🚨 Trigger Warning 🚨

Dog vs boyfriend, cancer, loss

"It’s 2011. My family has bred golden retrievers for over 30 years and I was thinking about getting a dog. My mom had a litter of golden puppies and one little girl had a heart murmur. They can often be benign and grow out of them, so I agreed to take her to Ohio to socialize her/monitor the murmur (I was working at my first veterinary clinic at the time).

I wanted a Doberman, never a golden so it would be easy enough to not keep her. At the time, I was in a long distance relationship and told my boyfriend the plan. He was pissed! He told me I couldn’t have a dog and that he wanted me to wait until we lived together to get a dog (which was several years away).

I promised him it was temporary, she wouldn’t be mine, and I would not keep her. That’s when he told me he was allergic to her and I had to get rid of her, so I sadly drove her back to my Mom.

When my mom found her a family and called me to confirm that I did not want her, I almost had a mental breakdown as I sped to Buffalo to get her back. I told my ex that I loved her and needed her, and he told me I couldn’t love the both of them.

He was right. Needless to say, Kimber is still with me and he isn’t.

I took Kimber's father when he retired at 8 years old, then suddenly lost him tragically at 10 years old in the middle of veterinary school. Kimber was the only thing that held me together.

She has seen me through all of my relationships, finishing my bachelors, masters and through all of veterinary school. She stood by my side at my wedding, has traveled the country with me, and has been my rock and best friend through it all. She stole the heart of everyone that she met and has done therapy work with me for many years.

I diagnosed her with a mostly benign version of lymphoma about 2 years ago. As far as this breed getting cancer goes, this was dealers choice. The best part about it was that it lead to frequent monitoring that allowed us to find a mass in her spleen. Imaging on March 9th, 2023 lead to surgery on the 13th, and by the 17th, I was broken to find she has an aggressive cancer that will likely take her within a few months.

The same cancer that took her father suddenly without even the chance for goodbye. I’ve consulted with specialists and researchers across the world within a matter of days, mostly to find that everyone hates this disease and there are no cures on the horizon.

She has less than a 10% chance of beating it and we will fight like hell to get that.

My soul dog can’t stay with me forever, but being on the precipice of actually losing her is a terrifying place to be. I’m a veterinarian, tasked with keeping every pet healthy, and here mine is, like sand in my hands. It’s a cruel joke.

She started chemotherapy on March 22nd and now my only job is to enjoy my time with her as if there’s not an axe hanging over our head."

R.G. & Kimber

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A portion of proceeds from this project will be donated to HORIZON HEALTH SERVICES therapy dog program.