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Cyrus


Cyrus's Memorial
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Donations were made in Cyrus's memory by Kevin C. and Karen S.. His memorial was created on 4/13/2013.
Cyrus’ Story: #1 Dog/Dog #1

#1 Dog: Cyrus picked us out for his family as we played with his whole litter of 8 week old Bloodhound puppies in July of 1999. He was born on May 22nd and died on April 13, 2012 at the age of nearly 13. My husband and I made Cyrus part of our family even before we were married. Cyrus and I trained with the Deschutes County, OR search and rescue canine team and he was awesome, tops in the practice missions, tracking a mile in the High Desert in 9 minutes or less. He was limited only by how fast I could run on uneven ground in hiking boots. He loved to “go to work”. We moved to Idaho for our careers before ever going on any real search missions but always continued to “work” for fun in the mountains and hills of North Idaho where Cyrus spent most of his life. Cyrus, like many Bloodhounds, wasn’t an easy dog, he was very possessive about his things and was quite particular about who his friends were. So, we adopted a lifestyle that just made everything work for the three of us, our family. We know that we were meant for each other; not many would have allowed a dog in their home with behavioral issues. Somehow people can misbehave in unmentionable ways and bear minimal consequences but dogs generally pay the ultimate price if they are less than perfect. Luckily for Cyrus and for us, we were in it for keeps, no matter what. He was the greatest gift we’ve ever given ourselves. He had a sense of humor and a sense of play that filled our house with tremendous laughter. We loved him with our whole hearts and he loved us back. It was, and still is, a BIG LOVE that is hard to put into words. Every evening I hopped quickly into bed with my husband, much to Cyrus’ protests (jumping up from his bed, barking and carrying on at me- one of his mysterious and hysterical behaviors), and every morning I was awakened by the pitter patter of his footsteps down the hallway to our bedroom, a soft nibble on the nose and he was off for his walk. Every lunch time meant racing home to sneak in on him, see him sleeping, hear his snoring and offer him a slow, soft pat on the head which led to the thump, thump, thump of his tail on the hardwood floor before he’d lift his head and open his eyes. Every Sunday morning was family time, in the bed, where he rolled around like a lottery winner at his first 5 star hotel and we would laugh and laugh. We miss him deeply in every part of every day. Our routines are gone, our amazing companion is gone, and we are lost without him. Moving on seems a disservice to him but we know he’s waiting for us at Rainbow Bridge, playing his many dog friends especially Juno, Maddy, Marley and Buster. He will always be #1 Dog to us, his family.

Dog #1: In December of 2011 Cyrus was diagnosed with lymphoma. Our nearly 12 year old, but acted more like he was 6 or 7 year old, dog had CANCER. It was a dark day for us. The next four months meant a lot of family time for us driving nearly 2 ½ hours one way, every Friday to Washington State University for chemotherapy treatments with our WSU Oncologist, with whom Cyrus was apparently a complete gentleman. For having lymphoma, Cyrus’ diagnosis was the best we could ask for, a 90-95% chance of remission that would last 12-14 months, maybe longer. He would likely live out his full life and pass on of old age at 14 years or so. We had planned to spend the summer swimming in the river, one of his favorite things. And, we’d have 12 to 14 months to prepare for life without Cyrus. Or so we thought, hoped and prayed… that he would not be in that unfortunate 5%-10% for which remission would never come. For those who don’t know, Chemotherapy is not so tough on dogs like it is for humans. The prognosis was good that he would be feeling better in a few days and he’d enjoy his golden years, feeling good on his morning walks with my husband just like he had almost every single day for the previous 12 years. On our first visit to WSU, our awesome oncologist laid out the options for treatment, he started with the gold standard, full chemotherapy protocol and we didn’t need to hear anything else. We were fortunate enough to be able to afford the best possible treatment and that’s what we did. Of course we would have sold our house, cars, souls, whatever it took to make him well. Unfortunately remission wasn’t in the cards for us, but we did get a little more time with him, for which we are forever grateful. Failed chemo protocol after chemo protocol it was apparent that his cancer was resistant to the drugs. He was still feeling pretty good and sustaining and we were due to start his fourth chemo protocol when the lumps in his neck were growing, at what seemed like, by the hour. In March, the prognosis changed from “pre-remission” to “prognosis grave”. We will never forget reading those awful words… “prognosis grave”. It was at this point that our oncologist mentioned a research project funded by a grant through the National Cancer Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and Washington State University. He mentioned it because Cyrus was healthy enough to defer chemo treatment for 3 days but his cancer was, so far, resistant to the most powerful chemo drugs available, the two criteria for participation in the study. The project involved administering cancer drugs directly into a cancerous tumor with a newly developed injection device and allowing it to incubate in vivo (in the living being) before being removed. The super smart researchers would then remove the tumor and study the effects of the drugs on the cells immediately adjacent to the injection site with the goal of determining quickly what chemo drugs and drug combinations might work best for a particular patient rather than prescribing therapies to which patients’ tumors are already resistant while the patient gets sicker. Cyrus was the first dog in the world to participate in this study that had been limited to mice with lab grown tumors, less than ideal candidates for studying cancer treatments for humans. We were advised that due to doggie HIPPA rules (privacy in health care rules), Cyrus will be referred to as Dog #1 when the study is published. As a side note, dogs are amazingly similar to humans when it comes to cancer so canine patients are important to research that benefits both the two legged and the four legged. While we lost Cyrus to a severe infection as a result of his disease a few weeks after his contribution to the study, the project continues to move forward with exciting possibilities for the future of canine and human cancer treatments. As a tribute to their very first patient, Cyrus’ photo hangs on the wall of Presage Biosciences, the developers of the studied research platform, in Seattle’s Biosciences District where amazing, passionate people work long difficult hours to fight the fight against cancer. At WSU and in research papers, he will always be Dog #1 on a new frontier of cutting edge cancer research. In our family, he will forever be #1 Dog, Cyrus.

Neal And Karey S.




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