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On February 3, 2012, our beautiful Norwegian Elkhound, Anka,
succumbed to complications from bladder cancer (TCC), just a few
weeks shy of her 15th birthday. Anka bravely fought her cancer for
over two years. She never lost her smile through the operations,
tests and treatments. And she never lost her unique ability to make
every adult and child she met feel special.
Ankee loved people, especially children. She believed that her
mission in life was to bring a little bit of happiness into the
lives of everyone she happened to meet during the day. She
accomplished this mission by staring and smiling at all and any
passersby until they finally returned her smile. And if they also
had the good sense to come over and pet her then Anka would doubly
reward them with a vigorous tail wag.
Over the years we never ceased to be amazed by Anka's powers to
cheer up the biggest grumps. She could pick them out in a crowd
hundreds of feet away and somehow turn them towards her to make eye
contact. Then we watched in amazement as they were slowly lifted
out of their worrisome thoughts and tuned into Anka's stare. Their
look of surprise would give way to a smile, sometimes only for a
brief moment as they continued to walk by, but more often than not
they would break into laughter. Ankee knew then that she had helped
to brighten that person's day and that they would remember their
encounter. Anka was especially effective in this tactic when we
were stopped at traffic lights. So many times we would glance out
the corner of our eyes to see the biggest sourpuss melt under "The
Ank's" magic smile.
The world was a
happier place when Anka walked in it. She literally cheered folks
from "1 to a 100." One time as we were walking in the park an
elderly man was helped over to Ankee by his children. He bent over
and gave her a pat and then went on his way with the happiest
smile. His son told us it was his father's 100th birthday. As we
continued along, a year-old baby was wheeled over to us in her
carriage. She also gave Ankee a pat and a big smile. Anka returned
both greetings with the most vigorous of tail wags. These types of
encounters made her so happy.
One of Anka's favorite places to visit was the local hospital.
She loved to walk around the outside of the building where she
could enthusiastically greet wheel-chair bound and IV-bound
patients out for a few minutes of supervised fresh air. Oh how she
brightened their days and those of their caregivers!
We never realized until after Anka's passing how special she had
made us feel in public. Every day we see so many sad people going
about their lives and feel sad ourselves that Ankee is not with us
to bring a momentary ray of sunshine into their lives. One never
knows how a brief smile from Anka may have changed a person's day
or perhaps their entire life.
Anka remained strong
and vibrant for two years after her initial diagnosis with TCC. She
never lost her love for life or for food. Many were the nights when
she would sit atop "her" 100 acre farm and howl for hours with the
distant coyotes across the valleys. On her last night with us a
couple of dozen coyotes ringed the front of our house just beyond
the fence and sang the most beautiful song to her. We watched as
she lifted her little ears towards them. The coyotes never returned
after that night.
Anka's initial tumor was removed surgically. Rather than start
chemo we opted for an immune modulation cordycep-based product
called "K9 Immunity". Along with Transfer Factor, fish oil and a
careful diet there was no indication that the TCC ever metastasized
over the subsequent two years. But a year after the first surgery
the tumor reappeared in the same location and was again removed
surgically. Anka was then placed on piroxicam which was stopped
after six months due to weakening of her renal function. A few
months later the tumor again reappeared in the same location but
could not be surgically removed due to her kidney issues. When her
urethra became blocked we drove Anka to New Jersey where Dr. Dean
Cerf successfully cleared the urethra using UGELAB. We were most
hopeful for our beloved Anka but the anesthesia proved too much for
her compromised kidneys. We did get her home and now she sleeps
peacefully on the farm she loved so much.
We have established Anka's Fund in her memory so that she may
continue to help others afflicted with TCC. Through the support of
research efforts into its prevention, early detection and treatment
we hope that Anka will continue to touch the hearts of all who come
to know her through this Fund.
Ankee taught us the REAL meaning of life. She found wonder and
joy in the little things right in her own backyard. She taught us
to slow down, live in each moment and appreciate everything around
us. No need to travel to far off exotic places - just take a walk
with "The Ank!"
Anka was and continues to be our life-support system. She was a
true "Dog of Valor." Thank you Ankee for being our best friend and
for taking such good care of us. We miss you so much.
Thank you for thinking of Anka and considering a contribution in
her memory to her Fund.
Anka's Mom & Dad
Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843
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