Posted 4 months ago
Hearing those words ‘I’m sorry, it’s cancer’ is something you just can’t imagine, unless it’s something you’ve experienced yourself.
For one owner, she’s had to go through that devastating experience twice - once for herself and then later with her dog.
While for us humans it’s a question of whether or not it’s treatable, for our dogs, you also have to consider whether or not you can afford it. The costs can soon mount up and smash through any limit set by an insurance provider.
But for devoted pawrent Emilee Morrallis, from Liverpool, there was no question that she’d do all she could to help Finley fight his brain tumour, not only is he her absolute world, she also credits him for helping her beat primary bone cancer after being diagnosed at just 24.
She’s now in remission herself, yet the fight against cancer continues as she tries to raise vital funds for Finley’s treatment.
Describing him as her ‘little comfort blanket on four legs’, Emilee is extremely grateful to Finley for getting her through a worrying time.
She said: “I was only 24 and you feel, it sounds dramatic, but you feel the world crumble a bit.”
But her dog was a great source of comfort, especially through what could have been an extremely isolating time. She was in a hip-to-toe cast and lost the ability to walk.
“I was stuck in for a long time...I’ve spent probably the best part of three out of the past four years stuck in,” said Emilee.
“I think doing that on my own, I really think I might have cracked up. I just think it's so easy to become depressed and things when you're isolated.
“I can't imagine not having that reason to sort of get up and do things, or that company.
“It was just me and Fin most of the time, and he was just really good for calming me, you know, when you feel panic rising.
“He's really receptive and sensitive and could tell when I was feeling anxious or when you need a bit of a pick me up.”
He also helped her to offload and make sense of her thoughts.
Emilee added: “It was kind of just having someone there to talk to as well but isn't going to judge you.
“The things that kind of go around in your head that are gonna make you sound mental...that sort of thing.
“Just having someone who was just going to let you process it in your own time and just be there.”
She also told us how he made her feel safe and never used to leave her side. He also helped in practical ways too.
“I've taught him to get the post for me and things because I couldn’t bend for a long time. And he loves having a job to do,” said Emilee.
Emilee is now in remission from cancer, but instead of finally being about to forget about the dreaded C word, she’s going through it all again with Finley.
The poor dog was experiencing lots of seizures, with the vets treating him for epilepsy. It was only when he had an MRI that they discovered the brain tumour, something that took Emilee back to her own diagnosis.
She said: “It was just really overwhelming and it sort of brought back being diagnosed myself...all those thoughts swirling around your head, and then immediately I just thought, he’s my baby, he’s my world and I've got to do whatever I can do.”
The worried owner was offered a couple of different treatment options for Finley - surgery and radiotherapy, or sadly, to just wait for a seizure he doesn’t wake up from.
“I just can’t even bear to think about that,” said Emilee.
“We spent the weekend working it out and felt like surgery might be too invasive. Maybe we'd need radiotherapy first. It's just been really difficult and overwhelming and the pressure of choosing the right treatment for him, it's been a lot.
“And you’re weighing up as well, which I guess you don't have with humans, the financial side of things. You've got to find that balance between what's best health wise but what you can actually afford as well.”
The cost of treatment has far exceeded the cap on Emilee’s high level of insurance - it’s looking to cost around £6,000 extra.
Opting for radiotherapy, the owner had to then decide on how many sessions of the treatment to give Finley, something else that came down to cost. She had a choice of five for palliative care, or 10 or 20 for treatment.
She said: “The main difference between that was the price and we sort of wanted him to have the best outcome and the best chance, like this is the one chance we've got to try and save his life, so we chose the 20.”
Finley is now in Edinburgh receiving treatment, quite a way from his home with Emilee in Liverpool. And of course, Emilee says she is missing him like mad.
While this has been a worrying time for Finley’s 29-year-old owner, the brave pooch has battled through.
Emilee said: “He’s just been completely himself, he's really like taken everything in his stride and I feel for him so much that he's not let on that he's been in pain.”
She added: “When we've spoken to the specialist they said he'd have had one hell of a headache throughout all of this so he's done really well - he still wanted to play, he wanted to eat.
“He was just still very much Fin, which is part of the reason I'm fighting so hard to treat him because it's not too late. It's still like my dog is still in there, it's just the cancer that's got to do one.”
Emilee is raising money for Finley’s treatment on GoFundMe.