Here’s my idea, one via which I turn my own personal lemons into everyone’s lemonade: 

It’s the SophieCam, a video spot on Dolittler where anyone can watch my Sophie Sue sleep, eat, get petted, and be generally adored while she’s with us at our hospital.

This cancer survivor, like so many out there, deserves the attention. And so does the cancer that afflicts so many of our pets.

Here’s some background: 

Sophie Sue is my eleven year-old Frenchie. I adopted her as an adult after a whelping-gone-wrong landed her in my lap. For nine years she was the picture of health, save the manageable allergic skin disease common to so many of her breed. Then along came last year.

At the outset of 2008 she suffered two ruptured discs in her neck. Though she never lost her ability to walk normally (many are not so lucky), she experienced extreme pain as a result of these diseased discs. A “ventral slot” surgery cured her. Sophie was back on track just days  after surgery. 

But only 3 months later she began acting sluggish. Occasionally, she would lose her balance entirely and fall to the ground––though she never lost consciousness. Her low-ish blood sugar during these events (and the possibility of an insulin-secreting tumor on her pancreas (insulinoma) led us to explore her abdomen. To no avail. Clean.

That’s when we CT’ed her head and spine (which, in retrospect, we should have done first) and located the offender: a tumor in her brainstem. Next step? Radiation. 

After 18 doses of radiation (under anesthesia every time), Sophie’s cancer was in remission...but for how long? Half of all dogs with this kind of tumor live more than a year after their diagnosis. And Sophie’s almost there now.

The good news: Since late September of last year, Sophie has been enjoying the time of her life. She’s been, happy, playful, trim and––above all––eminently comfortable. In short, it’s been a success story all around. 

Then fast forward to last week: Again, sluggish, quiet, unwilling to jump, no standard Sophie Sue playfulness. Is it the tumor? Or are there more discs to blame? 

That’s when I had a radiation oncologist and a surgeon evaluate her. They concluded that neck pain was the likeliest source of her unhappy behavior. But is it another disc or two? Or the result of a meningitis not uncommon to dogs post-radiation (even eight months out)? The treatment? Steroids will handle either condition. That’s why Soph is back on the prednisone she’d had to take before the radiation. 

And she’s feeling so much better, thank you very much. But the recent jolt of reality courtesy of my beloved canine time-bomb serves to underscore (yet again) that I’m living every moment with a dog who should be well-loved 24/7 in advance of her last day in my company....

...which is why the SophieCam needs to happen sooner rather than later. The inspiring story of pets who survive and live well with cancer means more pets will be treated to radiation, bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy and other modalities of cancer treatment increasingly available to our pets. Proving pets like Sophie can live well after cancer diagnosis and treatment is what it's all about.

So wouldn’t it be nice if the Panasonic PetCam people (whose product I’ve talked up so much on Dolittler) sent me an example of their wonderful wireless device? I think so. So many mommy bloggers get all kinds of freebies for talking up products they could care less about. So why shouldn’t Dolittler qualify for a product I believe in? 

So why not give a Dolittler a hand and send the nice folks at Panasonic’s SeeMyPetCam website a message: “We want to see Sophie on Dolittler!” you’ll say. And I’ll give you the credit (along with Panasonic, of course) once my PetCam arrives. Deal?

PS: Here's the address to write to: [email protected]