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Natarsha : Piper

Published on January 31, 2024.

Story from Natarsha : Piper

About Me – Hi, I’m Piper!

I’m an 8 year old German Shorthaired Pointer, and I love lots of things.  I mainly love eating, anything and everything really, I even eat cucumbers and have a carrot a night!  My best friend is Banjo, he’s a Golden Retriever that lives down the road, I love to play with him, but mostly I love his mum and dad because they give me treats for being the best girl.  I love to spend time with my family and always like to be close (I am a velcro dog after all), I also love playing, especially with squeaky toys.

The Journey To Diagnosis

It was the middle of 2023 when we made a grim discovery of two large and fast growing lumps along Piper’s neck.  We immediately took her in to her local vet to have her checked, where they delivered the news that her symptoms were consistent with lymphoma.  Not only was this a massive shock to us, but the vet delivered the devastating news that within 12 weeks we would be faced with the unthinkable of losing Piper.  Piper is an integral part of our family, and a prospect without her was heart breaking.

Fortunately for us, our local vet immediately made a referral through to SASH Adelaide.  Within 48 hours the cogs were turning and Piper was going to be seen by the internal medicine team, Piper was to be overseen by Dr David Davies and Dr Sarah Nicholls.

The SASH Journey

The moment we walked into SASH Adelaide we knew that embarking on the journey ahead would be a long one, but one in which we were going to be well supported with.  This started at the front desk with the wonderful reception staff who ultimately became somewhat attached to Piper and her funny mannerisms, through the internal medicine team.

Piper has some severe vet anxiety, to the point where even getting her into a clinic is a struggle.  This was our first hurdle, immediately however, Piper was told by her nurses that they would be fast friends.  We worked with the nurses and vets to overcome to this, to the point where Piper now is excited to see her friends, and if she is not given her chicken whilst at SASH, she will not leave unless her nurses walk her out to the car!

During her first appointment we were all filled with nerves, Piper underwent a brief surgery to confirm the diagnosis.  Whilst Piper was in the excellent care of the vets and nurses at SASH, we received updates which not only put our minds at ease but warmed our hearts.

Finished Chemotherapy!

Fast-forward to 6 months later and Piper finished 15 rounds of chemotherapy, went from being terrified of even entering the vets to now looking forward to coming in and receiving cuddles and treats.  Her vet nurses did not lie to her, and they were indeed fast and the very best of friends.  Whilst Piper still has stage 5a lymphoma, the chemotherapy and love shown to Piper throughout her chemotherapy played an important role into ensuring that she was still getting a lot out of life.  Piper was fortunate and the only adverse effect that the chemotherapy had on her was making her extremely cuddly and constantly wanting to be near us (which we did not mind at all)!

Piper also interacted with the fantastic emergency team after eating something on a walk she should not have, Piper’s favourite internal medicine nurse made a special effort to come in early for her shift, so that she could pay a visit to Piper, this is something that cemented how fortunate we were to have an entire team of people behind Piper!

We are still uncertain for how long Piper will be in remission for, as lymphoma in dogs is terminal and chemotherapy as a treatment is designed to give dogs time and quality, but not be a cure.  Piper now gets regular blood tests at SASH and follow-ups at SASH which will ensure that at any sign of new disease or disease progression that we are able to keep Piper comfortable and happy!

What’s Piper Up to Now?

It is now January of 2024 and Piper continues to play like a puppy, eat similarly to a wild animal and snuggle even harder than ever!  We are constantly checking Piper over for signs and symptoms of any disease progression, lymph node enlargement is one of the key signs we are looking for, but we are also keeping a keen eye out for any new fatigue or lack of appetite.

Piper has been given a second chance at life thanks to the fantastic vets, vet nurses and staff at SASH Adelaide.  Due to the fantastic outcome and treatment of Piper she is able to enjoy walks, completing Parkruns and spending time with her best friend, Banjo.  We reflect fondly on the last chemotherapy party that was thrown for Piper, where she walked out to us with balloons attached, and a party hat on and was presented with a bravery certificate and multiple gifts.  It is these small things that warmed our hearts, and we knew that Piper had become part of the SASH family.  Piper is so very fortunate that she now has two families, us, and her SASH family!

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