Darcy was a Deerhound who was born on 6th April 2002. She became a member of our family when she was about 10 weeks old.
All was well in Darcys world until 16th October 2007 when she was five and a half years old. On that morning, she walked across the room, screamed and held up her front right leg. There had been NO warning - no lameness, no nothing - in fact, the day before, she had been playing rough with one of our other dogs and bouncing around on her front legs whilst play-bowing.
Darcy was x-rayed that day and her bone tumour was found. Whilst she was on the table, we were given the choice of euthanasia or amputation. Given the fact that Darcy was an otherwise healthy dog who was not frightened of the vet or vet treatments, we opted for the amputation.
We had to wait 14 days for the results of her bone biopsy and when the results came, they confirmed our worst fears of Osteosarcoma. UK statistics show that in 98% of cases, dogs with Osteo have already had a spread of the disease before you are aware that the disease is present at all.
Based on those figures, we always maintained that someones dog has to be within the 2% who have not been cursed with metastases. And then we just crossed our fingers and hoped that our dog fell into that 2% bracket.
After amputation came a course of Chemotherapy (Carboplatin alternating with Doxorubicin - four doses in total, administered three weeks apart). Darcy coped admirably but she did loose most of her fur after the end of treatment. It grew back over time and she ended up just as hairy (if not more!) as before!
We held various parties at home for Darcy to celebrate 12 months post diagnosis, then 24 months, then 36 months and then 48 last October. We also held two fundraising parties in a local park, for Darcys 7th and 8th birthdays.
For Darcys 9th birthday, we held our first online fundraiser and her friends from all over the globe contributed by either donating goods for auction, bidding in our auction, buying Darcy merchandise, making a straight donation - or a combination of the above. It was a great success and we decided that we would continue to do this on each of Darcys birthdays. All the funds we raised last year went to OSU (more on them below).
On 25th August 2010, Darcy became extremely ill and was referred immediately by our own vet to a specialist centre in Chester (UK). As if seeing off that evil Osteo was not enough of a challenge, Darcy was now to be diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. She was so unstable on that day that we were not allowed to bring her home. I remember the cardiologist phoning me at 9pm that night and asking me how far I wanted her to go with her treatment of Darcy. It may come as no surprise to you that I took a deep breath and told her that she was to offer Darcy whatever suitable treatments there were. Darcys Cardiologist, Emily, has since told me that on that night, she really thought that there was not going to be a good outcome. But over time, she learned that Darcy is not your average patient...
Darcy was finally taken from us, very suddenly, due to her Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) just after 9pm on Sunday 29th January 2012. Her beautiful, generous heart had finally had enough.
But along with the most fabulous memories, photographs and more, Darcy has left a massive legacy. Darcys Legacy is to continue with - as she would have described them on Facebook - her "gud werks".
Darcys sister Grace (another Deerhound, aged 2) will be in charge of Darcys Legacy.
So, now, we will be marking what would have been Darcys 10th Birthday on 6th April 2012 with our fundraising event which will take the form of an online auction and a sale of Darcy related merchandise.
Grace wants to raise as much money as possible, in memory of her lovely sister.
This year, all funds raised will be split equally between two parties.
Half will be sent to Dr Couto and his team at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine - Greyhound Health and Wellness Program. You can visit their website here greyhound.osu.edu/
And this article is also definately worth a read www.thelantern.com/campus/ohio-state-s-greyhound-whisperer-1.1715726
As well as research, Dr Couto and his team also offer a consultation service for owners, vets and anyone else who may need to have x-rays looked at to see if a lesion looks to be osteosarcoma. That consulation service could save time and in turn, a life.
The team at OSU are aware of our fundraising plans and we will be paying their portion of the funds, by cheque, once this event is over and all payments are in.
The second half of the funds will be sent to The UK Deerhound Club. The money we raise (now and in the future) will be ring fenced for a brand new study into Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Deerhounds in the UK. The study will be headed by Emily Dutton (BVM&S Cert VC MRCVS, Cardiologist and Resident for the RCVS Diploma in Cardiology). Emily was Darcys Cardiologist and I cannot thank her enough for agreeing to this massive project. The study is in the process of being planned and once it begins, there will of course be annoucements in all the relevant places. If for any reason, this reseach project does not go ahead, our funds will be donated to the Veterinary Cardiology Society.
If you have not come to us via Facebook, you may want ask Grace to be your friend. This is her profile page www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003504871133Please take a moment (well, 8 moments if the truth be told) to watch our photo montage of Darcys life in pictures. You will need to turn your speakers on and click here www.dogsndubs.com/darcyfullmontage.wmv