Rogan, a chocolate Labrador, now walks on three legs. One of his legs may have been amputated, but to the Lab it does not matter. This devoted dog is living the life after beating cancer.
In August, Rogan was given only two months to live but owner Kirsty Johnson refused to have his 11-year-old furry friend put down.
Johnson was left devastated when the vet told Rogan had been diagnosed with a grade 3 soft tissue sarcoma.
She and Rogan have been together since the pooch was just 8 weeks old. Johnson said she was desperate to keep her beloved Lab alive — even if it left him with phantom limb pain, depression, and hallucinations after his right hind leg was amputated.
Thankfully, she received charitable donations from well-wishers from all over the world. This means she could buy a customized dog wheelchair so Rogan can run like he used to.
“When the vet came out and said that it was cancer I couldn’t believe it. He had never been ill in his life,” Johnson said.
“The vet said it was grade 3 and the worst it could be — it was just horrible. I have known Rogan since birth — he is basically my best friend. Finding out your best friend has cancer is just horrible. I just can’t describe how I have felt — it has been awful,” she added.
Rogan was only given two months to live if he didn’t have any treatment since chemotherapy and radiotherapy wouldn’t work.
Their attempt to remove the life-threatening tumor that was spreading to the bone failed so Johnson had a tough decision to make.
“Putting Rogan down was considered of course. He could have kept his four legs and had pain relief, and we could have put him down,” she said.
But that wasn’t a choice because she did not want to lose her beloved friend.
“The vet said amputation and that was the only way forward. It was just horrendous knowing he would lose his leg. Even the morning he went in for the surgery I still didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. How would he cope with only three legs? He is such a heavy dog?” she said.
The choco Lab loved walks in the parks, playing fetch, and would go for a stroll at least twice a day.
After the operation, Rogan the three-legged Labrador could barely move. He couldn’t walk and he got depressed.
“He was on a lot of painkillers and he just looked a bit depressed. I think he was having hallucinations and he even had phantom limb pain — he still thought he had his leg and it’s not like you can tell them what happened,” she said.
Johnson slept on the floor next to Rogan, her “life-long buddy”,for two weeks until he got used to his new way of life.
“He was just crying and barking all through the night,” she said.
The poor Lab struggled to move without Johnson harnessing him to her. The strain of missing one leg caused injury to his cruciate ligament and knee.
“It was pretty desperate. It was either put him in for surgery again which I didn’t think he could handle it or put him down which I couldn’t bear. Then the vet told me about the wheels! I thought he has come this far I can’t give up on him now,” she said.
With the help of generous well-wishers from around the world, they have raised about $750 to date and she was able to buy Rogan his very own set of wheels.
According to Johnson, the dog wheelchair has saved her dog and her best friend’s life.
“He has only had the wheelchair two days and he has been out walking and he is his old self again. It is amazing what it has done!” she said.
“His tail is all up in the air wagging as he is back running and playing as he used to. He is definitely a different dog to the last few weeks. He was just so depressed before, but this has given him a new lease of life. It is a life saver!”
Johnson sharesthat many other pooches come to check out Rogan’s new wheels. Many of their owners want to know how he is coping with his new gizmo.
Johnson believes dog wheelchairs can change how owners decide for the future treatment of their dogs.
“In terms of disabled dogs these wheel chairs are the way forward. This is a solution in many ways — putting a dog down doesn’t always have to be the answer in the case of a very poorly dog. Rogan will be able to do everything he could before because of his new wheelchair,” she said.
Johnson purchased the chair from Dogswheels.com and paid $375 for the custom built chair but the fund-raising plans don’t end there.
“I have decided that when I reach Rogan’s goal I want to help other dogs and their owners in similar situations to Rogan as I know how costly vets can be especially when you’re not insured,” she said.”I am totally overwhelmed by the support I have received and I thank everyone who has followed Rogan’s journey and for your kind words.”
“Rogan’s wish is to walk in the fields again and be happy,” she adds.
If you wish to help with their cause, visit www.gofundme.com/roganswish.
Image and article source: NY Daily News