WHEN beloved family pet Dino was diagnosed with cancer, owner Sarah Whitlaw expected the worst.
Sarah, of Rochester Close, Durrington, told her daughters to “say their goodbyes” after Dino began screaming in pain and was rushed to the family’s vet.
It was there Sarah was told Dino had a cancerous, fist-sized tumour and required an urgent, life-threatening amputation of the leg.
The odds were stacked against the 10-year-old flat-haired retriever, which had already reached the typical life-expectancy of the breed and was at risk of not surviving the operation and anaesthetic.
But Dino had other ideas and, in the words of Sarah, “chose life”.
Sarah, 50, said: “I was shocked when my vet told me he had cancer, because we’ve always fed him well and he’s had a good life.
“And when he told me he needed to amputate Dino’s leg I didn’t like the idea, because it’s one thing for a small dog to live on three legs and quite another for a big dog like a flat-haired retriever – it felt like mutilating your pet.
“But my vet told me something that I thought was nice – they said they were taught dogs are born with three legs and one spare.”
After surviving a life-or-death operation and having a leg removed, most animals would want to lay low for a while to recover.
But hours after coming out of anaesthetic, last Tuesday, Dino was eager to be taken out for a walk.
Now, barely more than a week later, Dino is running again.
“We’re so grateful to our vet, Nicholas Smith, for performing the operation, because there were many things that could have gone wrong,” said Sarah.
“Dino is such an amazing dog and his recovery makes us feel we did the right thing.
“We still have his mother, Inga, who is 14, and it didn’t seem right for Dino to go before her.”
Sarah, who runs a dog training business, is holding a dog show on September 10 at Arundel District Riding Club, in a bid to raise funds for Dino’s hydrotherapy and other treatments.
Sarah is also hoping to to start a charity to help other people with the cost of veterinary treatments.