Rusty's Cancer Chronicle

Rusty is an F1B Labradoodle, born July 30th, 2008. 

     Rusty’s mother was a white medium size multi-gen Australian Labradoodle and his father was a red miniature Poodle.  We choose the F1-B because of my severe allergies to animal dander, and this is our first dog in many years.  We also wanted a medium size Labradoodle to make it easier for us to handle him.  His color was very red when he was born, hence the name Rusty, but it is now a light red. 

     Because of our many dog owner/lover friends I began sending out random emails to keep them informed as to Rusty’s status.  Rusty’s cancer had such an impact on us that I decided to post some of my emails on DoodleKisses to see if anyone else had a Doodle that was dealing with cancer.  My chronicle also turned into a therapeutic outlet for me and was a help for both of us from all the support we received from the DoodleKisses members.  I have since added two more support sites with which I am sharing Rusty’s story.  

Chuck Holliman, Rusty’s Dad 



Rusty's Cancer Chronicles are posted for Chuck Holliman and Rusty by Susan Salzer
Please scroll down to the very beginning for the first postings on Rusty's journey
view:  full / summary

Update - February 14, 2013

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on February 21, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Rusty is about the same since our last visit with Dr. Macy at the beginning of January; he returns for afollow-up on March 1.  He is continuing to show signs of slowing down,which we are sure is the liver and his low red cell count.  We are giving him a hamburger patty twice a week, per Dr. Macy, to try and improve hisanemia.  He is much slower getting up in the mornings and with the coo lmornings, he is much stiffer in trying to walk.  He is also showing some weakness in ...

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Update - July 29, 2012

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on July 30, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Rusty’s 2 ½ year anniversary of his amputation

Rusty celebrated a milestone on July 25th, it has been thirty months since his amputation and his battle with cancer began!  He is an amazing dog, having battled cancer for over half of his life and now dealing with “Fanconi Syndrome”, which wascaused by the damage to his liver & kidneys from the Chemotherapy.  He will celebrate his 4th Birthdaytomorrow, July 30th.  Two and one-halfyears ago, we nev...

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Update - May 23, 2012

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on May 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Rusty‘s regular check up with Dr. Macy was in early May; ithad been 2 months since his last appointment. Rusty has been doing very well overall, probably had the best two monthssince his amputation.  He has gained twomore pounds, bringing him to his desired weight, which pleased Dr. Macy.  The past couple of weeks h...

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Update - April 14, 2012

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on April 14, 2012 at 2:55 PM

A couple of weeks ago I sent an email to Dr. Gonto, who developed the Fanconi Syndrome protocol in 2003, to see if he had an update to his protocol.  I was not sure that I would reach or hear from him; boy was I surprised.  Dr. Gontois an MD (surgeon) who has pursued treatment protocols for Fanconi dogs; he is currently monitoring about 300 dogs throughout the world.  He responded immediately; we exchanged several emails and Dr. Macy sent Rusty’s test results for the past...

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Update on Rusty - January 29, 2012

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on January 29, 2012 at 4:20 PM

January25th was Rusty’s 2nd anniversary of his amputation!  Everyday that we have with him is a blessing.  Two years ago we had almost no hope that he would still be with us; that he is, is a testament to the fight that he has put up against this terrible disease, two outstanding Dr.’s and the love and support from dozens of his supporters. He thrives on the love of his human friends as much as seeing his doggie friends.  He has maintained a great attitude throughou...

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Update - August 11, 2011

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on August 11, 2011 at 9:30 PM

We celebrated Rusty's 3rd birthday last Friday the 5th; Dr. Macy was not intown on Rusty's actual date, July 30th, and he wanted to attend theparty.  Dr. Huber and Dr. Yee were also included in the party; Dr. Huberperformed Rusty's amputation. Several of Rusty's dog owner parents also helpedhim celebrate his special day.  Jan decorated the dining tables in a doggytheme and...

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Update - July 3, 2011

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on July 18, 2011 at 5:55 PM

GREAT NEWS on Rusty - Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on May 15, 2011 at 9:02 PM


I held off with an update until we saw Dr. Macy today; all results were normalwith the exception of the same liver enzymes which are still elevated! Dr. Macy does not think that it is necessary to pursue the causes of theelevated liver issues unless something changes.  During the period ofRusty's digestive problems, Dr. Macy ran several tests on him includingabdominal scans, which were normal.  None of the tests identified anycauses of his intestinal distress; Dr. ...

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FOURTEEN MONTHS!! March 25, 2011

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on March 23, 2011 at 5:04 PM

March 23, 2011

Friday the 25th marks the 14th month of Rusty’s amputation; it is hard to b...

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Happy Ampuversary Rusty

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on February 6, 2011 at 1:29 PM

A Major Milestone this week! January 25th was Rusty’s one year anniversary of his amputation!  It is hard to believe that twelvemonths have gone by, it seems like it was only last month that we were nursing him through recovery.  Seeing him now, there is no question that we made the right decision for the amputation and Chemotherapy treatment.  He is so happy and enjoys life to the fullest!  Most people who meet him for the first...

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Saturday, January 1, 2011 Update on Rusty

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on January 3, 2011 at 12:36 PM

December 31, 2010

Rusty’s update!

Jan, Rusty & I had a very special Christmas together! Our present was being able to share it with Rusty; eleven months ago we were not sure that he would be with us for Christmas.



Rusty has had another two months of “normalcy”...

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Thursday, November 11, 2010 Rusty's Big Night!

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on November 19, 2010 at 5:17 PM

This past month has been a very quiet period for Rusty; the most significant event, other than his big night, was his nine month Ampuversary on October 25th!  He went in for his monthly checkup with Dr. Macy on November 5th; the best news was that his blood platelets have not dropped any further since the previous visit. The liver readings showed some degradation, but were still within acceptable limits. His reaction to the oral Lomustine chemo treatments has been very positive; a little...

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on October 20, 2010 at 10:45 PM

October 19th


     I was waiting until after our monthly appointment with Dr. Macy before updating Rusty’s blog and then our temperatures finally dropped into a comfortable level and I got busy on some deferred projects.  Also, it has been a pretty routine time period for Rusty since my last update a...

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on September 11, 2010 at 4:43 PM

On Wednesday, August 25th (which was Rusty’s seven month Ampuversary) we headed to the Central California Coast to celebrate Rusty’s Grandmothers’ 89th birthday. We gave Rusty his oral Chemo treatment on Tuesday which was a day early, but we wanted him ready for the trip on Wednesday. It is 350 miles from the desert to my mother’s which is a long ride for him. We stopped in Ventura which is the half-way point for an In-N-Out burger, including a patty for Rusty, and a c...

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Posted by The Doodle Messenger on August 24, 2010 at 10:09 PM


Tomorrow will be Rusty’s seven month Ampuversary and he is doing great! He is full of life and enjoys almost every minute to its fullest! He still has an occasional day that he is not very active nor eats until later in the day, but by evening he is usually back to normal and wants to play and eagerly eats his dinner. His diarrhea episodes have almost completely subsided and Dr. Macy cut his dosage of Budesonide in half.

Rusty's endurance is still fairly low, maximum...

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Posted by Rachael - Dare to Dream LDs on August 1, 2010 at 11:01 PM





As I write this, Rusty is recovering from his second year birthday party that we gave him this morning. Twelve of his dog park friend’s parents celebrated his birthday with him; he was very appreciative to see them, as he misses them as much as their dogs. Rusty was the perfect host and they all marveled over how well he is doing. He even...

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Monday, July 5th

Posted by Rachael - Dare to Dream LDs on July 13, 2010 at 8:49 AM

June 25th was the fifth month Ampuversary (Amputation) of Rusty’s surgery. It seems like it was only last week! So much has happened during the past five months, for both Rusty and us. It has been a wonderful experience for us to see how well he has adapted to the amputation and other changes in his life without losing any of his super personality and love of life. He lives each day to its maximum. Hopefully, if we suffer a tragic event in the future, we can benefit from ...

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Monday, June 14th

Posted by Rachael - Dare to Dream LDs on June 16, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Rusty has had a very busy couple of weeks since the last update and overall has done very well! A dear friend from Portland arrived on Thursday the 27th for a long Memorial Day weekend and left the following Tuesday. Having company in the house kept Rusty occupied as to what was happening and checking in on Sally’s room. Rusty went for his first “official” swim while Sally was here. He did fairly well, obviously tiring much sooner than before. The missing leg did not seem to...

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Tuesday, May 25th

Posted by Rachael - Dare to Dream LDs on May 26, 2010 at 1:52 PM

4th month Ampuversary! Rusty is getting around better than ever, and his appetite has returned with a vengeance. He had his monthly dose of Lomustine Chemo last Monday and has handled it better than in previous months; last week he finished his Budesonide, which he was taking twice daily for the diarrhea. Dr. Macy asked us not to refill the prescription and see how he was without the medication. Unfortunately, the diarrhea returned full bore this week and he is back on the Budesonide. His app...

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Sunday, May 9th

Posted by Rachael - Dare to Dream LDs on May 10, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Rusty has had a very good month! We got off to a slow start after the April Chemo treatment with the continuing diarrhea issues and nausea. Dr. Macy prescribed Budesonide twice daily for the diarrhea and an additional week’s worth of anti-nausea pills. After a couple of days the diarrhea stopped, and his normal appetite returned. Rusty’s energy level has returned to pre-surgery levels, and we added an evening walk to help him use up the new energy. Our friends who knew him before ...

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