During the summer of 2009, the guardians of an 8-year-old Vizsla dog named Jasper learned that their dog had cancer. So they did what any young, 21st century, loving pet guardian might do. They created a blog to deal with their own pain and to share Jasper’s story with other concerned guardians.
“The Adventures of Jumping Jasper-Roo the Viszla Dog” came to life in May, at the hands of Todd Reubold. The idea to share Jasper’s story came to him one night when he and Jasper were out for a walk.
“As I write about Jasper, I feel a mixture of emotions,” Reubold says. “Sometimes I’m smiling from ear to ear as I type away, while other times I’m holding back tears.”
The blog tells stories about specific days and experiences with Jasper or memories that the Reubolds want to share. Reubold writes about how he is feeling that day and the hardships that go along with taking Jasper to the veterinarian. He says the feedback from readers has helped him get through some tough times.
The discovery of the cancer began when the Reubolds noticed a hard lump on the outside of Jasper’s ribcage. The couple took him to the veterinarian, and the vet made the diagnosis from a biopsy that showed a soft tissue sarcoma in stage three. This type of cancer involves a group of tumors that form in the tissue of smooth muscle, blood vessels, or fat.
After hearing the diagnosis, the Reubolds took Jasper to the canine cancer specialists at the University of Minnesota for surgery to remove the tumor and parts of three ribs. “At first I was scared, but I also held out hope that we could beat the cancer,” Reubold says. “Although he’s still sick, the fact that treatment has helped him live nearly 11 months with the cancer is a blessing.”
For treatment, Jasper underwent six rounds of chemotherapy for two months, which had no effect on the tumor. The next step was radiation, which decreased the growth of the tumor. Jasper is now taking a medication called Palladia to slow and eventually stop the tumor’s growth.
“The thing that probably surprised me the most was how strong he’s been through all of this,” Reubold said. “He came through the first couple major surgeries with flying colors. He didn’t get that sick during chemo, and he handled the radiation treatments really well.”
According to Reubold, the cancer and the treatments haven’t changed Jasper’s personality. He still appears to be the same mellow and sensitive dog that he always has been.
Reubold says Jasper was a very shy but active and sweet puppy. He was the kind of dog that got into a lot of trouble when left home alone. “One time we left him alone in the back hallway while we went out to run a few errands. When we returned he had torn up part of the linoleum floor. We didn’t really like that linoleum anyway, so that was the start of home remodeling projects. We learned to crate him when we were away after that.”
Even though Jasper sleeps often and is not as active as he used to be, he still gets excited for an occasional swim in the Mississippi River or going for an evening walk with the Reubolds.
“Jasper is my best friend and I cherish all the memories we’ve created,” Reubold says.
To read the Todd and Jasper’s blog visit: JumpingJasper.wordpress.com/ —Nicole Soszynski