Happy Endings

Platty A062708 photographed by Sherry Stinson, TylerDog Photography

Platty was supposed to die.

During our weekly rescue shoot at Tulsa Animal Welfare, my wonderful volunteer Alli, said, “You need to come see this sad boy in 203. Someone brought him in and said he was a stray (which we all know could mean ‘owner dumping the dog because they no longer want to care for it’).” We shot a few more dogs, then she said, “I really think you need to photograph him.” So I grabbed another lens and we walked back to the kennels. Knowing Alli, I knew it would be sad, but nothing prepared me for what came next.

Platty A062708 photographed by Sherry Stinson, TylerDog Photography
Platty was a gorgeous, 10-year-old Golden Retriever with a monstrous growth in his mouth. It was so huge and grotesque, you couldn’t hardly stand to look at it. I tried several angles to capture it, thinking we could at least get someone to foster him or something. Anything to get this poor old boy out of the shelter.

I went to speak with Jean, the director, and said, “Is there anything we can do? Get him into foster? A rescue?” She said, “Let’s go talk to Doc.” We went to the clinic and spoke with Doc. She told us, gently as she could, that Platty had only days, maybe weeks left, and she felt it was inhumane to keep him alive in his condition at the shelter. He would need a biopsy, more testings – things a municipal shelter simply doesn’t have the funding to do. I thanked her and turned to leave, tears filling my eyes. Jean consoled me best as she could, but my heart was heavy.

As I walked back to where we shoot, all I could think is someone discarded this once handsome boy and left him to die in a shelter. Someone didn’t give a damn about his last days, instead throwing him away like a broken down toy. It wasn’t right and it wasn’t fair. And the tears flowed.

Platty was supposed to die.

Alli came back in the room with another dog and the more I thought, the more I knew we had to do something. I said, “If he’s going to die tomorrow, let’s give him his rockstar moment. Let’s bring him up, give him treats, love on him and take a beautiful photo so we’ll never forget why we do what we do. So we never forget Platty.”

She went back to the kennel and brought in the big boy. First thing I noticed was his tail. Wagging like there was no tomorrow! I snapped a few shots, then asked Alli if she’d take a few with Platty and I together. First thing he did was flip over on his back, throw his paw on my chest and demand, yes, demand I pet his belly! Of course, I couldn’t say no, so Platty and I enjoyed several divine moments of belly rubs!

He finally tired of that, stood up and looked at me like, “What’s next?!” I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face in his fur. All I could think is, “He doesn’t know he’s sick. He doesn’t know he’s going to die. He’s just happy in the moment. He’s happy – right here, right now. Enjoying the life he has.” A lesson many of us could afford to learn! It was all I could do to not just bawl like a baby once again! But I figured I needed to be professional and like someone once told me, “Suck it up, buttercup!” So I did. And I’m glad I did – I’m not sure who’s happier here, Platty or myself!

Platty A062708 photographed by Sherry Stinson, TylerDog Photography

Alli took my place with the big lug and proceeded to feed him Cheez Whiz. I mean, come on, what’s better than Cheez Whiz?! He liked that a lot, but soon discovered the crackers she had! Believe it or not, he had no issues scarfing down an entire package of cheese crackers! Then it was on to the Milk Bones! Yep, he could eat those, too! He might have a platypus face, but this big boy didn’t let it stop him! He was eating up the attention – and the treats!

Platty A062708 photographed by Sherry Stinson, TylerDog Photography

We took Platty outside and let him walk wherever he wanted, despite the fact it was freezing cold and spitting icy rain. He didn’t care. He was happy to be outside! He took us on a little jog around the building, stopping to leave little presents here and there, and sniffing everything in sight. It was almost like he was taking that one last stroll, not forgetting to stop and smell the metaphorical roses.

Back inside we went and put him in his kennel. The whole time, Alli was trying to figure out something she could do, some way she could make his last days better. So, off we go back to Doc with tears in our eyes. Alli explained she wanted to take him home, maybe for a biopsy; how she and her wonderful Mom (also a rescuer) would figure something out for him. Doc shook her head, smiled, and called us a couple of bleeding hearts, but said that would work! The smile I saw cross Alli’s face was worth it all! Platty wouldn’t have to die in a shelter. He would be in a warm bed, surrounded by people to rub his belly, and Cheez Whiz anytime he wanted it!

Platty will never die.

I realize the day will come when the cancerous growth will win its battle against Platty and he’ll have his last belly rub, his last outside stroll, and his last cheese cracker. But because of people like Doc, people like Jean, and most of all, people like dear, sweet Alli, Platty will live on in our memories. His goofy-looking face. That wildly wagging tail. Scarfing down Cheez Whiz like there is no tomorrow. Because of kind, caring souls – Platty will never die.

 

Update February 2, 2014

Platty had his first vet visit and will be seeing an oncologist soon. He’s going to have a biopsy tomorrow, then on to the oncologist soon as the cancer center gets back with us. To donate to Platty’s medical care, we’ve set-up a YouCaring fund for him at https://www.youcaring.com/plattysjourney. If you prefer, you may also send snail mail to Karel Bagwell, 3000 W. El Paso St., Broken Arrow, OK 74012. Patty said to tell you Cheez Whiz care packages are welcome!

Update February 3, 2014

We wish we had good news, but we don’t. The initial diagnosis confirmed it’s cancer and it’s metastasized into Platty’s lungs. The vet gave Platty maybe two weeks before the ugly C wins. We’re going to get a second opinion with an oncologist, but things don’t look good. In the meantime, we are going to do everything in our power to make Platty’s last days wonderful! Keep tuned to his Facebook page to see what events Mom Alli is going to plan for him and keep up with his daily comments. Thank you all for loving Platty and sharing his story!

Update February 19, 2014

We have much better news! Our oncologist at Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists in Tulsa, OK found out Platty’s tumor is called a Maxillary Fibrosarcoma. It’s an aggressive cancer, but tends to stay localized, not moving much. The more in-depth CT scan we had done doesn’t show any cancer in Platty’s lungs! It did find a tumor on his spleen, which was removed yesterday. Platty is recuperating from the spleen surgery and we’re awaiting results on the spleen. Once we know the spleen tumor is clear, then we’ll be able to have a treatment plan in place for the Fibrosarcoma. Things are looking up! And until then, Platty is posting away on his Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/plattysjourney, and we’re still raising money for his treatments and funding to help other deserving dogs and cats like Platty, http://youcaring.com/plattysjourney. Thank you all for making Platty a worldwide, positive phenomena.

Update March 7, 2014

This is from Platty’s Facebook page: Hey, Pals! We finally have decided on a treatment plan for my big ol’ schnozzola! Starting Tuesday, I’ll be doing low-dose radiation treatments in Dallas once a week for six weeks. It will make the tumors shrink some and give me more time! This way I don’t have to be away from Mom and Dad at all as I’ll do a treatment, then come home! We looked at other options and felt, given the advanced natureof my cancer and the fact I’m an old boy, they were too harsh and debilitating on me. The low-dose treatments won’t make me cancer-free and surgery really isn’t an option at this point, but it will give the Plattman more time with my Pals! I’ll also be doing acupuncture treatments with Dr. Freije to help with blood flow and pain/stress management. It’ll be like going to a Platty-spa! Please know Mom and Dad have considered all options and are deciding what’s best for my quality of life. They want me to be happy as long as I can and I luvs them for that! I luvs you all and want you to keep me in your thoughts as I start the next part of my journey! ~Luv Platty the Grateful Pup #platty

Update August 1, 2014

Platty passed away peacefully today surrounded by loved ones. The impact this boy has made for shelter dogs around the world is incalculable. I am honored to have known him. Platty, run free, sweet boy and enjoy the Rainbow Bridge Cheez Whiz buffet!

       
Marie Savasta Dalzell - February 4, 2014 - 5:29 pm

I am bawling my eyes out. Bless you Platty and your humans, too.

Sandra Brookman - February 3, 2014 - 11:07 pm

I have a few in my rescue just like him :) and they will never die before their earthly time ♡

Agatha C. Knotts - February 2, 2014 - 1:40 pm

this hurts my heart! my grandpa had a golden retriever named missy. she had this same type of growth. the wonderful vets at va tech removed the tumor once. part of her jaw bone had to be removed as well. then about 7 months later the tumor began to grow back. missy went back to va tech again but sadly the tumor could not be removed again. over the next few months it kept getting larger. it became very difficult for her to eat & breathe. her balance & sight were also effected. it was time to let missy go. so in November 2013 missy crossed the rainbow bridge.
.

Pat Franks Hughes - February 2, 2014 - 1:11 pm

OMG!!! It took everything i had to read this whole article as i couldnt see at times cause of the tears flowing. What a beautiful boy!!!!! You are an Angel Alli!!!!! You sure have my utmost respect for what you have done for him!!!!! What an amazing gift you have given him!!!!! God bless you!!! Give him a huge hug and kiss for me!!! He deserves all the best that life can give him for his remaining days on earth!!! I know he will get that from you!!!!! EARTH ANGELS ROCK!!!!!

Bette Schlanger Wozobski - February 2, 2014 - 4:32 am

I would be happy to help out financially with the medical treatment. I will look for updates. Thank you for all you do:)

Tabby Gilbreath - February 2, 2014 - 2:00 am

Beautiful soul surrounded by beeautigul caring souls. Imagine if who dumped him hadn’t of. He wouldn’t be loved with such compassion.

Patty Smith Hart Manis - February 1, 2014 - 6:25 pm

read that witgout crying ir you dont deserve to walk among us. God Bless you and what you do

Janis Renee Surette Rock - February 1, 2014 - 5:04 pm

My Maltese had something like this dog. We had Mallory survive for 3 years after diagnosis and surgery was performed. It was ameloblastoma, we used sweet potato and bison or sweet potato and venison for her foods until she passed away. Prayers, Peace, and Blessings to Platty and Alli.

Tanya Graves - February 1, 2014 - 4:28 pm

Beautiful Story! Thank you for seeing his inner beauty!

Ana Johnson - February 1, 2014 - 3:54 pm

There is an organization called the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund. Visit their web page, maybe the can help. If you plan any kind if fundraising for this little one, please let us know.

Gina Gardner Adams - February 1, 2014 - 3:48 pm

Absolutely heartwarming and precious. Beautiful story.

Linda Loman - February 1, 2014 - 3:40 pm

If this is an epulis (gum boil) there is treatment. Usual protocol is to amputate snout. Had a big dog years ago with this diagnosis. Through much research, found a Japanese group of veterinarians who discovered a successful treatment. My vet went to a local hospital and purchased a vial of BLEOMYCIN, human cancer drug. Once a week for 6 weeks he injected this drug into the tumor. It disappeared and never returned. Even though epulis is not actual cancer, it invades the mouth just as aggressively as if it was malignant. It totally responds, though, to the injected drug.

Shelly Housley - February 1, 2014 - 3:09 pm

I am bawling here! Bless you all for everything you do. Beautiful pictures

Tracey Jech - February 1, 2014 - 2:30 pm

You have touched so many lives Sherry, the weekly photo shoots you and your volunteers do each week at TAW are nothing short of breathtaking. You are such a selfless person, an inspiration to me and countless others. Thank you for helping give abandoned, abused and neglected animals a second chance by sharing these beautiful moments through your lens. Thank you for sharing Platty’s story kudos to you, Alli, Doc and Jean, for doing everything you could to let Platty live out the rest of his days with unlimited belly rubs, in the arms of a forever family.

Juanita Carpenter - February 1, 2014 - 1:44 pm

You steal my heart with your pictures and stories. You must be one of God’s furrbaby earth angels. Thank you!

Tammy J Meier - February 1, 2014 - 1:36 pm

Please keep us updated, so glad y’all took the time to show him unconditional love that he deserves.

Lacy Spano - February 1, 2014 - 1:19 pm

Please make
Him a Facebook
Page so we can follow!!

Thank you for giving him a shot!

Francine Macleod - February 1, 2014 - 8:40 am

My Maya had something almost Just like this! It took her thin beautiful face and change it. When we first found out it was small…She was losing teeth that was how we found out. In the roof of her mouth and nasal cavity The vet said nothing we could do. It would be fast maybe 2 months. As it grew she started to have a hard time eating so we spoon fed her! She was always able to drink. We had her on good meds and after about 6 months…not 2…she started to have some pain and did not want to eat. I brought her to her DR but I did not think it was her time. Neither did they! She got a mild pain pill and came back home! It made her feel SOOO much better! She had 6 more happy months till it finely got to be too much for her! The day we had to let her go her body at 11 was still in great shape! He face was different BUT it was still her face! She ate right up till her last day and her DR gave her her shots outside in the grassy picnic area so she did not have to go in the one last time. We loved her so much but the pain had been bad for her her last 2 days and it was her time. I am blessed to have everyday I had with her and I don’t understand how this boys family could walk away at a time like this! Bless you you giving him a family to love till it is his time! My Maya Is smiling down on you!

Julie Ulmer Rollison - February 1, 2014 - 6:21 am

If you are talking about Noah’s Ark run by Jennifer Smith, she is in SC not NC. This really touched my heart and soul!!!

Dee Dee Clark - February 1, 2014 - 6:04 am

Her email is noahsarkrescue@mac ill pledge $40 veterinary treatment for this beautiful dog.

Dee Dee Clark - February 1, 2014 - 5:59 am

Noah’s Arks Rescue

Dee Dee Clark - February 1, 2014 - 5:58 am

Noahs Ark is in SC and Jennifer Smith is the amazing owner of yhe rescue. I donate and support them o a regular basis. Ill email his photos andthis link tonher. She has an amazing team of surgeons.

Juliet Moore - February 1, 2014 - 5:54 am

So Platty is still alive?!! Yeah!! I want… no I HAVE to know what happens!! Please tell the ENTIRE STORY (Happy tears :) There is nothing like a GOLDEN and their joy. Mine stood by me while I battled cancer twice. When I came home from treatments my Goldens were all I had but there were my caregivers, the LOVE OF MY LIFE… TO WHOM I OWE MY LIFE ♥ Always my rock, caring and compassionate. I owe my life to my Goldens… and thus I will always have a RESCUE GOLDEN.

Ann Sehorn - February 1, 2014 - 5:50 am

Beautiful Platty! Anxious to hear some good news, thank you so much for rescuing him.

Jeffrey Pont - February 1, 2014 - 5:40 am

platty is lucky to have you and you are lucky to have him

Kattie Lagasca - February 1, 2014 - 5:35 am

Can u pls post any updates on platty aftrrwards? Hope he gets well.

Thomasena Negri-Leary - February 1, 2014 - 5:32 am

My dog, Cooper, was diagnosed with a cancerous growth in his mouth when he was 12yrs old. We were very lucky to catch it early and he went through radiation treatments. The first round of 3 kept the tumor away from May to sometime in the fall and then we did it again and it kept it away for several more months. He’s 14yrs old now and the tumor has not come back again, though it may in the future. Our vet and our oncologist are amazed that he’s still with us and doing well. We’re very blessed. I wish Platty much happiness and love in his remaining time and if someone is in the position to consult an oncologist, I would highly recommend it.

Dawn Battey - February 1, 2014 - 5:23 am

What an amazing story. Ali you have a huge heart and thank you both for giving a damn about an incredible dog. When many would of just walked away.

Sandy Ray - February 1, 2014 - 4:43 am

Leave No Paws Behind is an amazing senior dog rescue in CA that usually saves the dog at the !!th hour. They just rescued a senior lab mix with a massive tumor in his mouth and it was removed just yesterday. Maybe this guy will be as lucky. If not he will at least know lots of love before he leaves this world.

Paula Theobald Coulter - February 1, 2014 - 4:29 am

God bless all of you!! <3

Caitlin Taylor - February 1, 2014 - 4:28 am

Tears tears tears! What a beautiful gift you have given platty. Way to go ladies. He’s precious.

Theresa Gares - February 1, 2014 - 4:15 am

is there any update on this baby? michael is right i’ve seen some of the work that Noah’s ark has done to save some dogs, they truely are angels there, and do amazing work :) …. Noah’s Arks Rescue……

Mia Lynn Bates - February 1, 2014 - 4:08 am

Wow my eyes filled with tears this is a heart touching story and this baby deserves nothing but the best it’s sad to say someone so cruel and uncaring could dump such a lover to die alone! And here u come and make his last days probably his best days ever ;) god bless u

Renee Baldwin - February 1, 2014 - 3:50 am

OMD!!! This is the ending we live for!!! I love each and everyone of you ❤️❤️❤️

Donna Gatlin - February 1, 2014 - 3:46 am

The love in his eyes is just amazing! You are an angel for seeing how much love he has to give!

Diane Reynolds Miller - February 1, 2014 - 3:38 am

I lost my beloved baby a few months afo to cancer in his mouth as well. This made me cry the love shown to him. My baby went to the bridge after 9months fighting the cancer. He was held tightly in our arms as he finally escaped the cancer… As it should be. Thank you for being there for him. He will take that with him!

Tony Sanders - February 1, 2014 - 3:34 am

Sherry this is beautiful. Thank you.

AnsellandGreta Englert - February 1, 2014 - 3:33 am

LOVE this!!! <3

Michele Lesseg Barber - February 1, 2014 - 3:31 am

There is an amazing rescue in North Carolina called Noah’s Ark. They help with severe cases like Platty. I can try to contact them for you if you think it might help

Brenda Grandi - February 1, 2014 - 3:19 am

What an angel of a dog. Thank you to the rest of you angels.