Instinctively, Pip runs a wide circle eyeing the sheep ahead of her while maintaining them in a tight herd as she skillfully navigates the flock into a pen. It is a mesmerizing scene for bystanders to witness a Boxer performing adept working dog skills, and even more so when they learn that Pip has battled cancer.
Despite successful treatment of several tumors including mast cell tumor, breast cancer, adrenal tumor, thyroid cancer, a benign tumor near the anus, and hemangiosarcoma of skin, Pip’s passion for herding and tracking never dwindled. Now 11 years old, Pip is considered a trailblazer having received numerous accolades and media attention for her talent.
According to Pip’s owner and handler, Reegan R., her dog was the first American Boxer to acquire a herding championship — highly unusual for Boxers.
“Initially, it was the American Herding Breed Association that allowed the Boxer to participate. Pip was the first one to get a title in anything, and that helped us pave the way for the American Kennel Club to accept the breed into their competition program eventually,” Reegan said. “Pip is also only the fourth Boxer to have a tracking championship since the beginning of that program; and, she is the only working breed to hold both those championships in the history of the American Kennel Club.”
During her competition career, a mast cell tumor was Pip’s first cancer challenge. Detected early at the age of five, it was surgically excised. As the years passed, the other cancers emerged, and the veterinary oncologists and nurses at Angel Care Cancer Center at California Veterinary Specialists (CVS) were by Pip’s side to offer her compassionate care.
Pip’s oncologist, Dr. Ogilvie, mapped out her medical protocol.
“It’s like you’re adopted into a family. Everyone knows Pip’s name,” said Reegan, holding back the tears. “I wish Dr. Ogilvie was a human doctor because, in my life, I haven’t experienced a relationship with a doctor where I’ve felt so listened to and respected.”
Reegan shared that Dr. Ogilvie knew how important it was to keep Pip doing what she loved most which were herding and tracking.
“Our passion is to ensure that every pet can live a full, rich and joyful life with their family. Pip and Reegan served as a great inspiration for us and the world because they were able to love and enrich each other’s lives beyond measure while at the same time overcoming multiple cancers. Pip and Reegan showed others what possible when being cared for in a center who values the compassionate care,” Dr. Ogilvie said.
Dr. Ogilvie wants pet parents to know how CVS Angel Care Cancer Center strives to listen to families describe what the “quality of life” is for their pet kids. Understanding that special relationship between pet kids and families is unparalleled. Matching the goals of treatments is part of the equation so experiencing life to the fullest can be attained for the entire family.
Every single day, CVS raises the bar to make those dreams come true – and Reegan witnessed it firsthand.
“Obviously, Pip’s comfort was the most important thing.” And Dr. Ogilvie was right on board helping Pip continue to do what she’s always done with happiness and no pain,” she said. “I just felt so completely understood.”
Pip was carving a unique niche for Boxers in the working dog world. Her talents influenced others to do more with their Boxers, and for those in shelters, giving this special breed a second chance at life was the mission.
Today, Reegan reports that a thyroid tumor is the only cancer issue. It’s slow growing, and with radiation treatments overseen by Dr. Proulx, head of radiation oncology at CVS Angel Care Cancer Center, it has decreased in size.
Being a pet owner means cherishing every moment and partnering with an exceptional veterinary team.
“I don’t think you can find a better group than CVS to make you feel like you’re doing all that you can for your animals in the most loving atmosphere I’ve ever found,” she said.