My dog, Meilo, and I are recent beneficiaries of a grant from the Zeus Varis Fund to cover treatment for Meilo’s oral melanoma.  I send this letter to express my thanks to you for your tremendous generosity.  I am just overwhelmed by our good fortune and your remarkable altruism. Meilo is a male, apricot, mini-poodle.  He is 15 and ½ years old, deaf and has no teeth.  It is my understanding that they were removed due to infection (the same infection that impaired his hearing) at some point in the last five years.  Meilo came to me last June when his original owner, Dr. David Bauer, a pediatrician at NY Hospital, passed away due to complications of multiple sclerosis.  Dr. Bauer was confined to a wheelchair and had around-the-clock live-in nursing care in the last months of his life.  Meilo was his best friend and companion.

As a volunteer for the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA) in their Pets Project program, I was one of many who received an email plea for Meilo’s foster care on Dr. Bauer’s passing.  I was in also in a prime position to foster Meilo; as a graduate student of social work at Fordham University, I had a full month off from study/work obligations.  I took Meilo on and worked with JASA to find him a permanent home, but we never managed to engage a serious adopter.  This was lucky for me, because by the end of the month, Meilo had settled into my home (and my heart) and I was set on keeping him.

Without Zeus Varis funding, I simply would not have been in a position to opt for the treatment recommended and provided by Dr. Rocha and NYC Veterinary Specialists.  Words are inadequate to express my gratitude for having that option made possible.  I lost hours of sleep wondering, in those days that passed between Meilo’s tissue biopsy and a definitive diagnosis, how I would bring myself to say “I don’t have the money.  I have to decline treatment.”  After all that had been invested in Meilo to date, to come to a moment where there was a remedy at hand, only to be in an unaccommodating financial position was just unbearable.  Thanks to the Zeus Varis Fund, that bleak scenario was not realized.

Meilo had tumor and lymph node removal surgery with Dr. Kyles on April 22.  His recovery is nothing short of remarkable, given his age, and that the surgery necessitated the partial reconstruction of his lip. He received his first melanoma vaccine on May 12, with 3 more rounds to go through mid-July.

Meilo’s restored health could not come at a better time.  He so loves to take long walks and sit outside with me in the temperate weather.  Whenever possible, he accompanies me on outings and errands.  He is the center of attention in the wagon at Home Depot, and is the recipient of treats all along the avenue, from the dry-cleaner to the wine shop.  After years of being the only dog in the house, Meilo has taken beautifully to sharing space and affection with my 10-year-old Boston Terrier, Truman.  Truman may be a bully-breed, but it’s Meilo who regularly lets everyone know who’s boss!  Meilo also enjoys weekly visits with my mother’s five-year-old rescued Foxhound, Pearlie Mae.  He is a joy to everyone in my family, and is the “preferred” pup to bring on visits to the home of my six-year-old niece and nine-year-old nephew.

Again, Dr. Varis, thank you so much for providing the means to cover the costs of Meilo’s cancer treatment.  Meilo is such a joy, and though he’s 15+, he’s still new to me!  I certainly was not ready to part with him, or even consider doing so.  I am so grateful that this is no longer an immediate concern.

With warm regards,