Charlie's Story

Charlie's Story

Posted by Sarah Stewart on Jul 30th 2018

Everyone, meet Charlie!

Charlie is a 12 year old Toy Poodle. He loves taking naps, belly rubs and lots of treats!

Charlie and I have grown up together, we’ve been by each others side through thick and thin and we’ve even traveled the world together.

Charlie was given to me by my parents when I was 10 years old. My father, who was working at Toyota at the time, had been given a job opportunity in England. So our family was moving… to another country!

My parents had read online that getting a pet is a good way to transition a big move and that’s how Charlie came into our lives. What my parents didn't realize is how hard it was going to be to take a dog from America to England. But that whole ordeal is another story for another day!

Charlie has always been a healthy happy dog!

He wasn't on a grain-free diet, he never got his teeth cleaned or brushed, he just simply ate Pedigree kibble and would have a dental stick as a treat every once in a while. (Remember that was THEN. He now eats a grain-free diet and drinks raw goats milk :) )

When Charlie turned 10 years old, nobody believed me that he was actually 10! He was always bouncing around wherever we went. He never showed his age, he always acted like the puppy that I grew up with, until last year.. when he got sick.


Last September, as I was rubbing Charlie’s belly I felt a little bump… I decided that it must be his rib bone! Maybe he lost some weight. So I ignored it.

Fast forward a couple of days, I noticed that the bump was no long a little bump… it was a big bump. I immediately picked up my phone and called our Veterinarian. When we first went in our doctor, Dr. Kimmer, tried to ease my worry by telling me that it could be a number of things. She was placing her money on an ulcer, which can go away naturally on their own, but I had a bad feeling and I opted to “wait and see” and decided to have them cut it off and biopsy the sample. There was no way I could just “wait and see”, Charlie is my baby!

He had the surgery the following Thursday.

Picture below of when I picked him up afterwards.

Charlie did great and recovered in no time! They told me the biopsy would take a couple of weeks to get back but they were sure it was just an ulcer.

A few weeks later Dr. Kimmer called. They were wrong it wasn't an ulcer, it was actually a tumor. As soon as I heard the word “cancer” my vision went fuzzy as tears started to flow out. It was everything we were hoping that it wasn’t. The worst news ever.

As it turns out the cancer Charlie had would not shorten his life span and it would most likely not spread to major organ and wouldn't cause major issues. We were told that the tumor may grow back and to keep an eye out for it but they were hopeful that they cut out enough of the cancer cells to prevent it from growing anymore.

Charlie was once again healthier than ever and life went back to normal. Charlie turned 12 that October! He continued to sneak food off my plate, run like a wild child and he even met Santa Paws!

Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago, his tumor grew back. When I felt that familiar bump, in the same place as last time, I tried not to panic. We knew this was a possibility. We took Charlie to the vet and Dr. Kimmer was as sad as I was about the tumor growing back. She told me that it was probably the same cancer as last time. She consulted Dr. Jude and they came up with a plan. They were going to take it out but they were going to cut deeper to try to get all the cancer cells. This meant a bigger incision, longer recovery time and a longer hospital stay. But there was no way I wasn't going to try to get it all. If this worked then hopefully Charlie wouldn't need another surgery later on.

Charlie had the surgery the next day (no time like the present!) Dr. Jude and Dr. Kimmer called to let me know that they were very optimistic that they got it all and that Charlie was doing great!

The next day I went and picked up Charlie and when they opened the door he bounced and ran right into my arms! I was so happy that he was feeling good and that he wasn’t wincing in pain or walking slow.

The first week after surgery was hard, once we got home with Charlie he calmed down and he was starting to walk a bit stiffer. He ended up having a hard time walking up and down the stairs, climbing onto the couch and he even had a hard time finding a comfortable place to lay. We ended up having to put an old baby shirt on him since he wouldn't stop licking at his incision.

It was amazing to see how fast he bounced back from surgery and it was even more amazing to see how much better he was feeling in general. We hadn't even realized how much the tumor was effecting his temperament until it was taken out. He was once again our happy, bouncy boy and we started to have hope that they had gotten it all.

Last week we went back to the vet for Charlie’s two week check-up. Once we were situated in the exam room with Dr. Kimmer she broke the news. Charlie’s biopsy came back and they did not get all of the cancer cells. As it turns out, the cells have spread too deep to cut. Dr. Jude then came in and told us about how chemotherapy may be a good treatment option for Charlie. She explained that chemotherapy is less aggressive for dogs and it will actually help with any symptoms and may help delay the tumor from growing back so soon.

We started Charlie on chemotherapy that afternoon. It only lasted about 15 minutes and then her was free to go home. He is going to be receiving chemo every month.

In the meantime Charlie is living his life to the fullest. He is being as lazy as he wants, he gets to eat my extra french fries, he goes on weekly car rides and gets to stick his head out of the window.

Some of you may have already had the pleasure of meeting Charlie, since he likes to hang out in the store from time to time.

I would like to thank all of the staff over at Sheabel Veterinary Hospital for taking such good care of Charlie! A big thank you to Dr. Kimmer, Dr. Jude and Lura Zornes! Lura is Charlie’s groomer and when she heard the news about his surgery she came by to give us hugs and actually sent us pictures of Charlie after his surgery.

I also want to thank everyone who has said a prayer or sent good thoughts to our sweet Charlie. I will keep everyone updated on his progress!

Until then,

Woof Y’all!

Sarah & Charlie