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The Inspiration Behind Drake Dog Cancer Foundation
The moment you hear your dog has cancer, your entire world flips upside down.
I know from personal experience that feeling of your heart dropping when you hear those words. As a pet parent, you feel powerless to help the dog who has been by your side since day one. That’s where this book comes into play. It’s incredibly important you know that you can play a significant role in your dog’s cancer journey from a behavioral standpoint.
You don’t have to be a veterinarian, but you take his or her medical advice, while you play your role. As a canine behaviorist, I have worked with hundreds upon hundreds of clients in my career, alongside veterinarians. Myself, the veterinarian, and the client all work together to make the journey as smooth and successful as possible.
In order to fully understand my depth in the canine cancer world, I’d like to share a story with you before we dive into the content of the book.
My First Dog, Paws
My first dog, Paws, was a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I adopted her when I was only twelve years old; she was eight weeks. She was my very first dog. I remember holding her in my lap on the car ride home riddled with excitement.
We did everything together. She came when I spent time with my friends. She was my very best friend through the hard times, the best times, and every time in between.
When Paws was ten years old, I came around the corner from my kitchen into my office and saw a horrific nosebleed. It looked like a scene from a horror movie. I didn’t know what to do. I did the only thing I knew to do at the time; I called my family veterinarian and requested an emergency visit. This was just too much for an average bleed.
My veterinarian said a nosebleed didn’t warrant an emergency visit, which is understandable, in a way. Because really… who would have thought it would be anything other than a typical bad nosebleed? But, nothing felt right. Something felt very wrong.
Still, I did what I was informed to do by the vet. I kept an eye on the bleeding for another hour while searching for an emergency veterinarian. Finally, I found someone who could see her. It was an emergency clinic about an hour away. Her nose continued to bleed the entire car ride there.
I felt helpless. What was I supposed to do? How could I make her feel better? Why was she bleeding so profusely? There were a million questions running through my mind.
Upon arrival, Paws was extremely lethargic and I was a nervous wreck. She had lost an enormous amount of blood over the past two hours.
They grabbed her from me, requesting I wait in the waiting area or go grab a cup of coffee from a local shop. “The tests could take a while,” they said.
I couldn’t leave. I sat there… waiting. They came out to let me know she was bathed and they were running tests to see where the bleeding was coming from.
Waiting… waiting… waiting.
Some time went by. Finally, the vet tech walked through the door from the ER. The look on her face gave it all away. There was something wrong. Horribly wrong. This wasn’t just an average nosebleed. What was it? Please tell me it’s not anything that can’t be fixed.
Of course, my mind went straight to the worst case scenario. She wouldn’t make it through the night… or what if she had died while they were running the tests?
Thank goodness, she was alive and stable. That was the good news.
Now, for the bad.
“I’m so sorry. Paws has cancer.”
Those three words… Paws has cancer. Those words will stick with me forever. Not only did she have cancer; it was an extremely aggressive form. She wasn’t given a timeline. I could have one more day with her or several more months. There was no way to know.
What Happened Next
In 2007, I was still a student. I was a pre-vet med student at the time. There wasn’t a lot of information about cancer in dogs available to the average person other than pharmaceuticals. I didn’t know what I do now, but she has inspired me to share my passion, love, and knowledge with all of you so you can do what I couldn’t. You have access to information I wish I had. I hope you take full advantage of it.
Of course, there were the traditional options for canine cancer. You know… chemo, radiation, surgery. However, she was at an age where it was advised against heavily. And, her condition wasn’t exactly right for those options.
“It would reduce her quality of life,” the ER vet said.
I pondered this, thinking “she’s ten years old, how do I want her to spend the last of her time here? How would she want to? What would make her the happiest?”
I decided against the traditional options. There were no alternative options provided to me. There was not any holistic medicine option provided. There wasn’t the opportunity to work with a canine behaviorist for a dog who has cancer; that’s for certain.
This time period of my life was incredibly hard for me. The thought of losing her, my best friend and my very first canine companion, was tragic and heartbreaking.
Over the next couple of weeks, I deliberately remembered all of the good times we had throughout the ten years she was in my life. She still needed a routine. She still needed bonding time. She still needed me.
She was so tired. I remember her being so fatigued. She could barely walk to me most of the time, much less go for our normal everyday walk. Her joys of life were diminishing before my very eyes.
The veterinarian attempted to calm me, stating the lethargic behavior was due to the amount of blood she had lost. As a medical student, of course I knew that was a possibility and it was highly likely to be factual.
The constant nosebleeds continued shortly after we had the ER visit. Paws was prescribed epinephrine to prevent the bleeding. Each time she had a nosebleed, I was instructed to place a tube in her nose to inject a squirt of epinephrine, and it worked… for a few days.
Then, the time I had been dreading came. I knew the epinephrine wouldn’t work forever. It was a temporary fix, not a cure. The cancer was still in her body doing damage. The final night she began to have a nosebleed much like the one I’d taken her to the ER for. The epinephrine wasn’t working at all. I took her back to the veterinarian.
She was going to continue to bleed. There was nothing they could do. I was presented the option of euthanasia. It’s been thirteen years since that day and I still remember starting to hyperventilate. I knew I had to say goodbye… but how could I? How could I?
I tried to think more logically. I thought about her quality of life. Was she happy? Was she still experiencing joy? How did she feel now? None of these answers were good anymore. Her health had deteriorated to a point she wasn’t comfortable with.
The veterinarian then asked, “would you like to be in the room with her?”
“Yes. Can I hold her paw while you do it?” I asked.
He let me stay… holding her paw as she slipped away.
Once she received the injection for euthanasia, it left me breathless. The walls felt like they were closing in on me. The space I was in was getting continuously smaller. She was there. Next to me. Her body was lifeless. Her spirit was gone. My ‘puppy’ I had spent my life with.
Holistic Cancer Practitioner, Scientist, Canine Behaviorist, Cannabis Expert
To be successful is to have no limitations, it is to work through all obstacles, to have extreme passion for life, and love for others, and this seems to be the underlying motto of Amber Drake’s life.
Drake is a highly accomplished, world-renowned, and published book author, freelance writer and editor, inspirational speaker, an inspiring teacher, a well-reputed canine behaviourist, a canine cancer researcher, and the CEO of Canine Companions.
As a child, she was keenly interested in the veterinary field and this interest paved way for her to be the successful businesswoman she is today.
Starting with an Associate of Science degree in Biology in 2007 from Jamestown Community College, she has since expanded her knowledge horizon by acquiring a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree with courses from both SUNY Fredonia and Cornell University, followed by a Master of Arts Degree in Education (2011) from Ashford University, a Post-Master’s Educational Certification, and a Doctorate in ABD from the North Central University, Prescott Valley Arizona.
Driven by her love for dogs, she regards her company, Canine Companions, as her greatest work-related accomplishment. She wrote the book, ‘Dog Talk: What Your Dog Wants You To Know’ as as a comprehensive guide to understanding the behavior of dogs.
She has since been involved in numerous writing jobs in the field, varying from writing about veterinary medicine for pet insurance companies to serving as the Co-founder and Vice President at Preferable Pups. She actively engages in content management, copywriting and research work, ghost-writing, and content marketing for organizations around the world.
In addition to being an incredibly successful writer, canine behaviorist, and a CEO, she is an educator as well as an experienced curriculum developer. She is a Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Mentoray, where she teaches and develops curriculum. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Professional Sciences at Kaplan University and an Adjunct Instructor of Biology at Jamestown Community College (10+ years).
Drake is a woman of many skills. She has been in the freelance content writing field for almost 7 years now with a vast amount of writing experience throughout the past ten years. She is a proficient copywriter, blogger, and has years of experience in content management and development, content creation proofreading, written communication, and correspondence. She has a number of certifications including, but not limited to, Canine Psychology, SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Snapchat Marketing, and Google AdWords.
Drake is a woman of extreme passion with great love for her work as a canine behaviorist, writer, and college professor. You can read more about her on her website http:/www.AmberLDrake.org or connect with her on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/specialistamberdrake
See photos of just a few of Drake’s many clients! (Only clients who have given photo permissions are featured)
Amber’s Work & Businesses
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