Karly was a beautiful female Golden Retriever that lived her life in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on Lake Superior. Her owner picked her out from her litter when she was five weeks old. It was the middle of winter in snow country. Because of her early socialization and her personality, Karly was a vibrant member of her small commmunity. Everyone loved Karly. From her first days in her new home, she loved snow and water. Early on, she learned to accompany her owner on snowshoe trails. Later in the warmer seasons, she was a constant companion hiking with her owner. For many years, she led the hikes, but in the later years she often brought up the rear. Besides these activities, Karly loved the water. She took herself for swims almost daily. Her last swim occured just a day before she died so we know she was happy.
Karly received the best of care from her owner and her veterinarian(s). Nonetheless, at the age of nine, she was hit with a vestibular attack during the night. It was a terrible seven hours before she could be taken to the vet clinic. The attack was very severe and within the first couple of days resulted in a stroke. After spending about a week in the hospital with her owner at her side nearly 24/7, she recovered with only a few residuals from the experience. Forever more after that she had a head tilt, which made her adorably cute. She dragged one leg keeping the toenails well trimmed and she always walked in a circle before she could move forward. Having been well trained before this incidence, Karly subtly informed her owner that she would no longer be following all those rules, explaining that the stroke had wiped out that part of her memory and, therefore, she should be allowed to do everything her way. Most of that worked.
Within a year of this experience, Karly developed a tumor on her side that was eventually diagnosed as a Chrondrosarcoma. Surgery in Alabama followed and the huge tumor was removed from inside her chest wall attached to her diaphragm. Life expectancy without the surgery was three months. A year later, the friends in her town held a "First Day of the Rest of Karly's Life" party. Even a second year of the "FDRKL" party was celebrated. However, shortly after this period, another tumor showed up on Karly's rear end. It was diagnosed as Myxosarcoma, a fast growing tumor.
Karly then went to SAVIM for more surgery and for Dr. Avgeris to determine a protocol of chemotherapy for her. Upon returning home, Karly tolerated the treatment and the medicine well. However, cancer is a vicious combatant. With the tumor growing rapidly, no further surgery was possible. Cancer won. Surrounded by friends and her adoring owner holding her, Karly quietly died.
The above letter was wrriten by Karly's owner, who has established Karly's Fund in loving memory of her Golden Retriever. Your contribution to Karly's fund will help assist other owners to afford procedures and treatments that may sustain and extend the lives of their cherished pets. Every day gained is a gift.