Malvern PA

Last week I posted a blog about Malvern AR  as a study in contrasts between two places on my path. 

This past weekend I was filming and interviewing the oncologists and staff and patients at Hope Veterinary Specialists, (from left to right; Tara, Dr. Craig Clifford, Tom, Katelyn & Claus von Shitz, the German Shepherd).  

This Our Story

It was enlightening, educational, inspirational, heartwarming and, in a few cases, heartbreaking.  I gotta say, it’s a totally different experience being behind the lens instead of in front of it like I’m most used to.  But that’s the reason that we have been filming hundreds of hours of footage since the Summer of Murphy tour.  This isn’t just my story, it’s all of ours.

One of the stories I filmed Monday stands out and perfectly captures the experience.  And it’s got a little of everything; firemen, dog rescues, British royalty, three different types of cancers, and the marvel of modern veterinary medicine. 


Meet Cammie

In 2008, she was found by firemen in the freezing cold with an inoperable Epulis, or oral tumor.  One of the volunteers at the rescue made helping and healing her, her mission, and that’s Stacy, her mum.  

Once it was deemed that resection wasn’t a treatment option, Cammie’s tumor underwent radiation under the care of Dr. Siobhan Haney.  And while successful in stopping its growth, within a couple of months Cammie collapsed from a Stage 2 hemangiosarcoma.  

Following a splenectomy and a course of chemo, Cammie responded well although a complication from the Epulis occurred. Radiation had killed the tumor but the necrotic tissue frequently became infected and had to be removed resulting in the loss of part of her lower jaw.  

In the ensuing months a soft tissue sarcoma was discovered on her flank and a she underwent a second course of chemo.  Three cancers and six years later, Cammie is happy, healthy, and a beauty to boot!


Happy Endings

During the course of my interview with Stacy and Drs. Clifford and Siobhan I asked Cammie’s mum what message she had for pet parents who adopt dogs with costly, preexisting medical conditions and those going through cancer treatment for the first time.  

Her response: “You need to believe in happy endings.”  Indeed.  We all do.  


YBD’s Notes 1:  I like being behind the lens.  The Canon camera was generously donated by Thunder for us to record Murphy’s battle with nasal cancer back in 2010 but as it became unbeatable, I had to turn the camera off.  Maybe we weren’t meant to tell our own story unless it’s through that of others.  

YBD’s Notes 2:  Many thanks to Dennis, Craig, Kate, Siobhan and all of the rest of the crew at Hope VS for being both generous and accommodating with their time.  

YBD’s Notes 3: I even got to interview my first feline cancer patient, Shadow.  Me thinks we have to change the name of our organization to 2 Million Dogs and 1 cat.  

YBD’s Notes 4: Oh, and Cammie got her name from Princess Camilla