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It was cold and windy late one afternoon in January 1998 and Buttons, our 12 ½ y.o. lab came running to the back door after a potty break. As she ran up to me, her left rear leg seemed to fold and she went down. I helped her back up, came in the house and checked her leg. All seemed normal except for a slight limp, and I told myself she pulled a muscle. The next morning, her leg swelled up and we rushed to the vet. He drained some fluid, took x-rays and scheduled surgery for the next day. It all was happening so fast, I just wanted it to be over. The next morning Buttons underwent surgery and while in recovery, I spoke with the vet. He removed as much cancer as he could and because of her age, did not consider amputation. I was in disbelief because I never considered cancer. He continued with his prognosis and informed me my sweet black baby had 6-8 weeks to live.

We went home and for six weeks loved her like each day was her last.

When her time came I cried like never before. The tears lasted for 48 hours when I decided to get busy with some minor home repairs to divert my thoughts. Shortly I needed to visit the hardware store

I was driving home from the store and passed a pet supply. Quickly, I turned the car around, went inside and to my complete surprise saw a group of dogs for adoption. I had no choice but to fill out adoption papers. Three days went by and I didn’t hear anything, so I called and was told to be patient for a couple more days.

That afternoon I wrote a letter explaining that I needed to fill the hole in my heart, and faxed it over.The next morning I received a call to come down and meet our dog. Those minor home repairs would have to wait a bit longer. Star was a beautiful white and black greyhound, two and a half years old. Life was good again, in fact too good.

Five months later in September we adopted Sandy, another greyhound two and a half, knowing full well she had issues and was returned by a previous adopter. I wanted our home to be Sandy’s last.

Fast forward to January 1998; One morning I noticed a growth on Sandy’s throat and scheduled an appointment with the vet. He immediately identified it as inoperable cancer.
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe him, but I saw another vet for a second opinion. This vet was an oncology specialist and she confirmed the prior diagnosis.

How devastated I felt. The tears returned and every day I apologized to Sandy for not being able to return her health. Sandy was so special to me, overcoming her various issues together and strengthening our bond. She also was my clock, alerting for breakfast, dinner, and snacks.
We returned to the vet in early March to let her go and once I saw that needle I broke down like a child. I couldn’t drive because I could barely see from crying. My wife took the wheel. A couple months later I took Star to the vet for annual blood work.

Two days later my vet called wanting to see me. Later that night I drove to her office and she told me Star had kidney disease and cancer too. This was as unbelievable as it was overwhelming for me to comprehend. This was happening a third time and I was crushed. As before we did our best for Star every day, and in September we said good-bye. I cried for days again and felt such emptiness. I wanted to do something, but what? When the calendar rolled over into 2009, I realized there was something I could do about canine cancer.

CANINE Cancer Research USA is dedicated to my canine companions – for what they each gave me.

Steve Katz, Founder and President

100% of all proceeds benefit canine cancer medical research.

The Wet Nose NewsJanuary 2011- Steve Katz, Founder of CANINE Cancer Research USA is featured in the publication The Wet Nose News! by Joy LePree