Mattie Miracle 8th Annual Walk & Family Festival was an $88,000 Success!!!

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

Random Shots of Mattie, Family and Friends

July 10, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2004. Seeing photos like this actually make me laugh because I remember what it was like to try to hold Mattie, or contain him in any way! It usually did not go well. Mattie was a free spirit and as such did not like his car seat, a stroller, or to be picked up and held! As you can see in this photo, Mattie was squirming out of my arms and wanted to get down. Also notice the sippy cup! Some kids have a stuffed animal, mine had his sippy cup.  

Quote of the day: No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. ~ Christopher Morley

Peter and I went to a dog training today offered by City Dogs, the rescue group where we got Indie the cat and will be getting Sunny the dog (on July 16). This training session is mandatory for dog adopters and dogs are not allowed to attend the meeting. The rescue group provides this two hour free training because taking home a rescue dog is VERY different than taking home a dog from a breeder. 

Of course there is the trauma associated with living in a high kill shelter, where Sunny is coming from. A high kill shelter means that more than 90% of dogs are euthanized who come to this shelter. So you can imagine the turmoil associated with living in such a facility! However, what the trainer prepared us for was the actual stress and trauma of just being transported up here to DC to be adopted. 

Next Saturday, July 16, Sunny and 15 other dogs are being caged and transported in individual cages in a van from South Carolina to DC. They manage this 8 hour van ride without breaks. Naturally each of these dogs is highly stressed in their cage and some dogs are barking non-stop, some crying, and you get the picture of what this van trip must be like. As soon as the dogs are unloaded from the van, adopters pick up the dogs. So literally when we pick up Sunny, he will be in a state and as such we are told we may not see his true personality for days, weeks, or some dogs months until he gets comfortable with us. These dogs from high kill shelters are not used to living in homes or with people, so they need to be socialized. The trainer commented that since our dog is part border collie, this will be a mixed blessing. He will be very intelligent and therefore trainable, yet requires great mental stimulation. Such stimulation isn't necessarily associated with physical stimulation, which was eye opening to me. 

I feel like I learned a lot in this session and first and foremost learned that dogs aren't like us. They don't have feelings in the same way we do, meaning if you set limits and structure, or try to correct behaviors, they don't hold a grudge or get upset with you. Dogs need to know who the leader is in the household, and not unlike raising a child require boundaries and love. I have great uncertainty about raising a dog, despite being the one who wants to adopt a rescue dog. Not having any experience with this always makes me nervous, but I figure if I can raise Mattie and deal with cancer, I will figure out Sunny as well in time. Also when in doubt I will hire a trainer. Because I can see it is about learning several basic behavioral techniques in order to have a happy dog, yet it is an art about how to apply them and to be diligent about doing it consistency. 

When I got home today, I received an email about Sunny. I learned that Sunny has been diagnosed with heart worm. Typically dogs today are treated monthly with preventative heart worm medication, not unlike the monthly flea and tick medications they receive. These monthly medications prevent dogs from getting heart worm. In Sunny's case, he is living in a shelter that clearly did not provide him with heart worm medication. Some adopters refuse to adopt a dog who tested positive for heart worm, because of the expense and the fact that you have to administer medications and take your dog for three shots and further testing. 

However, given that heart worm is curable, we are continuing with the adoption process. But heart worm is a serious condition is left untreatable and while under treatment, we are required to limit the physical activity of the dog. 

Heartworm Disease is a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It is not contagious to humans and cannot be transmitted from dog to dog. Heartworm is easily prevented by giving the dog a preventive tablet once a month, but unfortunately in the rural areas where most of the dogs being rescued are from, prevention of diseases is not a high priority. Heartworms slowly grow in the dog’s heart and arteries over months and years of infection. There are no symptoms at first but it eventually you may notice an occasional cough, weight loss, and fatigue after minimal exercise.  

Meanwhile Indie is settling in and seems much more comfortable at home and around us. She is eating, using her litter box, and is VERY social. More like a dog than a cat. She responds to her name and wants to be in whatever room you are in! 

Today we showed Indie, Mattie's stuffed animal of a Jack Russell Terrier. I entitle this.... "Round one, Indie versus Jack." If you look closely you will see that Indie is batting at Jack! 

Indie truly loves being around us and will follow us from place to place. I have never experienced a cat quite like her, who craves attention and really wants to be a part of the family. Usually cats are very independent and you fit into their life style!

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