"I kind of knew even before I scheduled the appointment," Sidlowe said. "I wanted him to go with some dignity left. It's a really hard judgment call to make."
They decided to put Gunner to sleep. They were by his side the whole time.
"If we had to do it over, we would have moved forward the same way," she said. "It wasn't fair to him to have him suffer. He was such a good dog."
Mary Ann Everett, the founder and director of Surrendered Souls Rescue in Tempe, Arizona, also knows what it's like to deal with cancer in dogs. Everett mainly takes in sick and injured dogs from the pound.
"Every dog I pull has a medical deadline," she said, which means the animal needs medical attention fast. If a rescue does not step up, the animal is scheduled to be put down.
Before she even got Pixie, an American pit bull terrier and French bulldog mix, about five months ago out of Maricopa County Animal Care & Control, Everett reached out for donation pledges to save her and raised $1,500. Within three hours she had enough money to cover Pixie's entire treatment for a transmissible venereal tumor (TVT), which is a form of cancer transmitted sexually from one dog to another. The disease typically occurs in stray, non-neutered dogs. The tumors rarely spread and the prognosis is typically very good. "For the most part, TVT cancer is curable if you catch it early," Everett said.
Pixie was brought to veterinary oncologist Dr. A. Elizabeth (Betsy) Hershey of Integrative Veterinary Oncology in Phoenix, Arizona, the day after her rescue and her TVT treatment started almost immediately, lasting a total of three months with no side effects. Within a week, the tumor shrank.
"Pixie is a little go-getter and the cutest little thing," Everett said of the 40-pound dog. "She is in complete remission. The tumor is gone."