"And it is NOT cancer.
We have beaten the odds (90% according to Calgary vets; 70% according to Edmonton vets---either way, it was a l-o-n-g shot, not in our favor).
The pathologists found 2 things (neither of which I remember, as I was out on a leash walk at the time with nothing on which to write notes). Rats. I know that’s not helpful to anyone (sorry).
One of the two findings had a quadruple-hyphenated-medico-term name, about which Dr Fowler said, “Hmmm…I’m going to have to do some research on that…it’s very rare…It may need radiation to make sure it doesn’t recur, but I’ll look it up and get back to you. But it’s not cancer.”
There are not words to describe the relief and joy in our home.
Thanks to everyone for their prayers, emails, phone calls, ideas, and all good thoughts. They’ve borne fruit: it’s not cancer.
Stella continues to heal: eating voraciously, walking on-leash with a spring in her step, greeting everyone we meet, minimal nasal dripping, and gluing herself to my side 24/7.
What have I learned from this five-month saga?
1. Prayers are answered.
2. When you’ve got a great vet, trust him/her. In Calgary on Valentine’s Day, I was prepared to put Stella to sleep. Remembering the horrific last months of poor, sweet Chloe, from years ago. I was determined not to let Stella suffer one moment too long. All the info I was given at the time was grim (including that 90%), but Dr John (Williamson, Bow River Vet Centre)---who spoke to me several times that day from his home, on his day off, said (and I paraphrase): Let’s follow this through; let’s not give up yet; there are still things to try; we still don’t know what it is; it’s not time yet; when it’s time, I’ll tell you. I chose to trust Dr John, and not myself; and that saved Stella’s life. I know John (a very humble, down-to-earth person) will be embarrassed that I’m telling you this, but I believe in giving credit where it is due: his advice kept Stella alive, his referral to Dr Fowler in Edmonton put her in the best surgical hands, and because of him, today she is happy, healing, and alive. I will be grateful forever.
It’s a glorious day.
"Q- Who enjoys going to the vets?
A- If it's the Bow River Veterinary Centre, then the answer is ME.....and maybe my dog!!!!
All joking aside, this is a wonderful place. The staff are all amazing and helpful. They not only care about the health and wellbeing of your pets, but also about you. Whether you're crying in the office about leaving your dog for the day or texting the emergency number at night because there is an issue, you never feel like you are being a burden. Even though they are not the closest vets office to me, I go there because the are the best. Thank you a million times over to the Bow River Veterinary Centre for being such a wonderful welcoming place."
"The most compassionate clinic we've ever worked with, in the good times and the bad."
"Since November 2000 our husky family has been cared for by the wonderful, dedicated, caring, and compassionate group of professionals at the Bow River Veterinary Centre (BRVC.) Caring for 180 athletic sled dogs is no small task yet the team at BRVC have never skipped a beat. They always provide us with excellent customer service and have work alongside our team in providing our husky heroes with impeccable veterinary care on all levels.
Previous to November 2000 we had worked with other facilities and can say wholeheartedly that the veterinary services at BRVC are superior in every way and in our professional option, there is simply no comparison. This is exactly why we made the change to use BRVC as our veterinary specialists. We found it a welcomed change to find that not only were our concerns listened to but valued and treated with the respect we hoped for. Given our reputation as the ethical and humane sled dog touring company and advocating a “working pet policy”, we certainly needed to have the best veterinary team on hand to help us maintain our happy and healthy pack! BRVC has gone above and beyond for us on many occasions, you will not find a more dedicated practice!"
"The staff is absolutely great with animals. Our dog,as some may know, is stupid friendly to everything....but other dogs and they are ok with that. They always bend over backwards for Banff and we truly appreciate it. Don't know what we would do without all those fine ladies in the front staff! A great big thanks and hugs to all you hard working folks at Bow River Veterinary Clinic.Thank-You."
"What an absolutely wonderful veterinary clinic. My words can't begin to express how thankful I am for Dr. John Williamson and all the staff at the Bow River Veterinary Centre. Everyone took such great care of my Daisy and made sure to explain everything to me before and after her visit. Also, a big thank you for letting me cry like a baby and not judging LOL. Daisy says thank you as well."
"A huge thank you to everyone at BRVC, especially Dr. John Williamson and all the staff, both at the front desk and behind the scenes, who, as always, took most wonderful care of our Luna this past week or so. It was a difficult week for us and we thoroughly appreciate their clinical knowledge, expertise, thoughtfulness and sympathetic care of our dogs and of us as well!"
"The Best care for our beloved pets, care from the heart , extremely professional, my first cat was 21 years old when he passed and Dave made sure, he was comfortable and was not suffering all the way to the end. Now I have another cat now with ear troubles, but I know that she gets the best care and treatment available. I have complete trust in this clinic."
"Recently, we had our (borderline diabetic) cat in to the BRVC for surgery to have a marble-sized cyst removed from the inside of his mouth. A few days post-surgery, we noticed that our cat had completely stopped eating. We waited a day, but he refused to eat anything. So we called BRVC and they kindly rushed us in to see Dr. John Williamson.
We adopted our cat from the BRVC nine years ago and have been taken care of by the incredibly kind staff since the beginning. In this most recent situation however; we had been dealing with Dr. John Williamson. More than being a knowledgeable professional, Dr. Williamson is also a patient, considerate, understanding human being. He and the staff at BRVC called us regularly, post-surgery, and then again after the refusal to eat situation to see how our "baby" was doing with his diet, medications, etc. Their collective thoughtfulness was greatly appreciated. We cannot say enough good things about BRVC. Highly recommended. Thank you again to the entire BRVC staff for all the care we received! Amazing group of people."
"We must say that the Bow River Veterinary Centre is the most compassionate and caring facility our family has ever been to. The entire staff, from the time you enter the door, is very helpful. They cannot do enough for you and are truly there to make sure your pet gets the best possible care. We have a dog that has had problems from the time we got her as a puppy. She has been to the Clinic on an ongoing basis, trying to find out what was wrong. Eventually, after many tests and consultations, we have a diagnosis and can now move on.
We owe a great deal of thanks to Dr. John Williamson who refused to give up until we found what was wrong. He is only one of the fabulous Vets at Bow River Veterinary Centre and we wouldn’t hesitate to have any one of them look after our pet. All of the Staff has the time and compassion to deal with whatever they need to and are there for your 24hrs a day, 7 days a week if needed.
Thank you everyone at the Bow River Veterinary Centre……you are the best!"