Chapter One: Canine Osteosarcoma Diagnosis


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Hi! My name is Nikki. I’m a very loved, incredibly happy, high spirited, intact, black, male, standard Poodle…and I was diagnosed with canine osteosarcoma about six months ago.

“Yes, bone cancer… It’s the first thing I suspect with a dog his age.” Dr. Sam was showing Mom my X-Ray. “There’s already a good deal of bone lysis (breakdown).”

What does he mean…’a dog his age?’ I’m only 8 ½ years old. My left wrist (distal radius, he calls it) is just slightly swollen and it makes me limp a little. Mom is certain I twisted my leg playing with my twin brother Aaron. We are so reckless, you know. And even now, I take corners like a crazy dog.

“What do we do?” Mom whispers in disbelief.

“Well, by the time a tumor gets to this stage, it has probably metastasized.” Mom is stunned. “If Nikki wasn’t a large dog and the limb wasn’t a front, weight-bearing leg, I would suggest amputation.”

“Besides that?”

Dr. Sam shakes his head. His eyes are sad.


“No.” (Mom would never allow me to go through chemotherapy. She just wanted to hear the answer)


“Only if the pain becomes too intense.” (Mom isn’t a fan of radiation either.)

Silence….My Mom is trying to absorb the shock.

“What about your magic?”

“My magic?”

“Yes,” Dr. Sam is serious. He knows my Mom works with all kinds of alternative healing. She had used black bloodroot paste to pull squamous cell cancer from the toes of her 80 lb black, Standard Poodle some years ago.

After our former vet lopped off several toes on three legs, one after the other, she searched until she found the wonderful “black salve.” And whenever she noticed weeping around a nail bed, she applied the paste, and a tiny, translucent white pearl would appear in a matter of hours. It would just be sitting there on top of the toe like a little decoration by the next morning. Within a week, the toe healed with no evidence of ever having had a problem.

Yes, my Mom knows a little bit about magic.

My vet also remembers how she used the Dinshah light therapy when the same Poodle collapsed with tachycardia at age 15 ½. He basked under the purple lens for nine days and nights. Each day, he grew stronger and stronger. He lived two more years without another incident.

Yes, Mom believes in magic. So Mom and I (and my twin brother Aaron) set out on an odyssey to not only save my life, but to save my leg.

For almost five months, my Mom searched and prayed for answers as the angry tumor furiously grew to the size of a small beach ball. You could see it expand as you watched.

And the answers came, one after the other, in emails, by telephone, from Mom’s friends and clients. A feng shui designer who was a magnet for alternative healing information had heard about this… a Native American Medicine Woman suggested that maybe…

Mom weighed and balanced, talked to herbalist friends and her spiritual guides, researched the internet…

Six months have passed and the tumor is about the size of a tennis ball, less than one-fifth the size is was only a month ago. We are hopeful it will continue to shrink, a miracle by all accounts.

And while this is happening, we are praying for the bone to re-grow…we are totally anticipating more magic and miracles.

And in spite of all I’ve been through, I’m much stronger and sturdier now than I was when this all began. I play one heck of a game of catch with Mom and Aaron out in the bedroom patio every morning. Bounding on my three healthy legs, I occasionally pull a ball out from under the patio furniture with my fragile paw. But I don’t need any pain medication and I eat like a line backer. Mom says, “I’m a ball playin’, tail waggin’ fool.” She feeds me three times a day. She says I need the fuel for fightin’.”


Nikki and Aaron Playing Ball in the Patio in March

Nikki (left) and Aaron waiting for Mom to toss the ball.


To continue reading Nikki’s Story, look to the right. Under “Categories,” scroll down to “Nikki’s Story.” The chapters will be sequentially numbered in the posts.