Mattie Miracle 9th Annual Walk & Family Festival -- Raised over $97,000

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

October 6, 2016

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old and as you can see at a petting zoo. I think this photo of Mattie and the sheep was priceless. We have a couple of photos with Mattie and barnyard animals and I love each one of them. What gets me about this was the sheep was fascinated by Mattie and Mattie was fascinated by the sheep!

Quote of the day: To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.T.F. Hodge

Today was a complete day of frustration! When we adopted Sunny, we knew he tested positive for heartworm. That could be a show stopper for many adopting parents, but we decided to stay committed to Sunny. The rescue organization is willing to pay for the treatment but you have to use their appointed vet. Given the costly nature of the treatment (today's bill was over $400, and Sunny needs three of these visits) and the fact that the shelter was irresponsible not to give Sunny his monthly heartworm preventatives, we decided to hold the rescue organization responsible for the treatment. 

The shelter's vet is in Northeast DC. You might ask.... how difficult could that be to commute from Northwest DC to Northeast today? The answer is VERY difficult! I could have driven to New York in the amount of time it took me round trip today. Without traffic the vet should only be 20 minutes away from our home. But they required me to get Sunny to them by 8:30am and to pick him up at 5pm (he needed to be there all day for observation). These commuting times were right in the midst of rush hour. Each trip took me over an hour, and keep in mind I had to drive there and back TWICE today!!!! Being in DC traffic felt beyond stressful and then when picking Sunny up, I could see he wasn't himself. 

The vet kept Sunny in a cage all day for observation!  Sunny doesn't like cages and I have no doubt that was traumatizing on top of getting a deep inter- muscular shot. These shots are serious business and dogs can have reactions to them. Which is why observation is needed. 

Below you will find out more about heartworm, in case you are interested! I have been reading about it for weeks because I needed to know what would be going on! We even had Sunny genetically tested because some collies have a genetic mutation that makes heartworm preventative treatments deadly. Fortunately Sunny doesn't have this mutation. 

So how did Sunny contract heartworm?

Only by the bite of an infected mosquito. There’s no other way dogs get heartworms and there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That’s why monthly prevention is so important. Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states, and the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.

Monthly Preventative treatments (which Sunny did not receive, which explains why he contracted the disease after being infected)

For less than the cost of going to Starbucks for a weekly coffee, you can prevent heartworm disease in your dog. There are monthly pills, monthly topicals that you put on the skin, and there’s also a six-month injectable product. The damage that’s done to the dog and the cost of the treatment is way more than the cost to prevent heartworm disease. A year’s supply of heartworm preventative will cost about $35 to $80, depending on a dog’s weight.

How common is heartworm in shelters?

It’s a very common problem in animal shelters today, and public shelters rarely have the money to treat heartworm disease. It’s perfectly acceptable to adopt a dog with heartworms, but you have to be dedicated to having the disease treated appropriately, because it’s a horrible disease that can lead to a dog’s death if left untreated.

What does the treatment entail?

The drug that you treat with is called Immiticide. It’s an injectable, arsenic-based product. The dog is given two or three injections that will kill the adult heartworms in the blood vessels of the heart.

The safest way to treat heartworms includes an extensive pre-treatment workup, including X-rays, blood work, and all the tests needed to establish how serious the infection is. Then the dog is given the injections. With all the prep work, it can run up to $1,000. 

What happens after the shots?

After treatment, the worms begin to die. As they die, they break up into pieces, which can cause a blockage of the pulmonary vessels and cause death. That’s why dogs have to be kept quiet during the treatment and then for several months afterward. Studies have shown that most of the dogs that die after heartworm treatment do so because the owners let them exercise. It’s not due to the drug itself.

What you may see after treatment...

May see pain, swelling, and tenderness at the injection site or reluctance to move due to pain at injection site. May also see coughing, gagging, depression, lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, lung congestion, and vomiting. Less commonly seen are excessive drooling, panting, diarrhea, coughing up blood, abnormal heart rhythms, and death. The dog must be kept quiet (cage rest) for 4-6 weeks after treatment to help decrease the risk of pulmonary embolism.

At the moment Sunny seems miserable. I can't administer his pain meds or anti-inflammatory because he refuses ALL food and snacks. I already wrote to my vet with CONCERNS. The photo above with the dog shows where the shot is administered. In the back, at the site of the infection, which helps to explain why Sunny's fur is significantly shaved in that area! 

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