Author’s Note: Many thanks to Zandar’s mom for letting me ask questions about him. Pictures were used with permission. You can visit Zandar’s memory page to see what the rest of the family is up to.
How old was Zander when you adopted him?
We got Zander as a puppy. He was about 8 weeks old.
Where did he come from?
My husband and I were just dating at the time and a friend of his gave him Zander.
Did he have any fursiblings he lived with?If so, what are their names?
At first Zander was an only dog. Grant and I lived separately. When Zander was almost one Grant and I moved in together. Shortly after we adopted Zoe.
About four years later, we adopted Zoar and then two years after that, we adopted Tilly an hour before being euthanized at a local shelter. We never planned on keeping Tilly.
We were just going to foster her for a local pit bull rescue. We fell in love and decided to keep her. It’s so strange looking back because we got her about 9 months before Zander was diagnosed and it was almost as if he led us to her. She’s the silliest dog I’ve ever met and I think he knew we would need the laughter she brings after he left us.
Can you explain a bit about T cell lymphoma?
There are two types of canine lymphoma. B cell and T cell. B cell is more common and responds more favorably to palliative treatment and to chemotherapy. T-cell is a type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in the immune system by helping protect the body from disease. Most studies found that dogs with B-cell lymphoma were more likely to achieve a complete remission (81-84%) than dogs with T-cell lymphoma (50-67%).In addition, dogs with B-cell lymphoma have a much longer remission duration and survival than dogs with T-cell lymphoma. Zander’s lymphoma initially presented much different than the typical lymphoma. In fact, we were not suspecting lymphoma at all when we took him to the vet. None of his lymph nodes were enlarged. Zander was 8 ½ at the time and he always stayed in the house while we were at work with no accidents. Strangely he started urinating daily in the house. We also noticed he was drinking an excessive amount of water. Then, when he would lay down and relax he would have muscle twitches. I made an appointment thinking maybe he had diabetes or a urinary tract infection. They ran a bunch of blood work and his calcium levels were off the chart. It’s called hypercalcemia Hypercalcemia is a trademark sign of T cell lymphoma. Signs of hypercalcemia are excessive thirst and urinating and muscle twitching. Basically his vet said it could be one of two things: a benign tumor on his parathyroid gland or lymphoma. They had to send some blood off to a lab out of state to test and we would have to wait two weeks to find out.
What was your opinion of pit bulls prior to adopting Zander?
It’s no secret from those that follow Zander’s page that before Zander I was not a fan of pit bulls. In fact, when my now husband told me he was getting him…I tried to convince him not to. I believed everything I heard in the media. I had never had an interaction with a pit bull and judge them unfairly.
How has it changed since?
I do everything in my power to educate others of how great pit bulls really are. I now have three (had four when Zander was alive). I volunteered with a pit bull rescue shortly before Zander got sick. They truly have won my heart. They are such amazing dogs. I’ve seen dogs who have been used as bait and have every reason to hate humans, turn around and want nothing more than to be loved by humans. It’s truly amazing.
What would you like to say to people who who are still leery of the breed?
Give them a chance. They will steal your heart and prove you wrong. Zander sure proved me wrong and I’m so glad that he did. I would have missed out on 9 wonderful years with the best dog ever. All they need is a chance.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience with Zander?
He is an amazing dog and I was so lucky to have been his mom for 9 wonderful years. I miss his wiggly butt every single day.
This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Zandar.
Fly free sweetie.