Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You've come a long way, Zoomer!

Zoomer started out his life as an illegitimate child. His parents raced at the now defunct Geneva Lakes dog track. The story goes that Zoomer's mom got out one day when all the males were out. Not knowing who the father was, the owners of Zoomer's mom couldn't register the litter of pups to race. So they now had 8 greyhound puppies they had to get rid of. The greyhound racing industry already has a reputation of not being able to deal with the retired racing dogs, and this kind of thing doesn't help their public image. I had heard of this litter and contacted the owners to check on possibly getting a puppy. When I went to visit them, there were three puppies not yet taken. The one that kept running over to me and jumping over me as I sat on the couch, would be the one that would come home with me one week later.

I picked Zoomer up when he was 9 weeks old. I remember getting up at 4:00 am every morning to take him out for a walk and play before I had to be to work at 6:00 am. Zoomer has lived in six different homes throughout his nine years, and five of those have been with me (the first being with his mom and littermates). I've always dreamed of having my own house and a place where I and Zoomer would never have to move from again. One month before I got married last year, I bought my first house and that dream came true. Zoomer has had quite a life, meeting many people and making many friends over the years. He has truly lived the life of the comical greyhound that I saw in those playful little eyes the first time I met him. He has lived the life of an athlete that never raced, as he competed in Frisbee competitons as a young adult. And now, as a mature dog of dignified years, he has survived the greatest threat that is all too common to the large breed dogs, osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

Two days ago, Zoomer received his last of four chemotherapy treatments. Three lung x-rays showed up clean and healthy. Over the past few months since the amputation, Zoomer has been fed a 80-90% raw food diet, and has been thriving like never before. He has grown hair on his chest where there never has been hair before. His muscles have toned up. And his hair in general has become thicker and more luxurious than it ever has been. During Zoomer's first couple years of life, I had fed him a raw food diet. But as the years went on, I was challenged by a busier work schedule, so I went back to dried dog food in a bag. I always fed him the very best I could find, but it was still processed food in a bag with only an ocassional meal of real meat. Now, after seeing how much this buddy of mine has come back so strong, even in the midst of chemotherapy drugs attacking his body, I am thoroughly convinced that to feed him anything less than a raw food diet, would be to compromise his health and quality of life.

From illegitimate child to cancer survivor, Zoomer has been quite the fighter. he is, after all, Captain Z!

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