Shepherd Mix Given 'Months to Live' Survives Tumor Operation and Is Thriving

Shutterstock / Anna Krivitskaya

When my dog was diagnosed with tumors on her throat, the vet told me there was very little we could do, and gave her only a few months to live. Even though we tried everything we could think of to treat our beloved pup, nothing we did made a difference. So it was especially beautiful to watch the dog in this video, who appears to overcome a tumor on his face so big, it looks almost like a second head. As with our dog, the doctors only gave this good boy a few months, but years later, he’s defying the odds and living his best life.

Spoiler warning: get your tissues ready.

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In this somewhat graphic video, we learn the triumphant story of Bear, a dog who was originally rescued with a three-and-a-half pound tumor dangling from his face. He had lymphoma and carcinoma, and the vets the rescue consulted said he probably only had a few months left to suffer with this extreme condition.

Related: Pit Bull With Cancer Takes Her First and Last Trip to the Beach and We Can't Stop Crying

Nevertheless, they got the poor pup surgery, and over two years later, he’s doing great. Sure, he may have a bit of a permanent head tilt from his ordeal, but it just makes him look curious and adorable.

However, the price of these treatments was not cheap. The rescue estimates that over forty thousand dollars was spent on the animal’s care and recovery.

Why Pet Insurance?

“That is also why vets often say the animal doesn't have long to live,” points out one person in comments, “because even if they could save the life, they know most of the times the owners cannot afford it. So don't blame the vets.”

And it’s true. Very few people carry pet insurance for their beloved animals, and vet bills can soon become far more than nearly anyone can afford. In many cases, the only option for owners is to surrender their sick pets or allow them to be euthanized.

We were lucky to have invested in pet insurance for our dog, or we would never have been able to afford the treatments that she needed at the end of her life. And even though they weren’t successful in her case, I was grateful that we at least had the safety net to give it a try. (We used the insurance company Trupanion, though it’s only one of a wide variety available.) I was so pleased with the policy on our dog, that I made sure to buy policies on our cats as well.

It may seem like an unnecessary expense—until you’re hit with a big vet bill, especially as your pet gets older.

Why is Cancer in Pets So Hard to Treat?

Though many dogs with cancer are successfully treated, like Bear here, and go on to live long and happy lives, the survival rates are much lower than with humans, and the treatments are not as well-studied. The reason for this is because so few pets with cancer end up getting any kind of treatment compared to their human counterparts, as mentioned above. Often, it is too far out of their owners’ budgets, and their people opt to just try to make them comfortable, or even have them put down.

There’s a smaller sample size to see what works, and a lot fewer funds to go into research.

After going through my own dog’s experience, I could not be happier to watch Bear triumph over his.

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