Police Enforcement K-9 / Search &
Rescue Dog Robin ROBIN IS THE FIRST GOLDEN RETRIEVER IN HISTORY to win the
Club Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) in Law Enforcement
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??”
the journey . . . . . year one (Oct 2010 - Oct 2011)
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
said he's 110%! They are thrilled with how he is doing!
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.
GET A COPY OF ROBIN'S CANCER
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
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.
says: "Mom has been stockpiling my anti-cancer diet
ingredients, YUM, YUM, YUMMY! Otis thinks they're yummy
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
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!"
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 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
Facebook page to see a short clip of Robin helping the parade honor
guard with flag duties.
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
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!"
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
we are including it here because Robin made it as well!
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.
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!"
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
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
This is an audience
member's video of part of Robin's March 12 Will Rogers
"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.
with some of 'his' girls from the show.
Lillie, and the entire cast of the Will Rogers Follies
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?"
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
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,
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...
Fun For A Good Cause
Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Special Canine Guest To Be Featured At JHS Musical
By Dave Emke (firstname.lastname@example.org),
March 9, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
''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.''
AN AMAZING DOG
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
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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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.
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.
"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!"
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!"
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
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.
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
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
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 23, 2010 Well, we're back with a great new updates, first from Robin and then
Robin says, "Yep, Mom groomed me and
soaked all the yuckies off my lower jaw. I think it's looking pretty
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!
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
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.
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!"
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
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
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
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.
thus far from radiation, and the gifts given to Robin, good
and bad, by the radiation staff at Cornell.
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. STEIN & HIS PAIN MANAGEMENT SERVICES 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 Therapy ―
An 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.
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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. ♥
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Recently, Mary received a special
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.
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
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.
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).
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
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!
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
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...
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
Here is the latest from Mary regarding Robin's status.
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
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
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
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
11, 2010 We got a great update from Mary regarding Robin's status.
on only Positive Energy
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
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.
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.
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.
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
email@example.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.
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."
We 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
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...
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.
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.
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."
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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 too―thus 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 style―as if greeting old friends―he
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.