Monday, March 14, 2011
German Shepherd, Chal A K9Signer, Discovers Her Own Cancer
Amazing events occurred last week at AnimalSign Center. Chal my 8-year old German Shepherd K9Signer, had been limping. I couldn't tell where her pain was, she didn't seem sensitive on her leg or foot. So I asked her to lay down and signed to her to tell me 'Where's Your Ouch?' I wanted to be able to tell the vet when we were to go in the next week. We had worked on this K9Sign before...when she had an anal gland infection (opportunity for learning). She learned how to tell me where that pain was. So I fully expected her to generalize the skill and tap the region of her leg where pain was hurting her. She didn't! Instead, Chal kept pointing to her right lower nipple area. She would tap it, then look back up at me, and sometimes lick it. It might have irritated her, itching perhaps. I listened to her response and checked it. There was a strangely shaped nipple and a little bump near it. Surely it was cancer just like the left-sided cancer lump I discovered a few years before. At that time I had all the left-sided glands completely removed. (Staff and her doctors Akol and Metelman at Pacific Veterinary Specialists were terrific. Her surgeon Metelman was meticulous. Chal recovered very well with no complications.) I immediately called the vet clinic to make our appt sooner to check this new cyst.
The next day I realized that that Chal had actually used K9Sign to tell me where her pain/cancer was! All the K9Signing together over the years now proved life-saving for her! Working dogs with their intelligence, skill, and sense of smell, help other species--people. Now, Chal had the communication tools to help herself - her own species! Now, it is up to me research and find a way to get her full complete treatment be it surgery, chemotherapy, medications, and whatever she needs for her hind limping (probably a hip/knee problem).
Cancer treatment will need to be fast (to be successful) to reward her for communicating so well. She has so much more to offer dogs and people as the first K9Signer – the canine ambassador promoting respect for canine communication!"
She is an amazing dog: she knows sign language-how to recognize it and sign it herself. I taught her to USE K9Sign since she was one year old. We experimented for years, finally settling on a group of K9Signs, followed by custom K9Signs (ones she creates, I refine, and reinforce).
Many people ask me 'Can dogs tell you where they hurt?' You bet they can, especially with some practice (people practice too). Chal communicated where she hurt, leading to the discovery of her own cancer.
In order to find a way to get this treated quickly I called Carie from the www.PeaceofMinddogRescue.org. They opened a CHAL FUND that accepts tax deductible DONATIONS for Chal's treatment. We are hoping to gain the funds by March 25 so Chal can have surgery as soon as possible---March 28th as goal. Time is important when dealing with cancer, it can spread.
Please help her get the surgery to save her life. She has so much more work to do to help other dogs and people expand their relationship, and learn how to sign themselves.
*To help go to the CHAL FUND at Peace of Mind Dog Rescue. Write in the MEMO field donation for the 'CHAL FUND.' To schedule surgery the fund has to reach at least $5000, followed by more for the chemo, meds, hip/knee treatment, etc.).
*We will be tracking Chal's progress on youtube.com.
*We will post on how we will keep Chal mentally stimulated while she's in rehab....K9Signing and K9Tapping. Watch her and use what works for you while your pets are rehabilitating!
See Chal K9Sign in response to
'Where's Your Ouch?' (along with other K9Signs).