A Lifesaving Amputation Gives a Dog a Fighting Chance Thanks to Good
Wrigley was an active, loyal, outgoing dog. One fall day after running on
the beach at Point No Point near Hansville, Wash., Greg B. noticed Wrigley was
limping. Worried that he had sprained his leg or had a torn ligament, Greg
contacted his friend, Dr. Jerry Demuth, at Summit Veterinary Referral Center who
suggested he bring him in for an x-ray.
"All the signs pointed to osteosarcoma," said Greg. Two days later his
veterinarian did a bone biopsy and the next day it was confirmed that Wrigley
had bone cancer.
A Cruel Twist of Fate
The cancer was growing in the upper
right elbow of his front leg. Because
it was causing Wrigley a lot of pain,
Greg was deciding how to best help him.
But in one of those improbable life
moments, just as Greg was receiving the
cancer news from the lab, his office was
calling him to tell him he was being
laid off from his job in medical sales.
"At that moment, Wrigley became my
number one priority," said Greg. "And
what was the best thing I could do for
Realizing the cost of leg amputation and chemotherapy, Greg was unsure how he
would be able to pay for the treatments. He knew that he needed to consider leg
amputation right away to help with the pain. As he was reading about
osteosarcoma on the web, he learned about a couple who had also gone to great
lengths to save their dog. They had taken their dog to a veterinary teaching
"When I read that a light bulb went off," said Greg. He called the WSU
Veterinary Teaching Hospital to ask about treatments. And because he now found
himself unemployed, he inquired about financial assistance.
"That's when I found out about the Good Samaritan Fund," he said. "Learning I
qualified for the donation meant I would not have to choose between doing
nothing and amputating with treatment. I was able to know Wrigley would not be
in pain later and it allowed me to keep pursuing treatments."**
The Monday before Thanksgiving Wrigley and Greg came to the WSU Veterinary
Teaching Hospital for the surgery. On Wednesday, Wrigley was ready to make the
5-hour drive home. Knowing that they had to make a long trip, the WSU nurses
helped get Wrigley into the car and gave him a relaxing shot to make the trip
"Post surgically, everyone was very accommodating," he said. "They stayed
just to make sure he could get home."
That care meant a lot to Greg and to Wrigley.
Wrigley and Greg
The Road to Recovery
For the first six days after Wrigley's surgery, Greg was unsure what to
expect. He had never had a three-legged dog before. And to see Wrigley in so
much pain made him initially second guess his decision.
"I would look at him and think, I did this so he didn't have to have so much
pain," he said.
Julia Parker ('14 DVM), a fourth year veterinary student, called him every
day for the first several days to see how they were doing. Dr. Julie Noyes, a
first year surgical resident at WSU, emailed him every day for the first week.
"Owners are sometime unsure if their animal may be groggy from the surgery or
if they are actually ill," said Dr. Noyes. "Clients can feel alone in the
process when they leave the hospital and we are out of the picture. By
communicating they feel part of the team."
Two weeks after his surgery, Wrigley and Greg returned to WSU to have his
stitches out and get a post-op review. It was recommended by oncology resident,
Dr. Rebekah Lewis, that Wrigley receive five rounds of chemotherapy treatment.
While Greg and Wrigley could have received the treatments in Seattle, Greg
believes that even with the drive the treatment costs are less at WSU. And he
says he is confident that at WSU they have also been getting the best care
"The service and treatment at WSU has been phenomenal," said Greg. "He's been
doing awesome. He is the fastest three-legged dog around."
**Greg received $1000 from the Good Samaritan Fund to help cover a portion of
the costs of the amputation procedure.