Ruth and Lesley – Greyhound Rescue Trustees
Ruth and Lesley are 2 of our trustees. They have 2 of our dogs, Harry and Jade.
We were did Heckington Show end of July 2016 with Myself, Ruth, Lesley and Christine and of course Snowie, Bonnie and Max.
We had a lot of fun over the couple of days we did it although stressful! Especially putting up a gazebo, where Ruth and Lesley were laid underneath it flat on the floor with the roof on their heads at one point. I don’t think we were understanding the instructions very well!
After the rest of the showground had been in stitches for about half an hour a couple came to our rescue and up it went! We were situated in front of a cancer stall and whilst talking to Christine she said, I think it’s 1 in 4 that gets cancer and there’s 4 of us here! It’s terrible really isn’t it?
We carried on and had a good time Ruth, Lesley and Christine were all amazing as were all the dogs.
The show came to a close and we all got back to our own ways of life!
A week went by and Ruth called and we were chatting about the show and I said to her. Are you ok? You sound a bit rough…as I would! She replied with she had had a bit of an accident on her pushbike. She lives in Salford and she had got the front tyre stuck in the tram line and gone come off and bumped her head.
I said to her she should maybe get it checked out and she said she would if it didn’t get any better and we thought no more of it.
The next day we got a call to say that she was in hospital and not to worry but she had had and ct and mri scan and that she had a brain tumour. But this was not as a result of the accident, it had been growing some time and it was just lucky in one sense that she had the accident to find this!
Ruth had cancer. She had not long since met and married the love of her life Lesley. She had a good job, her beautiful dogs and everything to live for........
Ruths Own Words!
In October 2014 after suddenly losing our old greyhounds, Harry & Jade came into our lives. Two very bouncy, happy loving youngsters & boy did we feel the difference!
Fast forward 2 years to August 2016, & I had a minor accident where I fell off my pushbike. I got low grade concussion & was diagnosed with a high grade brain tumour. Surgery & radiotherapy followed. The dogs kept me going, they & my wife were amazing. As soon as I could walk, I was back out every day with them getting some fresh air. They made me recover quicker & I owe my fitness & health to them.
At the end of February 2017, whilst on a trip to Bristol, the dogs stayed with my parents. Upon our return, Harry had a small lump on his bum, mum & dad had seen this & taken him to the vets whilst we were away as they were worried. We kept an eye on this for around 6 weeks or so, taking him back & forth to our vets, trying various tablets, until in April the vet told us that my gorgeous blue boy had cancer too.
This was heart wrenching. I love my pup so much & the thought that I might lose him was shocking. The vet diagnosed him with a mast cell tumour which reacted to histamine, hence why it had been so reactive to all the medications that he had been given. When initially found, it had been around a 2cm lump, increasing to a 15-20 cm lump before it was removed.
On the 21st of April Harry went in for surgery. We had been told that it would be a lengthy procedure & after 6 hours of not hearing anything, I phoned the vets. I was told that the vet was just finishing with the surgery & that it had been much more complex than expected. I went over to see him that evening & the poor boy didn’t know me. I asked if they would keep him in overnight as I knew that we couldn’t care for him as he needed at that time. He wasn’t able to stand, he was so weak, it was so painful to see.
The following day, we went over to Sheffield to collect a dog on behalf of Greyhound Rescue, then took him to his new home. It was heart warming seeing a new partnership of dog & ‘new mummy’ & made us both realise how much Harry means to us. That afternoon we both went to see Harry at the vets & found him extremely lethargic still & not in a good way. The vet said that he had lost a lot of blood during surgery & they hadn’t known if he would pull through the first night or not. On the 23rd we brought him home with the instruction to keep him quiet & return him for a follow up check in 2 days time.
We took him back & he was starting to heal well. The vet was pleased, cleaned & changed his dressing & asked us to come back in a couple of days for his next check up. We were changing his dressing daily ourselves & the day after the visit, when we checked his wound, a large part of the skin graft had died. We rushed him over to the emergency vets & the dead skin was cut off, the wound was cleaned but it had left a gap of around 20cm by 10cm of open skin. The vet who cleaned the wound wasn’t hopeful that it would heal and left us feeling very deflated.
The following week Harry was back at the vets having emergency surgery, our amazing vet had a pioneering new surgery which would stretch some of the healthy skin over the wound to reduce the size of it, allowing a smaller open wound to have the best possible chance of healing.
He recovered from this surgery much quicker although he still required the wound dressing daily and twice weekly visits to our vets in Leeds (from Manchester where we live). These continued for the following 6 months to allow for regular dressing changes & cleaning, as well as laser treatment to assist with speeding up the healing of the wound.
By the start of June, his wound had healed enough that we were able to start him on chemo. Following the histology results, it was revealed that he had a grade 3 tumour however the lab were unsure whether full clearance had been taken or not, therefore the vet wanted to start him on Palladia. Knowing how I was feeling taking chemotherapy, I worried how Harry would be. I was having chemo every 6 weeks & it was taking it out of me for between 5-10 days each time & my poor pup was going to be on it every other day. The vet explained that dog chemo is very different to human chemo & that he would be unlikely to have any side effects.
I couldn’t believe that both of us had had cancer, & were now on chemo together. Everyone was joking that he was doing it out of sympathy for me, but I do believe that we are so close that somehow, his tumour came out whilst he knew I was in treatment for mine.
We are both now in remission. Harry has had blood tests & is fully clear after 6 months of chemo, I had 8 months in total & we are both well. We both have our scars but they don’t stop us getting on with our lives. He is still my beautiful blue pup, just with a slightly patchwork bottom!!