Dogs Get Cancer, Too

canine cancer edward carter motley zoo cancer in my thirties breast cancer 30s 30's

This is a heartwarming story that I’ve been meaning to share with you for some time now…

I’ll admit that when jme first told me about this little pup, my heart sank a bit.  4-year-old Edward Carter had been diagnosed with cancer — advanced T-cell lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells.  

My thoughts first turned to my own special girl, my Mattie, who died from an aggressive canine cancer (hemangiosarcoma of the spleen) when she was 10.  [Read her cancer story here.]  My heart still aches when I think of the circumstances of her death.  

But when jme told me that Edward Carter had a bucket list and that he was going on adventures and making the most of his last days, I could picture her smiling as she spoke to me on the phone, thousands of miles away.  Edward Carter would make the most of his remaining time and have no regrets.

jme is founder and executive director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, an rescue organization committed to improving the lives of animals and finding loving homes for those in need.  Motley Zoo is foster and volunteer-based.  They have a dedicated volunteer board of directors and caring foster families who provide temporary homes for dogs and cats in need until permanent homes can be found.  jme and her exceptional team have found adoptive homes for over 1,100 animals since Motley Zoo’s creation less than five short years ago.  She is so committed to her mission that she and her husband have personally fostered over 700 dogs and cats to help Motley Zoo.  In fact, it would be odd for me not to hear a chorus of dogs in the background when we talk.

So it is not surprising that Motley Zoo wanted to help this little Powder Puff Chinese Crested / Maltese mix who was abandoned at a local shelter and found to have incurable Stage V lymphoma.  [If you have any knowledge of cancer in humans, you are probably looking at the V and thinking it is a typo, but it’s not.  While the highest stage for human cancers is Stage IV, canine lymphoma stages range from I to 5.] 

Despite being dropped off at the shelter in September and later diagnosed with cancer, he was quickly swooped up and moved into his new and permanent home with Brooke, a longtime foster and Motley Zoo volunteer.  Because he is a hospice dog, he requires special care.  Brooke and her dog Ottis happily accepted the challenge and decided to be his permanent foster family, giving him a warm, safe, and loving home to live out the rest of his days comfortably.

Just like those of us humans who have been diagnosed with cancer, Edward Carter has an oncologist and expensive medical bills.  He also has caregivers who need to make decisions about his treatment and his quality of life.  And since lymphoma is a systemic form of cancer, it has to be treated with chemotherapy. 
canine cancer edward carter motley zoo cancer in my thirties breast cancer 30s 30's
But unfortunately for Edward, there is no cure.  The goal is solely to lengthen his life and to give him the best quality of life possible.

Edward Carter doesn’t seem to understand how sick he is.  He is active and full of LIFE and LOVE.  So creating a bucket list for him seemed like a great idea.  Motley Zoo even created a fan page so that his followers can follow his journey and participate in helping him come up with and check off bucket list boxes.  He has even been the feature of a number of news stories.  He is quite the character!

If you would like to learn more about Motley Zoo Animal Rescue or about Edward Carter and his bucket list — or even ways you can help him with his list or his costly cancer treatments, please visit his facebook page, aptly named Edward Carter’s Stairway to Heaven, or visit Motley Zoo.

And please take a minute to help Edward win Modern Dog Magazine’s Star Dog Photo Contest.  It just takes a second and you don’t need to sign up for anything — just click a button to vote and help a little dog’s dreams come true.




25 thoughts on “Dogs Get Cancer, Too

  1. Cats can get breast cancer. My friends 6 yo cat got a very aggressive form of breast cancer. After what was basically a radical mastectomy, died within the year. No chemo for cats yet. I’m sorry about your dog.


    • Thank you, Caroline — she was the light of my life and I’m sorry she had to suffer.
      Thank you for sharing the info about feline breast cancer. I’m so sorry about your friend’s cat. And sorry they don’t offer a treatment for cats. I’m sure it is difficult for cat owners to not even have the option to choose chemo. I hope this changes one day.
      Thank so much for visiting and commenting.
      Warmest wishes…


  2. It is so sad when our pets get cancer. We lost our dog to cancer just a year ago, my heart broke. We only had Baco for 2 weeks after his diagnosis, but those two weeks were filled with extra love and hugs. I certainly handled my cancer better than I handled Baco’s.


    • Oh Melissa, I’m so sorry to hear about Baco. I’m glad that you were able to give him extra love after you found out, but two weeks is such a painfully short time. I know that heartbreak all too well and I’m so sorry for your loss and pain. And I agree — I also handled my diagnosis so much better than Mattie’s…
      Hugs to you xxx


  3. aw thanks for this wonderful post about edward. if anyone is feeling down, go to his page and you will smile for sure. this dog is a ham, and you cannot be sad while hearing of his antics. we love every minute we have with him, and he has taught us many lessons about how to cope with life, and loss…he has inspired so many, including us. he’s a pioneer like you 🙂 xoxoxo


  4. Thank you so much for this wonderful feature on my hospice foster baby, Edward Carter! He wasn’t able to receive his chemo treatment this week as his white blood cell count was too low, but paws crossed his white cell count will be recover by next week so he can receive treatment next week!

    Luckily, he has NO IDEA that he is sick and he runs circles around me and my dog, Ottis… He often gets a 2nd wind around 10pm at night and likes to keep us up late! He is endlessly curious and naughty. A little powerhouse!

    Thank you for sharing his story, and asking for votes too… Edward is currently in 7th place and he has until Dec 20th to climb his way to the TOP! Every vote counts!

    Everyone can follow Edward on his Facebook page:

    Ottis, Edward and I are sending our love to you. We thinking about you often, especially on chemo days. Kisses to the boys as well!

    HUGS and LOVES ❤


    • Edward Carter is in my heart forever, Brooke. I lost my rescue, Henry, to Lymphoma and kidney disease right before Thanksgiving. Couldn’t handle the chemo & radiation financially. He, too will remain forever in my thoughts and heart. I adopted another little rescue, from Hand in Paw. Piper Bruce, as all of you may know is the vice chairman of Hand in Paw. Her heart is bigger than her entire body! She allowed me to aopt Toby, a rescue, as my ShihTzu, Buddy was spending his days sleeping or looking very sad, not wanting to do anything….even walk. It took about a week; they are now best friends, thanks to Piper! It looks like Edward Carter is in a warm, safe, and loving home until he arrives at Rainbow Bridge.


  5. Voted!! There is much to love about this post, even though Edward Carter has cancer. You have shared his story in such a lovely way and I think it is awesome that he has a bucket list. Thank you for sharing


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