For those of you that follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’re probably no stranger to Max’s journey. For the unfamiliar faces, welcome and thank you for supporting Max! Some of you may be wondering how my endeavor with Florida Urgent Rescue (FUR) began, and more importantly what Max’s story is.
To explain how I got involved with FUR, we have to go back to October of 2018. I was scrolling through Facebook, and saw a stray Chihuahua running loose in a less than desirable part of town. He had already been caught, but the finder released him back onto the streets. Another family caught him shortly thereafter, but were going to release him as well. I knew I had to intercept before he found himself back on his own. I drove over and picked up a very scared, very sick, little boy. The next day I got him vetted and discovered he was heartworm positive. For those of you not familiar with heartworms, they can be deadly, and are very expensive to treat. I contacted numerous rescues throughout Florida, and no one had room for him. Until I reached Mike and Susan with FUR. They agreed to let me foster him, and they would cover his vet bills while we found him the perfect home. It quickly became clear that this little nugget, now called Tito, had already found his furever home with my family. This is where my dedication to FUR began. They were willing to take Tito in when no one else was, and I will forever be grateful for their help. I immediately knew that I wanted to be more involved with this wonderful organization, so I began helping with their Instagram page, then updating their pet profiles, and then volunteering. Now I am a proud foster for two FUR dogs, and my heart is more full than ever before.
Now onto Max. In January, a very sick, sad, HANDSOME, pitty was found wandering the streets in Union county. He had multiple tumors, but the most noticeable was his testicular tumor, the size of a grapefruit, almost dragging on the ground. You could just see the pain and sadness in his eyes. FUR didn’t hesitate, they swiftly picked him up and brought him into the vet. Bloodwork revealed that he was heartworm positive, but his bad luck didn’t stop there. They then completed xrays and immediately operated to remove the large testicular tumor, a tumor on his side, and performed a splenectomy for a large tumor on his spleen. During his examination, they also discovered a partially torn CCL. Mike and Susan brought him home for recovery, but he began to bleed excessively from his neuter site. They rushed him into the vet and he had to undergo a blood transfusion. He then found his way to me. Shortly after arrival, he ripped out his stitches on his side and ended up back at the vet, yet again. Once he was all patched up, his true recovery began. Unfortunately, a few days later, we received the pathology report. He was diagnosed with grade 2 mast cell tumors; cancer. We knew that Max deserved a chance to experience a loving home for the first time in his life. So, we scheduled a visit with the oncologist. Sadly, the news was not good. They aspirated 6 lumps and all were found to be additional mast cell tumors. But that wasn’t the end of the bad news, he was also diagnosed with cutaneous hemangiosarcoma. FUR refused to give up on this sweet boy, and we moved forward with treatment and additional surgery. Most of his cancer has been removed, but given the nature of mast cell tumors, we know it is only a matter of time before they return. We continue to keep him on medications to slow down the progression and boost his immune system.
Now onto his CCL. We have performed months of acupuncture, prolotherapy, and chiropractics to get him into a more comfortable place. He has made tremendous progress, and now attends weekly physical therapy appointments to strengthen his back legs and abdomen. He does a variety of exercies including walking on an underwater treadmill. We know he will never be an Olympian, but we want to give him the best chance possible at regaining strength and mobility.
As for his other conditions, Max is still undergoing the slow kill process for heartworm treatment, and his cutaneous hemangiosarcoma is treated frequently with cryotherapy. His care has not been easy or cheap, but I think anyone who meets him can agree that he is worth every penny and every second spent on him.
With all of that said, this year I am participating in Strut Your Mutt to raise money for Max and Florida Urgent Rescue so that they may continue to save lives. This type of veterinary care cannot be provided without donations and support from friends, family, and animal lovers like you! Every penny counts and absolutely makes a difference in the lives of the animals we save. Please consider joining my team (you don't actually have to be present to walk at the event), or making a donation so that Max can continue to receive the best care possible.
Thank you so much for your support, and feel free to reach out to me with any questions that you may have about Max, his care, or our organization, Florida Urgent Rescue.