Tsavo was born on January 1st, 1994. A boxer/pit mix, we adopted him when he was one year old. He moved with us from New York to California. He was our king, our prince. Tsavo lived a healthy, carefree life until the age of 6, when he was first diagnosed with cancer. At that point in my career, I had been a veterinary technician for 6 years, and already had experience working with general practice, emergency / critical care, internal medicine, oncology, and orthopedic veterinarians. When he was diagnosed, the specialists recommended chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and I was told that Tsavo would be lucky to live for another six months to a year. I was not ready to put him through the recommended treatments and realized that it would be up to me to find an alternative way to treat his condition.
I spent hundreds of hours on the internet and looking through books and journals, educating myself, trying to find answers. I also had the fortune of working with an amazing veterinarian who was a guru at acupuncture at the time. Through our combined efforts, we started treating Tsavo with acupuncture and appropriate supplements to boost his immune system and treat his cancer. Later, this veterinarian expanded his expertise to chiropractics and Chinese herbs, and thus, these too were added to Tsavo’s treatment plan. Proper nutrition and exercise were also key components that improved his health. Never was he on prescription pain medication or steroids.
Our efforts allowed Tsavo to live an amazing, pain free, vibrant life. And despite the cancer, the degenerative joint disease, and even disc disease, Tsavo beat the odds that he was handed. No one, not even the professionals could believe his story. Even at the age of 12, he looked younger and healthier than most 7 year old dogs.
He lived to almost 14 years of age. Two days before we put him to sleep, he was still running and playing at the beach with other dogs. Our decision was a difficult one. He had a sudden, unexpected seizure, followed by 2 more in one week. We knew it was unfair to him, that his light was fading. We wanted him to leave this earth with his dignity intact. His passing has torn our hearts, but his legacy, what he has taught us, will last forever. If Tsavo could beat the odds and live such a happy, full life through our efforts, why not other dogs. Since his first illness, I have made it my personal mission to further educate myself and work towards finding a way to educate others. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, an RVT license, and over 18 years of experience, I also obtained Canine Rehabilitation Certification from the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in Florida. With what little money we have, we decided the best way to honor Tsavo’s legacy was to open our own practice. Our hopes are that through proper education on nutrition, supplements, exercise and other rehabilitation modalities, and referring for chiropractic, acupuncture and other modailites when warranted, that other dogs can be as fortunate to live a life like Tsavo’s.
Tsavo, you will never be forgotten.