of the treatment.

As for finding a job there, it doesn’t look like it will be an option at this time, and perhaps for good reason. Most employers I spoke with about working there said they don’t do such short term hiring, and they were already fully staffed for the holiday season. In reality, it will give me the time needed to spend with him, and allow me to pick him up from his treatments on a timely basis each day.

Today is Saturday, and Robin and I will be doing one last demo before starting radiation for a Cub Scout troop today. I was originally going to cancel it, but seeing how well Robin is doing made me decide to keep the appointment. He so loves doing them, and once radiation starts he may not be up to it.

Well, I think that is enough for now. I will keep updates coming as they become available. Wish us luck on this next phase of our journey…



November 11, 2010
We got a great update from Mary regarding Robin's status.

Concentrating on only Positive Energy
By Mary MacQueen

We are concentrating on only positive energy now. Only good thoughts and vibes are allowed to come our way. Everything else will get the world's biggest delete button. Sound like a plan? Great, let's start now!

Fairly good news from Cornell today. Robin's test results came back from his surgery last week. The tissue they removed from the left side of his lower lip looked suspicious, but the left lymph node aspirate was totally clear, and the right one they removed showed very little involvement.

Now, the next step. Because his incision is doing so well, they want to start his radiation next week. I have to have him at Cornell Monday Morning for a CT scan, then they want to start radiation on Tuesday thru Friday for the first round. Second round Monday thru Wednesday Thanksgiving week.



November 10, 2010
We continue to receive additional donations (via check) that have not been reflected here just yet, as they need to be deposited and cleared. We are so touched by this level of support. Sometimes folks provide special notes for Mary and Robin, and the one below from Golden Augie (prepared by Aunt Joan) is such a treasure. We only hope that puppy Augie continues healing and is now looking forward to a long and pleasurable life.




November 8, 2010
We received $50 from Gale N., $50 from Dale M, $20 from Janet S., $20 from Marian R., $20 from Charles S, $30 from Joanna R., and $5 from Virginia S. We also received 21 additional donations (via check) that have not been reflected here just yet, as they need to be deposited and cleared. It is truly amazing to have such wonderful support, on this 21st day of our fundraiser.



November 7, 2010
We received a huge $200 from Lee R., $100 from Michael S., and $25 from Joseph P. We really appreciate the continuing support, on this 20th day of our fundraiser.



November 6, 2010
We are continuing to receive donations for Robin, but they have slowed considerably since his great Buffalo news coverage. We received $50 from Floyd O., $25 from Sharon P., $5 from Judith L., $50 from Mary P., $25 from Amherst Philatelics, $50 from Nathan L., and $50 from Patrick B., and $40 from Summerset Retrievers. We are thankful that folks are still showing their support, on this 19th day of our fundraiser. Here are two messages from Mary (one from late last night following surgery and one from early this morning):

A giant thank you to all of our amazing friends. Robin made it through with flying colors and we are tucked in at the hotel. Can you say exhausted? Thank you and goodnight to the best support system anyone could ever have. We love you guys...zzzzzzzz

Going to Petsmart in Ithaca, NY before we leave today to see if I can get hired between Thanksgiving and Christmas so I can stay for Robin's radiation treatments. Anyone have any strings they can pull or contacts here? I can do everything from dog training to floor sweeping. Give me a shout (at nitrogoldens@yahoo.com) if you have any ideas. BTW, Robin is feeling great today and looked for his toy as soon as he woke up.

Want to see Robin in action 3 hours post-surgery? Click on the image below to see a sweet little HD video clip from Mary.



November 5, 2010
We are continuing to receive donations for Robin, who at the time I am writing this, is currently in surgery. We've received $50 from Karen L., $50 from Carleen P., $20 from Patricia B., $25 from Mary Ann S., $20 from Shawn W., $20 from John B., $30 from Donna B., $25 from Kimberly F., $50 from Susan V., $50 from Melissa B., $10 from Kathleen K, $25 from Phyllis B., $50 from Irene W., $100 from Amy B., $100 from David Z., $25 from Sandra M., $20 from Jackie F., $100 from Laurie A., $25 from Susan Z., $50 from Carolyn D., $10 from Richard H., $5 from Sally W., $10 from Robert D., $20 from Lori S., $10 from Hilda B., $50 from Doug W., $20 from Daniel B., $25 from Melinda M., $20 from Rachel J., and $5 from James H. We are truly touched that folks are still showing their support, on this 18th day of our fundraiser.

Mary posted these photos of her adorable boy this morning as they waited together for surgery. And, we are happy to report that Robin made it out of surgery, with the surgeon indicating that all went well. Mary is hoping to pick him up sometime tonight if he wakes up enough to be released.

You've heard of the bedbug crisis, well, Mary's hotel had bees! Here's a photo of the beekeeper.

Robin in the Cornell waiting room this morning waiting to go in for his surgery :(

Robin & best pal Martha waiting for his appointment at Cornell. And Mary says, "Yes, it's been raining for two days!"

We have new photos of Robin, now that he is out of surgery and awake. It looks like Mom still has her sense of humor intact.

"My doctor did a great job of keeping my incision and haircut to a minimum. You can hardly
see it when I'm sitting. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers." Love, Robin

From Robin: "Here's my Doctor and me after surgery. Did anyone get the license
plate that truck that just ran me over? I'm seeing lots of pretty colors..."

Robin: "Laying on hotel bed on Mom's lap getting my ice pack on my neck.
Doc said three times a day until tomorrow night, then we go to heat."



November 4, 2010
e must give a special shout-out to Richard L., of Williamsville, NY, as he donated the unbelievable amount of $1,100! We also received $25 from Katharine H., from Williamsville, NY, $25 from Michael F., of Silver Creek, NY, $50 from Jean B., from Alden, NY, $35 from Cynthia F., of Williamsville, NY, $50 from Taryn G., of East Amherst, NY., $10 from Christopher G., $40 from Sheri C., $25 from Lena D., $10 from Leslie D., $25 from Marty T., $25 from Kiyas D., $50 from Greg B., $35 from Susan R., $20 from Christopher C., $10 from Brooke P., $25 from William J., $15 from Annie S., $20 from Donna W., $25 from Judith G., $20 from Kimberly B., $10 from Roberta D., $10 from William R., $20 from Maureen C., $50 from Charles W., $30 from Melanye D., $25 from Kristen S., $100 from Holly D., $25 from Thomas D., $25 from Matthew S., $25 from Lynn S., $25 from Dawn M., $20 from Christine K., $100 from Jon N., $10 from Kaylee S., $25 from Denise R., $25 from Jean W., $20 from Cheryl F., $100 from Lorraine C., $25 from Marc B., $100 from Gregory M., $30 from Shannon M., $25 from Maria C., $25 from Joanne E., $20 from Anna F., $50 from Robin S., $30 from Sandra K., $20 from Jeffrey M., $50 from William C., $10 from Dick M., $25 from Gary W., $25 from Nikki J., $100 from Jill W., $20 from Sandra L., $10 from Linda P., $25 from Sheila H., $10 from Denise A., $15 from Denise B., $30 from Michelle K., $50 from Sheila H., $25 from Michael F., $5 from Lorine S., $50 from Priscilla S., $25 from Christine G., $25 from Sally L., $25 from Neil G., $25 from Betty K., $20 from Lori H., $10 from Heidi K., $25 from Emilie R., $25 from Jeanne M., $25 from Dennis E., $25 from Kathleen M., $20 from Michael H., $25 from Cynthia G., $20 from Bonnie C., $20 from Linda G., $50 from Valerie M., $25 from Colleen M., $25 from Liza B., $50 from Margaret N., $150 from Mary B., $10 from Howard M., $50 from Brett A., $20 from Alexandria G., $20 from Pamela B., $5 from Karen C., $100 from Myra R., $20 from Jacqueline M., $25 from Margaret S., $10 from Camille W., $50 from James F., $25 from Cheryl G., $20 from Timothy R., $25 from Fred B., $30 from Susan S., $25 from Gerald M., $20 from Shelly B., $20 from Kenneth F., $50 from Matthew W., $100 from Suzanne S., $10 from Edna G., $5 from Carolyn H., $25 from Carol H., $100 from Fonda K., $25 from Donna M., $35 from Lori R., $10 from Jodi D., $50 from Amy B., $25 from Kenneth D., $25 from Jason M., $50 from Cindy R., $25 from Conrad T., $50 from Kimberly W., $25 from Needleguy.com, and $100 from William D.

We initially provided Cornell with $9,000 this morning to be utilized for his treatment. We also heard from Mary during the am hours and will keep folks posted on Robin's progress. This is what we know so far, a message that Mary provided at about 4pm:

We just finished a three hour appointment at Cornell. I met with the surgeons, the Oncology staff, and the Nutrition department. After discussions, they said they want to wait until tomorrow morning at 7:30 to do the surgery. They will be removing some tissue from the left side of Robin's lip to check if cancer has spread there, and they will also be removing his right lymph node. He may have to stay over night again Friday night depending in the recovery, but if not, can go home tomorrow evening. I will be staying in a hotel in Ithaca tonight, and dropping Robin off in the AM. Goody, another night to snuggle. Now, as for what happens after surgery, they want to give him 10 days - 2 weeks to recover. Then, they will start radiation treatments on his bottom jaw and neck area. The oncologist said that once they start the 16 radiation treatments, they cannot stop, so he will probably be starting after Thanksgiving and ending before Christmas, five days a week and two days off. They are going to try and avoid the nose area so that Robin can retain his scenting ability. His mouth will be extremely sore during this time so he will be given pain meds, nerve blocks and soft food. I guess that rules out him carrying his basket :( Needless to say, I am pretty overwhelmed, but we will get through it. Now I am off to answer my hundreds of emails...



November 3, 2010
We received $100 from Heather G., of Youngstown, NY, $40 from Steven H., of Bel Air, MD, $25 from Daniel M., of Randolph, NY, $15 from Denise C., of Massillon, OH, $50 from Gregg S., of Galena, OH, $100 from Linda H., of Buffalo, NY, $10 from Ann M., of Williamsville, NY, $25 from Maureen D., of Buffalo, NY, $40 from Scott R., of Cheektowaga, NY, $20 from Judith F., of Buffalo, NY, $25 from Nancy B., of Lancaster, NY, $50 from Susanna S., of Canton, OH, $50 from Dana T., of Cheektowaga, NY, $20 from Lynda T., of Lancaster, NY, $50 from John B., of Angola, NY, $50 from Robert G., of West Deptford, NJ, $25 from Kristalyn M., of Silver Creek, NY, $100 from Mary Sue H., of Hamburg, NY, $100 from Suzanne T., of Buffalo, NY, $25 from Dan N., of Rome, NY, $20 from Pat B., of West Seneca, NY, $25 from Katherine E., of Depew, NY, $50 from Steve J., of Jamestown, NY, $20 from Ursula K., of Depew, NY, $50 from Samantha S., of Buffalo, NY, $25 from David S., of Newfane, NY, $5 from Katie R., of Cottage Grove, MN, $20 from Ashley C., of Grand Island, NY, $20 from Glenn V., of Orchard Park, NY, $10 from Richard M., of Cheektowaga, NY, $5 from Joseph S., of Niagara Falls, NY, $15 from Heather W., of Buffalo, NY, $15 from Karla S., of Depew, NY, $200 from Sally H., of Scio, NY, $20 from Elizabeth B., of Safety Harbor, FL, $25 from Jessica S., of Depew, NY, $25 from Eleanore C., of Grand Island, NY, $10 from Frank P., of Orchard Park, NY, $25 from James W., of Niagara Falls, NY, $10 from Judy Z., of Buffalo, NY, $10 from Michael H., of Buffalo, NY, $5 from Thomas D., of Kenmore, NY, $50 from Nancy W., of East Aurora, NY, and $50 from Barbara B., of Bradford, PA. We are thrilled that folks are still showing their support, on this 16th day of our fundraiser.

Robin's story, Police dog needs help in cancer fight, appeared tonight on WIVB TV in Buffalo.

SALAMANCA, N.Y. (WIVB) - He left an impressive footprint on the southern tier while serving with the Salamanca Police. Now, a special golden retriever needs your help to extend his golden years.

Former Salamanca Police canine, Robin, may look good at this demonstration with school children in Salamanca. However, Robin is very sick. Robin's handler, Mary McQueen, said, "Robin has a very aggressive form of cancer. He has cutaneous epithlotropic lymphoma."

Popular in the community and decorated for his service, this golden retriever is a celebrity in desperate need of surgery. "What we're trying to do is come up with enough money to have Robin treated at Cornell University. It's estimated the initial treatments are going to run between $9,000 and $10,000," explained McQueen.

McQueen and Robin were part of the Salamanca Police Department until recent budget cuts. For McQueen, what Robin doesn't know, won't hurt him.

McQueen said, "He doesn't know he's sick right now." So Robin carries on like nothing is wrong. McQueen believes he will put up the fight of his life starting with his first surgery Thursday. Robin and McQueen are in this together.

"He's the most important thing that's ever happened to me. I bred Robin, I raised him, I trained him. We spent eight years together every day. He works with me every day," said McQueen. Working with various law enforcement agencies in the southern tier, Robin helped find missing people and sniffed out narcotics.

Robin's story, Salamanca K-9 Needs Your Help To Beat Cancer Diagnosis, also appeared tonight on WGRZ TV in Buffalo.
Salamanca Police K-9 Officer "Robin" is a hero to many in his community when it comes to his sense of smell. But now "Robin" needs a hero of his own to overcome setbacks in both his life and career. He's an expert at sniffing out narcotics and cadavers. On Tuesday he demonstrated that for young students at Salamanca's Prospect Elementary School on Tuesday. But while his sense of smell is quite strong his owner and handler Salamanca K-9 Officer Mary MacQueen says his body is being attacked in ways no one expected. ...

Even Robin's former boss is pleading for help. Salamanca Police Chief Troy Westfall is asking the community to help pitch in. "I would wish that people could you know open up their hearts to someone that has done so much for this community, and actually Robin has done a wonderful job in Western New York."

Even with treatments in his schedule, MacQueen says Robin will still keep up with his public appearances. "Even though I'm not working anymore, I can't disappoint the kids and not show up because they really look forward to that and Robin likes to do it."



November 2, 2010
We received $100 from Pat L., of Queen Creek, AZ, $10 from Terry L., of Orlando, FL, $50 from Nicki B., of Olean, NY, $25 from Hi-Flow Graphics, in Arleta, CA, $25 from Amy L., of Elkhart, IN, $25 from Paul & Georgina L., of Westminster, CO, and $10 from Julie M., of Chicago, IL. It is amazing to have such incredible support, here on our 15th day of Robin's fundraiser.

Robin's surgery is being done on Thursday, but today he provided an incredible demonstration at Prospect Elementary School in Salamanca, NY for 400 children, 4 to 7 years of age. Mary says it was a blast! The local TV news channel, WIVB of Buffalo, NY, asked Mary to set it up so that they could do a story about Robin. The photo below is from today's event. Stay tuned for the upcoming video.

Robin in his now "dormant" patrol car, with the film crew

Robin doing his thing with Mary



November 1, 2010
We received a huge $300 from Robert M., of West Deptford, NJ, $25 from Anney D., of Gainesville, FL, $15 from Alice J., of Ferndale, WA, $25 from Cathy F., of Albany, OR, and $25 from Julia M., of Rochester, NY. We really appreciate folks still providing support, on this 14th day of Robin's fundraiser.

Robin went to Community Bank in Salamanca today to open an account for his donations. Here he is making his first deposit.



October 30, 2010
We received $50 from Penny P., of Elma, NY and $25 from Diana W., of Baldwinsville, NY. Thank goodness we have this continued wonderful support, on our 12th day of Robin's fundraiser.



October 29, 2010
We received $100 from Mark W., of Northbrook, IL, $50 from Geoffrey S., of Victoria, BC Canada, $20 from Sally M., of Aurora, CO, $25 from Lydia K., of Clarence, NY, $100 from Rachel A., of Brooklyn, NY, $100 from Patricia B., of Shamong, NJ, $50 from Jan H., of DeSoto, TX, and $50 from Joyce S., of Niskayuna, NY. We are thrilled that folks are still showing their support, on this 11th day of our fundraiser. Please stay tuned as Robin and Mary will be in the media next week.



October 28, 2010
We received $150 from Fredricka C., of Amherst, NY, $50 from Beth M., of Olean, NY, $20 from Judy H., of Falconer, NY, $250 from Robyn G., of Orange, CA, $100 from Helene B., of Salinas, CA, $25 from Patricia E., of Clarksville, TN, $100 from Aundrea F., of Hoover, AL, $100 from Mary S., of Allegany, NY, $20 from Jessica V., of Concord, NH, $25 from Sharon S., of Woodland Hills, CA, $200 from Kurt P., of East Rochester, NY, and $100 from Silver Iris Studios, in Lexington, MA. We are really thankful for the continued support, on this 10th day of our fundraiser.

Another Punishing Blow
By Mary MacQueen

Knowing the concern that so many have expressed, I feel it only fair to keep you updated on Robin’s current health situation. I am hoping that you will share this information with anyone whom Robin's life may have touched. (Learn a bit about Robin's history by reading “A League of His Own”).

For those of you not yet aware, on Monday October 11, 2010, Robin went to the vet to have two recently discovered masses removed, one on his rib-cage, and the other on his lip – two days before his eighth birthday. Two days after that, Cornell University’s Pathology lab confirmed a diagnosis of Cutaneous Epithelialtropic Lymphoma in the lip mass. This is a fairly rare, but often aggressive form of cancer found in dogs.

The morning of October 25th brought another blow. I was contacted by Cornell University, and learned the lymph node aspirate test results showed Robin’s cancer having metastasized to the right mandibular lymph node. Cornell felt that the best course of treatment now would be to remove the lymph node and start radiation soon afterwards, to hopefully stop this disease in its tracks. Robin has an appointment with Cornell on Thursday November 4th to have his lymph node removed.

I must confess, I’m really struggling with all of this. I’ve been in the field of dogs for many years. During that time, I have heard of others of my colleagues and friends whose dogs have become ill with one thing or another, and my compassion for them was flecked with the feeling that I wouldn’t know what I’d do if it were MY dog. I was so naïve, and now, here I am.

I don’t get it. This is my beloved Robin. Robin, who over-achieved at everything I have ever asked of him; Robin, who helped me through my own serious illness. Robin, who is still so young and has so much yet to accomplish, so many lives yet to touch, and what I assumed to be so many more years yet to serve.

I have heard that grief has several stages, one of which is denial. I find myself repeating that while the statistics are grim, Robin is no ordinary dog. He does not know that this will be the fight of his life, and it will be a prohibitively expensive process. Somehow in my struggle, I find myself taking momentary comfort in believing that somehow, this whole thing will be a big error and that Robin isn’t really sick. But, as soon as I sell out and feel that few seconds of comfort, reality comes back and drives a blade between my ribs and reminds me that Robin is in the cross-hairs.

Right now Robin and I are involved in a battle for his life, even though he is not yet showing signs of his illness. Robin's type of cancer can have a variable prognosis, and Cornell has informed me that the initial treatment for his lymph node removal and radiation will cost somewhere in the vicinity of $8,500 to $10,000. If subsequent treatment is required, the costs will escalate from there. We are desperately trying to raise enough money to save him, and we need your help. Whether it be fundraising ideas, or personal donations, every little bit will help. For those of you who have already generously donated, I THANK YOU!



October 27, 2010
We received $50 from Justin W., of New York, NY, a huge $500 from Martha C. of Pittsfield, MA, $50 from Aime R., of Jamestown, NY, $250 from Robyn G., of Orange, CA., $100 from Helene B., of Salinas, CA, $25 from Patricia E., of Clarksville, TN, and $100 from Aundrea F., of Hoover, AL. Thank goodness we have this continued wonderful support, on this 9th day of Robin's fundraiser.



October 26, 2010
We received $40 from Dale L., of Soldotna, AK. We really are so needing continuing support, so I am thrilled that we got a new donation on this eighth day of our fundraiser.

And, to brighten everyone's mood, I had to share the cool, so fitting, birthday present that Robin recently received for his birthday. Yes, it is that crazy time of year when everyone and their dog or cat or whatever furry companion they consider family, dresses up, and possibly goes trick or treating.

Could there be any better costume, than this one depicting Batgirl and Boy Wonder, Robin? I don't think so.

At Mary's Facebook page on October 11th, she first responded in what I call her "Police Voice" to the mysterious package that she received with these costumes:

Ok all you friends of superheroes out there, which one of you was the smartass responsible for sending Robin and I the package containing THESE items today? It sure brightened our day after Robin's surgery. And like the trooper he is, Robin was more than happy to sport it far all of you...

But, then she had to come back and give us the entire funny story:

I have to apologize for accusing someone of being a smartass. I just found out that these costumes were actually sent to us with love by Robin's bestest Golden Girlfriend Caitee, his niece Liberty, and his other GF Tellulah as a birthday present. Robin turns eight on Wednesday. These great dogs are owned by my friend Carolyn Corbett. They sure put allot of thought and love into getting us dressed to the nines for Halloween! Thanks so much girls! WE LOVE U! ♥♥♥





October 25, 2010
We received $50 from John F., of Hinsdale, NY. I am so thankful that support continues to come in, now our seventh day of this special fundraiser.



October 24, 2010
We received $25 from Betty B., of Moundsville, WV, $20 from Rachel Z., of Rochester, IL, and $5 from Larry N., of Gowanda, NY. It's a great feeling to see support continuing for the sixth day in a row.



October 23, 2010
We received three separate $50 "down under" donations: from Adrian & Kathryn B., of Gawler East South Australia, Cathy D., of Valley View South Australia, and Yolande L., of Mount Gambier. Adrian, Kathryn, and Cathy are all actually eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new Robin son to their household. Additional donations provided: $50 from Janet R., of Westfield, IN, $50 from M.E. McFadden, of Jacksonville, OR., $100 from Carol A., of Salamanca, NY., $50 from Kathleen E., of Frisco, TX, $50 from Lu Ann F., of St. Paul, MN, $25 from Paul E., of Frisco, TX, $50 from Kimberly Ann P., of Stewartville, MN, $20 from Kenda V., of Longmont, CO, $100 from Mary F., of Whittier, CA, and $100 from Carla A., of Allegany, NY.

Be sure to enjoy Mary's special thoughts below as she begins this new chapter with her partner. 

Personal Reflections
By Mary MacQueen

I don't understand how we ended up in this place. Not my partner! Not my hero! Not my friend! I keep rehashing all of this over in my head and just can't seem to grasp it. You see, Robin, my Police K-9 detection dog (aka Ch. Nitro's Boy Wonder) and I are sitting in the waiting room of Cornell University's Small animal Hospital, 200 miles from home, waiting to see an ONCOLOGIST!

How could this be?? It is unfathomable to imagine that a horrible disease like cancer could possibly strike a dog that has spent his entire life giving of himself. But, that is the nature of this dreaded disease. It plays no favorites; it knows no boundaries; and, it has become starkly apparent that no dog is exempt from the possibility of contracting this terrible disease.

It is so hard not to just crumble under the pressure of this news, yet I feel I have to try and keep it together for Robin. He is so sensitive to my every mood, that I cannot afford to have him feel down toothus being less able to fight this formidable foe.

As we are called in to our appointment, we are met by a fourth-year student and Dr. Erin Malone of the Oncology Department. In Robin's usual styleas if greeting old friendshe is happy to entertain them, laying on his back and kicking his feet in the air in sheer delight as they reach down to pet him. Both doctors are very thorough in their questions and physical exams of Robin, and extremely compassionate about taking the time to explain everything to me.

The news is not good: a confirmed diagnosis of cutaneous epitheliotropic lymphoma, an aggressive cancer of the skin known to quickly metastasize to other locations in the body. I can hardly speak, my ears are ringing, and I fight to hold back an inevitable flood of tears that would surely ensue if I let the dam burst.

I am advised that Robin would need to stay all day for additional testing. What they called "staging"... Lymph node aspiration, chest x-rays, abdominal ultrasound, blood work, and urinalysis, all geared towards finding out the actual extent of his disease. I complied, handed over the leash, and watched with tears in my eyes as my boy marched happily out the door with his two new best friends.

That was at 11:30 AM. What was I to do now? They said he would have to stay until 5PM. Hey, I know what I can do! They say Ithaca, NY is filled with beautiful gorges and state parks and it's a beautiful fall day; sure, that sounds like a plan. I drove towards the local park. Once there, I could not bring myself to hike these trails or even get out of the car without my partner. What was I thinking? So, I turned around and went back to town. Okay, how about shopping? I drove to the local Mall. Once there, I couldn't even imagine going in and shopping for something for me. I decided to go back to Cornell and just sit in the waiting room with my computer. At least I was close if they had any other news.

Five p.m. finally arrived, and they brought Robin into the waiting room, no worse for the wear. They had to shave his belly hair, but the person who shaved him obviously used plenty of TLC because you couldn't even notice it from the sides. They said that the immediate tests were all normal, but they wouldn't have results from the more definitive exams until a few days from now.

The choices available from here. On completion of all test results, and if the tumor turns out to be localized, they recommend more possible surgery to make sure the lip margins are clear. Then they recommend 16 doses of localized radiation (5 days a week for 3 weeks) on the lip which will make his mouth pretty "ouchy" as they put it. They said he would require pain meds to deal with the effects. And, yes, I asked, he has to be put under anesthesia and intubated EACH time. Wow.

It was hard not to think about the fact that, the next day, I had to do a demo with Robin for about 100 school children, ages 4-14. I had committed to this long before loosing my job with the police department. I thought about canceling, but as hard as it was going to be, I just couldn't disappoint the kids. In the back of my mind, I just kept thinking about the fact that this could very well be Robin's last demo, and it was eating me up. (He certainly couldn't carry a basket while in so much pain from the future radiation.)

Then I thought about this: I remember when I was 8-years-old, my best hero, Lassie, came to the local amusement park for an appearance. I was so exited I could hardly contain myself. It was also my birthday, and my best friend and I went with her parents. Lassie's trainer, Rudd Weatherwax, asked the audience if there was anyone having a birthday that day. I couldn't BELIEVE IT! I raised my hand. He then had me come up to the front of the room where Lassie gave me a birthday kiss. It was a moment I shall never forget. No, I just couldn't let those children down...


October 22, 2010
We received our first donation for the day, and boy was it a generous one, with $250 from Thomas M., of Orland Park, IL. Robin G., of East Moline, IL, joined him with another incredible $250 donation. We also received an amazing $100 from Kathryn B., of Fairport, NY, $20 from Breanna F., of Salamanca, NY, $30 from Ronald H., of Manito, IL, $25 from Lindsey W., of College Point, NY, $20 from Mark C., of Perrysburg, OH, $50 from Steve B., of Duke Center, PA., $25 from Julee B., of Alta Loma, CA., $50 from Jeannette B., of Mabelvale, AR and $30 from Sandra R., of Friendswood, TX.

There are lots of folks pitching in for this fabulous working team, with multiple Facebook fundraisers as well. The truth is, cancer treatment can be quite costly and not everyone is able to manage the financial burden. We all do what we can, with the resources we have.

We believe that Robin has been an incredible Goodwill Ambassador for the breed and for the importance of dogs in our everyday lives. It takes many years of work to have the skills that he has and he must be worked with daily to maintain them. In fact, he still must be tested in weekly training exercises in order to prove his skills remain intact. As much as one would believe that all the working dogs out there are highly proficient, it is not so. There are some dogs who have higher success rates with their detection skills or search and rescue finds. Robin is one of those dogs and we'd sure like to see him utilize them for a bit longer. And, his demo and therapy dog work is just icing on the cake. That is why we are working so hard to get Robin's story out there.

And, just to be clear, Mary put on her uniform and provided the drug demonstration at an elementary school yesterday because it had been scheduled some time ago, when she was still in the employ of the Sheriff's office. She was not going to let the children down, and went ahead with the program, despite receiving no pay. But, that is who Mary is, always ready to help and lend hers and Robin's services to those in need.  So, please do spread the word about his plight.

Robin's Diagnosis Confirmed
By Rich Place, City Reporter, October 22,2010

(Editor's note: This article is an online exclusive followup to a story which appeared in our Oct. 21 edition of The Salamanca Press.)

FREWSBURG — Less than a week after owner Mary MacQueen learned her dog, Robin, had been diagnosed with a malignant form of skin cancer, the pair visited Cornell University to run additional tests. After several tests — including chest x-rays, ultrasounds, blood work and urinalysis — the diagnosis was confirmed: Robin has Cutaneous Epitheliotropic Lymphoma.

Although MacQueen doesn't expect to hear the complete results from the test for about a week, she does know Robin will at least have to undergo 16 days worth of radiation as well as another surgery procedure to followup one which removed a minor bump on Robin's rib cage earlier in the month.

Depending on what the results determine, Robin may also need to have chemotherapy conducted.

MacQueen said the radiation is expected to cost at least $6,000, and she has been accepting donations online from friends, family members and fellow dog lovers. She said she wants to help not only Robin, but to raise awareness for the disease in general.

"What I am looking at now is a bigger plan than just Robin," she said. "He is such a great 'spokesdog' for the things dogs are capable of. No matter what the future holds, maybe it will raise some additional awareness for the disease."

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual — a bible for animal doctors — the expected survival time for dogs with lymphoma is about nine to 12 months when chemotherapy is used. However, MacQueen is hopeful that because it was caught in the early stages, the odds are much better than experts would believe. "They don't know me and they don't know this dog, so they don't know he doesn't read those rules," she said.

MacQueen and Robin both served on the Salamanca Police Department until the city's recent layoffs. Robin has also received numerous awards as a showdog on the national level, most recently competing in the National Specialty Show in September. To donate to Robin's cause online, visit: grants.landofpuregold.com/robin.htm.

* Additional information on Robin can be found on our current e-edition or by purchasing a copy of the Oct. 21 edition of The Salamanca Press.

Be sure to check out these additional Salamanca Press articles on Robin's and Mary's work:
  ►City turns an eye to rememberance (May 2008)
  ►It’s a dog’s world in Salamanca (October 2008)
  ►Salamanca K-9 Robin may be on national TV (January 2009)
  ►K-9 Robin wins again (January 2010)
  ►Well-loved police dog diagnosed with cancer (October 2010)



October 21, 2010
We talked to Mary last night as she made the 3 hour journey back home with Robin. What a tough 1-day trip, and all made by herself. We sure do hope she can hold up as Robin may need protracted treatment that could require daily visits over a few weeks time. Right now, test results need to be further evaluated before a medical regimen is finalized. Mary is waiting for an article to appear in her town's local papers about Robin, so we will be sharing that soon. Today Mary and Robin will be doing some demonstrations for some school children, as Robin's Police work may be on hold but his Search & Rescue and other demo work with children's groups continues. We really do need to get this story out in the media, so please do spread the word.

Happily, donations continue to arrive for Robin's care, our first Canadian donation of $30 from John R., of Lethbridge, Alberta. That donation is joined by $50 from Carol W., of Bradenton, Fl, $25 from Kimberly H., from Tinley Park, IL, $20 from Julie S., of Tempe, AZ, and $30 from Donna B., of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

From Mary: Robin had complete staging done to find out where we go from here. Diagnosis was definitive showing Cutaneous Epithelial Lymphoma. Looking at more surgery, and sixteen doses of radiation for starters. They quoted $6000-$7000 for his initial radiation treatments. I have to admit I did my share of crying today. After yesterday's confirmation of an aggressive cancer found in Robin at Cornell, I had to suck it up and do a drug demo with him at a Elementary School with over 100 little kids. Probably one of the most difficult tasks I've ever had to perform. I had to be up when I was . . . really down, in order to have Robin be up there with me. He was a big hit, I hope I pulled it off...




October 20, 2010
We heard from Mary today as she was driving with Robin to Cornell University (a 3-hour trip). She sounded empowered by all of the incredible support that has come her way and will let us know later how things went. We continued to get lots of wonderful donations for Robin's care. We received  $30 from Linda L., of Watsonville, CA, $25 from Maryellen G. of Lawrenceville, GA, $50 from Cindi W. of Frisco, TX, $50 from Mignon G. of Pasadena, CA, $100 from Crystal Mallow Photography in West Henrietta, NY, and $20 from Christine H. of Apache Junction, AZ.

From Mary: I just got home from Cornell with Robin after a fourteen hour day and 400 miles of driving. Robin had complete staging done to find out where we go from here. Diagnosis was definitive showing Cutaneous Epithelial Lymphoma. Looking at more surgery, and sixteen doses of radiation for starters. I am exhausted and Robin and I have to do a demo for a elementary school in AM. I'll write more tomorrow.



October 19, 2010
Well, the journey begins and we all hope for the best. We thankfully received our very first donation for Robin's care at Cornell, thanks going to Wendy T., of Napa, CA, with her $35 tax-deductible gift. And, this was followed by the following donations: $100 from Teresa W, of Chino, CA, $20 from June L., of Villas, NJ., $50 from Mary K., of DuBois, PA. and $50 from Dianne B., of Bonner, MT.