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Sunny: Has a new sunny outlook on life!

I just wanted to take the time to say thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me with my Sunny. He is looking so much better now and has gained weight. Now I have hope for a future with my Sunny Bunny. I would like to tell you his story. He was born in the basement of my building. His mom was feral and she was eventually trapped and sent to a sanctuary. His twin sister died of poisoning from licking oil based paint that was stuck to her fur, and his other sister is still living out in the streets on my block, and sometimes still sleeps in the basement of my building. A sweet old lady feeds her. I remember his mom being pregnant and I remember Sunny being so tiny following his mom around the block. One day he disappeared. A year later a crazy alcoholic woman in my building that is known for taking in kittens and then throwing them out when they are grown, came to me and said  that she had a boy cat named Sunny. She said that she had no money for cat food. I bought her cat food and took it to her home instead of giving her money. I knew if I didn't she would just buy alcohol and cigarettes. I offered to have Sunny fixed for her, she refused. I warned her that his behavior would change if she didn't let him get fixed, she also had another unaltered female cat in her home.  She still refused. A week later I was walking my dog in the back of the apartment building when I noticed a large yellow cat that I haven't seen before looking lost. He followed me into the building and up the stairs to my apartment. I realized this was the kitten that went missing from the front of my building, and the one the crazy lady called Sunny. The crazy lady had thrown him out, as expected. I asked her where was Sunny, and she lied and said she gave him to a friend. I told her I found Sunny out in the back and that he had started to sniff at her apartment looking for her. She said Sunny was a bad cat. Well, he's mine now, and is the sweetest baby in the world. He is so good and never does anything wrong.

I couldn't ask for a better companion. He does wake me up in the middle of the night with head bumps while I'm trying to sleep, but who could get angry with that? He plays with my rat named Local and is so gentle with him. I found another cat in front of the building that is his brother from another litter. They love each other. I am sending you a picture of Sunny with his brother Fela, one with me and Sunny, and another of Sunny with Local, my rat.

Sunny is only 3 years old, and I was so devastated to hear he had lymphoma. After all this poor guy went through in his life, to end up like this breaks my heart. My family came to visit him in the hospital when he was hospitalized. He's stayed in my sister's home, and my mother's home when I needed them to babysit Sunny, and he was so well behaved that they asked me to bring back for a visit. If I hadn't had your help, the help of Frankie's Friends, and Dr. Lachowicz (the oncologist), Sunny would be gone from my life. I just suffered the loss of my dog named Stranger from old age (14-1/2 years old) in January, and the loss of my cat Butterscotch from old age (16 years old) last September. It's just too much pain to endure losing another family member so soon. The day he was diagnosed  with cancer I had been laid off from my job. I thought to myself, "What else could go wrong?" With your help things finally got better. The doctor said he is reacting positively to the chemo and he will be weaned off of the chemo little by little. What a relief. I just wanted you to know where Sunny came from, and now his life is turning around for the better. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Sincerely, Miguel


Reducing the Cost of High-Quality Vet Care

By Amy LiebermanMarch 28, 2011

Frankie’s Friends helps pets receive lifesaving treatment.

When Jeanine Russo and Jason Mays learned their nine-year-old cat, Avery Mays, had lymphoma, they feared that the worst – not only for their beloved cat's prognosis, but also for their ability to cover the costs of her treatment.

But soon after, Avery Mays was referred by her regular veterinarian to NYC Veterinary Specialists, a BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital, they realized they had options they never thought existed. A nurse told them about a financial grant through Frankie's Friends, a non-profit foundation dedicated to saving pets from cancer and other deadly diseases. The couple applied and received an affirmative response within 24 hours.

Within the past six months they have received $7,500 to cover the vast majority of Avery Mays' ongoing treatment. The shorthaired domestic tabby is now in remission and Russo is hopeful for her future, despite the difficult odds facing cats suffering from lymphoma.

“People could say, 'Oh, it's a cat, don't give it chemo, that's crazy,' but when you have had a cat or an animal for nine years it becomes a part of your family,” said Russo, an artist living in Brooklyn. “The idea of letting it suffer is just unbearable.”

Without the grant, Russo says, she and Mays would have had to watch their cat die a slow death, given their relatively low joint incomes. Now, Avery Mays is more or less back to her old self, eating, purring and walking around.

“I feel like we have our old cat back,” Russo said.

And without the help of a specialty hospital like BluePearl, Russo says she doesn't know where she or the cat would be. Their regular veterinarian initially wanted to operate on the tumor, which the doctors at BluePearl later advised against.

BluePearl hospitals, specializing in treatment of cancers, urological disorders, diabetes and cataract surgeries, now exist in 21 locations in nine states and are expanding at a rapid rate, paying homage to the growing field of specialized veterinary medicine.

In its latest acquisition, BluePearl Veterinary Partners recently assumed ownership of Animal Emergency & Referral Center (AERC) in Northbrook, Ill.

Dr. Neil Shaw, a founder and co-medical director of BluePearl, says that as BluePearl continues to expand, it works with the needs of the existing veterinary facilities in a particular community, since those vets will often refer emergency and specific cases to BluePearl.

BluePearl's veterinary services run the gamut, but the patients and owners often find common ground, Shaw explains.

“Probably the most consistent factor at BluePearl is not the disease, but the relationship that the pet owner has with the pet,” Shaw said. “If people are referred to BluePearl, you can bet that the pet is very much seen as a part of the family, and that is more consistent than any type of disease we treat.”

“It is about the bond between the owner and the pet. And the owner is willing to do whatever it takes to help keep the pet alive and improve its quality of life.”

That task, however, can be costly, and out of reach for many pet owners, much like Jeanine Russo and Jason Mays.

Shaw says this makes working closely with a group like Frankie's Friends – named after a Greyhound who died of heart disease in 2007 – very important.

Ninety percent of Frankie's Friends efforts and funds go toward helping owners who could not otherwise afford their pet's specialized pet care, according to Bonni Voiland, Executive Director. In 2010, Frankie's Friends provided grants to 75 families.

Voiland hopes that number will only increase in the coming years.

“We've grown a lot in the last two-and-a-half years,” she explained. “In 2010 we raised about $400,000, and the years before than it was $200,000.”

In 2008, Frankie's Friends raised just $50,000.

“We want to focus on raising more money and helping more families across the U.S.,” Voiland said. “Eventually our goal is to partner with a national organization to raise enough money to help find a cure to pet cancers.”

For more information about Frankie's Friends, visit

For more information about BluePearl Veterinary Specialists, visit

This article originally appeared on


Loki: Playful & Mischievous Again

I cannot begin to thank you enough for funding my cat’s lymphoma treatments through your foundation, the Zeus Varis Fund. Without your assistance, Loki and I would have had little hope as my limited financial resources could never have supported the world-class care he is currently receiving. I rescued Loki (and his sister, Freya) over eight years ago, and he has been a fearless and loving little character since the day I brought him home. I’m often inspired by his tireless curiosity, and his warmth and unconditional affection have helped get me through more than a few tough days. Needless to say, Loki’s diagnosis before Christmas broke my heart.

After researching possible courses of treatment, I was very lucky to reach Dr. Oberthaler.  My experience with her and the staff at the NYC Veterinary Specialists (Alba Salcedo, et al.) has been extraordinary. Dealing with professionals whose competency is matched by their warmth and genuine compassion for the animals has made a very difficult time for me much easier. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to them.

In closing, I am elated to report that since beginning treatment in early January, Loki’s condition has improved dramatically. He has gone from hiding under the bed and eating very little to his former spirited self…chasing his sister, eating like a lion and creating endearing mischief. Although Loki may never be permanently cured (although I remain cautiously hopeful), I sleep a bit easier knowing that through your generosity and compassion and the talents of Dr. Oberthaler and her staff, I was able to provide Loki with the best care possible and additional time with his family.

Every day I get to spend with him is a gift. Thank you again for caring.



Worst Foods For Pets With Gas

By:  David Wohlstadter, DVMSenior Emergency Clinician NYC Veterinary Specialists

Anyone who has owned a dog, is familiar with an unfortunate side effect of that ownership, gas, that in some cases, can clear a room. But what causes it, can you do anything to prevent it and is it dangerous?

Flatulence is defined as the excessive formation of gas in the stomach or intestine. It is a word that is often used incorrectly. Flatus is defined as gas expelled through the anus. 99 percent of the gas contained in flatus is composed of odorless gases (nitrogen, oxygen, methane, carbon dioxide). The remaining 1 percent of the gases are sulfur containing and produce the odor that many owners object to.

It is very important to note that flatulence and flatus can be signs of gastrointestinal disease requiring medical intervention by a veterinarian.

1. What are the worst foods for flatulence in a pet?

The worst foods for flatulence in pets are those that contain non-absorbable sugars and fermentable fibers. Dogs lack digestive enzymes to break down some large sugars, such as those found in peas, and fibers, such as those found in fruits and beans. These molecules make it to the large intestine and are fermented by bacteria, creating gas. Rice is a highly digestible carbohydrate and is the preferred carbohydrate source in dogs with flatulence. Avoid feeding a dog with flatulence soybeans, beans, peas, and lactose containing foods such as milk, yogurt and ice cream.

Foods like broccoli, cauliflower, spices, onions (toxic to dogs), and cabbage add to the production of foul-smelling gas.

2. What else, besides the foods they eat, can cause gas - ie: eating too quickly. What can you do?

There are four causes of flatulence.

1.  Gas production through fermentation of large sugars and fiber by GI bacteria

2.  Aerophagia ("eating"/swallowing air)

3.  The stomach produces acid and the pancreas produces bicarbonate. These two combine to form carbon dioxide in the GI tract.

4.  Transfer of gas from the blood into the GI tract

Swallowed air and gas produced by bacteria make up the largest portion of GI gas volume.

Brachycephalic breeds (breeds with short noses like pugs and bulldogs), highly athletic dogs, and dogs who eat large meals quickly, have a higher portion of GI gas from aerophagia. Therefore, it's not always what you feed, but the manner in which your dog eats. Feeding small meals frequently as opposed to one large meal not only makes the food more digestible, but also cuts down on swallowed gas.

3. It's too late, your pet is gassy. What can you do?

1. Speak with your family veterinarian. Often flatulence is a sign of gastrointestinal disease that may require medical intervention.

2. Feed small meals frequently as opposed to one large meal. This makes the meal more digestible and encourages less aerophagia.

3. Change to a diet that contains more digestible carbohydrates, a different protein in the correct amount, and a low amount of fermentable fiber. For example, if you are feeding chicken, you may want to switch to lamb. Any change in diet should be done under the direction of a veterinarian. Home prepared meals should be done under the direction of a veterinarian. You may be surprised at what foods can harm your dog.

Remember, treats are part of your dog's diet.

It is important that your dog is fed a balanced diet. Dogs are not people, so don't feed them as such!

4. I keep stressing the fact that you should consult with a veterinarian, so please always do so prior to giving your dog medications, herbs or natural remedies. Many substances (foods, medications, etc) are toxic to dogs that are not toxic to us.

4. How does your pet feel when it suffers from flatulence?

How do you feel when you have flatulence? Since they can't talk, one has to extrapolate that our pets feel the same way we do, abdominal pain and cramping.

5. Are there any natural supplements, herbs, etc. that can help and do these need to be taken long-term?

There are many natural supplements and herbs that are said to be carminatives, which are medicines given to reduce flatulence. However, no safety data, dosage, or efficacy have been established. Because grapes and grape products can cause kidney failure in dogs, grape seed extract should not be used.

6. Medication is a last resort, but what can you give to your animal if flatulence is a problem?

A carminative is a medication given to reduce flatulence. There are many purported carminatives with a small amount of data to support their usefulness in dogs. Some carminatives can be harmful to dogs, so always consult with a veterinarian prior to their administration. The best chance of reducing flatulence in an otherwise healthy dog is a change in diet and/or a change in feeding pattern. There are many commercially available diets that are formulated to reduce flatulence in dogs.

7. Are some breeds of pet more prone to flatulence and if so, which?

Yes. Brachycephalic breeds, like pugs and bulldogs, are more prone to aerophagia, or "eating"/swallowing air, due to the anatomy of their upper airway.

Eliot: A Best Friend Is Saved

Thank you. Thank you. I am indebted to you and your generosity. What you have done for Eliot will stay with us always. You have made what I thought to be impossible possible and you have saved my best friend and wonderful companion. Eliot thanks you, too. He wants to live; he is a survivor dedicated to getting better and stronger, and every day, he is. Your gift shined the light on us that we desperately needed in the middle of a very dark six weeks. It shifted the pattern of bad news to a string of good news; recently Eliot's blood work has gotten consistently better, he is eating on his own, and he is responding to the chemotherapy well.

I am an English Ph.D. student, my partner is an aviation student J and my brother has been living with us virtually unemployed since graduating college in 2008. We have no money and lots and lots of debt. I do not know how we would have supported the chemotherapy without your help.

Eliot's illness has made me reflect quite a bit both on life and giving. I study ethics as a part of my literary pursuits and I feel both from an erhical standpoint and an emotional standpoint totally indebted (in a good way) to your kindness. You have become a model for how I would like to contribute to the world once I get my degree and a job. I am inspired to "pay" my good luck in receiving your gift "forward" and once I have the resources will help other families treat their animals through Frankie's Friends, too. Thank you for giving me a model act of citizenry to which I can aspire. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for your help.

Much love and warm wishes,

Eliot, Ashley, Andrew, and Robin

Thank you!

Boris: Successfully Undergoes Surgery Due to Generosity

I am writing this letter to thank you for the grant you provided for Boris, my dog. Without your help I would not have been able to pay for his surgery or the treatment he received afterward. I have no better words to express my feelings toward  your  generosity and kindness except to say, "Thank you."  Boris is doing very well and I am grateful for the outcome.

You gave Boris more time by my side.

Thank you,


Sam: Opportunity to Spend More Time

Thank you so much for the support for my cat Sam, from the Zeus Varis Fund of Frankie's Friends, for his radiation treatments.  Sam has lymphosarcoma in his mouth. I would not have been able to pay for the radiation therapy so I was so grateful for this grant and the chance for Sam to have more time with me. Unfortunately the CT scan of his head showed a brain tumor. Dr Rocha and I discussed all the problems and  decided that the radiation therapy would not help the brain tumor and the best plan would be for Sam to not have any treatment.  I am still very grateful for your generosity and help. Here are some pictures of Sam.

He is a beautiful cat with a very sweet, friendly personality.

Thank you again for your offer of support,


Bloo: From Depression to Hope

I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping my cat Bloo. He has been through so much. I found him on the street seven years ago when he was about six months old. I have given him all the love a cat can possibly have. I was so depressed when I found out he was diagnosed with cancer, but knowing that you are going to give the care that he needs is helping me a lot. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU! Love, Bloo's family

Nepo: Creating Memories and Sharing Kisses

I am so grateful to be a grant recipient from Frankie's Friends Zeus Varis Fund. My six-year-old Tortoiseshell Nepo, (or Monkey as she is more often called) was diagnosed with high-grade Gastrointestinal Lymphoma in January. Having adopted her as a five-week-old kitten, I expected to spend the next 20 years with my sweet beautiful cat. She is my first pet, and the bond I have with her is unparalleled to any other in my life. I am devastated by her diagnosis. With your support and the knowledgeable care she is receiving from the oncology team at NYC Veterinary Specialists, I can now get my Monkey the treatment she needs to live the rest of her little life happy and comfortable. Your gift will allow us to share more memories, kisses and have more snuggle-fests on the couch, and nothing is more important to me.

I thank you with my whole being. Monkey means the world to me, and I cannot express my gratitude enough.



Ten Common Signs of Cancer in Pets*

You can help your own pets by being alert for these 10 common warning signs of pet cancer! 1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow 2. Sores that do not heal 3. Weight loss 4. Loss of appetite 5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening 6. Offensive odor 7. Difficulty eating or swallowing 8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina 9. Persistent lameness or stiffness 10. Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

* American Veterinary Medical Association,

Avery: Keeping Her Family Warm with Snuggles & Purrs

Avery was a foster cat, sleeping in her litter box in a cage. I had fostered a cat before and felt good about providing a nice home while they waited for a permanent one. When I brought Avery home it was different than any other cat I had fostered before. Avery had a cold and had the tiniest sneeze. She had an eye infection and a scratched cornea. She followed me into every room and meowed. I thought she was starving so I tried feeding her every  type of pet food the local deli had to offer. I knew that this sweet little creature needed to be taken care of and she had won my heart. I knew that night that this cat was mine to love and care for. She needed care and protection and I was going to give that to her. Eventually, Avery found a food she liked, but she still meowed. It turned out she is just a chatty cat. Avery will happily sit on anyone's lap and purr. Her nightly ritual is snuggling up against us when we sleep. She has been referred to as a "feline bathroom escort"- no one can go to the bathroom without her, she will scratch at the door until she is granted entrance. She is not an independent cat, she always wants to be with people. Avery waits all day for her humans to come home and pet her. She has the loudest purr. On nights when we had no heat she would rub her face against mine and ask to be let under the covers.

Avery has given us so much love and warmed our hearts for nine years. Finding out she has lymphoma was devastating, a total shock. I have been able to take care of her so well until now. I was heartbroken thinking that she would only have a month or two left and I could not afford the treatment that could prolong her life. This funding has given us hope, it gives Avery a chance to snuggle close for a few more months, for us to love and take care of her. It is impossible to express our gratitude for this extreme act of kindness that has changed our lives and shown us the very best of human nature.

Thank you for giving us a light during this unexpected and very difficult time.

Jason & Avery

Protect Your Pets' Teeth

Did you know February is Pet Dental Month? It is! And there are many reasons why pet dental health is important. To help get the word out to families about the importance of basic pet dental care, February was designated National Pet Dental Month by the American Veterinary Medical Society, the American Veterinary Dental Society and Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Bad breath in a dog is often dismissed simply as “doggy breath.” In fact, it may signal periodontal disease, which is the most common ailment suffered by dogs and cats over three years old.

Just as with people, plaque forms in a pet’s mouth when microscopic bits of food combine with bacteria and build deposits on the teeth. So your pet’s bad breath and discolored teeth are probably an indication of the start of periodontal disease.

"Most people think of dental disease as a local disease just affecting the mouth. Unfortunately this is not true. We have learned it can affect overall health," says Donnell Hansen, DVM, a veterinarian whose practice is limited to dentistry at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Minnesota.  "It's important to note, most pets will not show signs of oral pain, but that's not to say there aren't problems. Even though there are no signs, there are problems. About 80 percent of pets are suffering from periodontal disease."  She adds:  "Families really notice a change in their pets' behavior for the better, after we do a cleaning or extractions."

So what should you do?

Start with a soft toothbrush and flavored toothpaste made for pets. Human toothpaste contains detergents that may cause stomach upset.

Go slowly and be very positive, using food treats if necessary. Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Brush in a circular motion, with a firm stroke away from the tooth. Try to reach all tooth surfaces, but concentrate on the outside surface.

For puppies and kittens, introduce the brush at around 6 months — and be consistent. Animals like routines, so making brushing a habit it will be easier on both of you.

In addition to brushing, foods and chew toys can help maintain your pet’s dental health. Look for treats that contain sodium hexametaphosphate (SHMP), which lives in the saliva for up to 12 hours, breaking up plaque. You can also look for foods or treats with a seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council — a VOHC seal.

For more information, check out the American Veterinary Medical Society.

Happy brushing!

Liberty: Enjoying the Holidays With Her Family

Thank you so much for your support of Liberty.  I am very happy knowing that there are caring people like yourself, helping to care for sick pets. Thank you again, Gayle

Eddy: Able to Enjoy the Holidays

I will like to thank you, Dr. Oberthaler, the doctors who operated on Eddy, the lovely staff @ NYC Veterinary Specialists for the great care Eddy has been receiving; and most of all Dr.Varis for her generosity in helping us with Eddy’s medical bills. You don’t know how much my husband and I appreciate the help that’s been provided, I don't know what I would've done if it wasn’t for the help provided by the Zeus Varis Fund. Our dog(Eddy) has been giving another chance in this world.

I myself have a lot to be thankful for, both Eddy and I are battling this disease. But with the help of God and the excellent medical service, we are receiving. we will both win this battle.

Again thanks to all for your outstanding care.

Love Ada and Eddy.

Happy Holidays.

Sophie: A Miracle is Granted

When my lively American Pit Bull Terrier, Sophie, began showing some unusual symptoms in October 2010, my veterinarian referred us to Manhattan NYC Veterinary Specialists.  After days of inpatient monitoring and diagnostics, the NYCVS team found lymphoma in Sophie's bone marrow.  Sophie and I are very closely bonded, so my buddy's diagnosis was devastating to me.  Dr. Karen Oberthaler explained that Sophie's age and initial good health made her an excellent candidate for chemotherapy, but the financial burden of treatment was so daunting that I met again with Dr. Oberthaler to discuss other alternatives.  It was then that I learned about Frankie's Friends and met with Vivian Llodra, who in a matter of moments gave me hope that the Zeus Varis Fund may be able to help. When I learned that the Zeus Varis Fund would make it possible for me to try chemotherapy for Sophie, I was overcome with gratitude.  I am not a person who uses the word "miracle" casually, but your compassionate gift has been nothing less.  Without the Fund, I would forever be troubled with the question of whether I tried everything that I could for Sophie.  We are very early in her treatment and the road ahead of us will not be easy, but I am now free to focus on making the most of our time together.  The peace of mind you have provided me is priceless.

It is barely possible to convey the impact of a pet on one's life in a few paragraphs, but in short, Sophie has upended my life in the sweetest way during our five plus years together.  In addition to keeping me in stitches with her flawless comic timing and reminding me not to "sweat the small stuff," she has also inspired me to become an advocate for puppy mill legislation and pit-bull breed awareness.  She remains a true crusader, and being able to give her the best care possible makes me feel that I am somehow repaying her for all that she has done.

No gesture can ever suffice to repay you, but I want you to know that when I run the NYC Marathon in 2011, I'll be raising funds in the name of Dr. Varis' precious Zeus.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Jenny and Sophie


Avoid a Trip to the Pet ER this Thanksgiving

Giving thanks,  sharing a great meal with family, and having a costly visit to the 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital with your beloved pet? To keep the last item off of your Thanksgiving to-do list, follow this advice from the specialists at Florida Veterinary Specialists, a BluePearl Veterinary Partners Hospital, in Tampa, Fl: The start of the holidays can lead to emergency room visits for our four-legged pals due to a conflux of situations that are unique to the season. This is the time of year where there are usually a lot of shiny decorations in the house, which may prove irresistible as playthings. There is also a lot of great food around and guests who may be unfamiliar with pets' dietary restrictions and/or the proper things to feed the furry ones.  There can be first-time pet parents who may not know how to handle certain situations and, to top it all off, many veterinary offices are closed during the holidays.

According to Dee Ann Dugger, DVM, senior clinician in the emergency service at Florida Veterinary Specialists,  "It helps to give some thought to some of the hazards our pets face during the season."

Holiday meals –Turkey, gravy and other foods that have a large amount of fat can cause pancreatitis, which is an inflammation or infection of the pancreas. This disease can be serious and lead to extensive hospitalization. Avoid feeding your pets any table foods and keep them on their regular diets even through the holidays. Besides avoiding pancreatitis or a less serious, upset tummy, you will also avoid a weight gain in your pet.

Family visits – If family visits are stressful for you, think about how your pet feels. These folks may be strangers to your pet and it can get very noisy around the house, especially during parties. Make sure there is a quiet room or place for your pets to get away from the crowd. Also make sure everyone is on high-alert so your pets don't escape when guests come and go.

From the BluePearl Veterinary Partners family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Sophie: Purring Her Thanks To Dr. Varis

I can't tell you how grateful I am that the Zeus Varis Fund helps families provide care for their critically ill animals. To my amazement, the award I received from the fund is almost enough to cover the entire treatment for my cat, Sophie, which is to say, that it made the treatment possible. Without your help, I could not have even considered providing chemotherapy for Sophie, who has lymphoma. So far she's had one treatment and is responding well. In every way my experience at NYC Veterinary Specialists has been so much easier than I anticipated. When you walk in the door, the place feels calm and welcoming. Everyone I've dealt with has been kind, caring and patient when faced with my anxiousness and willing to take the time to talk with me about what to expect.

On top of that to have had the big barrier, money, swept aside by Frankie's Friends Zeus Varis Fund, is unexpected good fortune of such magnitude that I’m still really reeling.

Thank you so much.

With sincere appreciation,

Susan & Sophie

Dusty: Fighting Lymphoma with Everything He's Got

Thank you to Frankie's Friends Zeus Varis Fund, which has given my beloved pet cat Dusty a second chance at life.  After thirteen wonderful healthy years with Dusty he developed lymphoma. Through chemo therapy Dusty has an excellent chance for remission.  Without the Zeus Varis Fund Dusty would not have this chance.  I can't express my gratitude enough to Dr. Varis and all those associated with Frankie's Friends/Zeus Varis Fund for giving my beautiful pet Dusty a fighting chance.

Dusty is still in the process of treatment, but whatever happens, I can rest easy knowing that all that can be done for Dusty is being done.

Thank you and the oncology team at the NYC Veterinary Specialists from the bottom of my heart -- and Dusty's too!  Keep up the good work!

Forever grateful,

Deborah & Dusty

Corkey: Thankful for Help

I deeply appreciate and want to thank you for your kindness and caring. This grant has helped my beloved cat Corkey in his lymphoma treatment. Words cannot express how I feel. Thank you so very much To Frankie's Friends and Dr. Varis who started this fund, and God Bless you. Raymond

BeBe Begonia Is Coming Up Roses

I was beside myself with despair and hopelessness when BeBe was diagnosed with lymphoma. I couldn't bear the thought of losing him, yet could not afford his treatments. In 1995, we found BeBe, and his brother Ziggy, in a box between buildings on NYC's Lower East Side, when they were tiny kittens. This past January, 2010, Ziggy died a month after showing signs of what was either very sudden and advanced lymphoma or heart disease. We could not afford the diagnostic tests, but were told that either way, there was not any effective treatment for him at that stage of illness. Previously, Ziggy had not been sick a day in his life.

BeBe, however, had been showing signs of illness for a few years – fevers, weight loss, and, most disturbing, open sores on his leg — before being diagnosed with lymphoma. Despite his physical discomfort, he continued being a deep source of love and companionship. So much so that he inspired me to write a book about the meaning of his love.

I am almost finished writing and editing it, and have promised him, and myself, that I will complete it while he is still with me.

I cannot thank you enough for donating the money for BeBe's continued care. In his quiet, steady way, he is a beacon of light. My family has had a lot of loss this year — emotionally and financially —and your act of kindness, Dr. Varis,  . . . leaves me dumbfounded, shaking my head in disbelief, brings tears to my eyes, opens my heart with gratitude. I am so grateful. Thank you.

The funds paired with the care BeBe is receiving from Dr. Oberthaler complete the blessing. At our first appointment, I thought I was there to learn how to best care for my beloved boy, and keep him pain free as the lymphoma took over and ended his life. Instead, I was given an optimistic view and encouragement. Dr. Oberthaler's generosity of services for him are matched by her generosity of spirit — she saw how sweet he is, even though he growled during the entire exam!

I have hope that we will have a few more years together learning about life and love.

With love,

Ellen Bowkett & BeBe Begonia

P.S. From the book’s intro: BeBe Begonia, Begonia Boy, Sweet Boy, Love Boy, My Boy, Buddy, My Buddy, Buddy Boy, Buddy Biscuit, Biscuit, Biscuit Boy, Bisci - lious, Beeb, Beeb Boy, Beeb-let, Sweet Beeb, Sweet Cheeks, Sweet Heart, Sweet Boy, Sweet Handsome Love Cat, Secret Weapon Love Cat, my boy, my buddy, my heart. I feel like a Muslim reciting the 99 names of Allah in hopes of entering paradise.

My Sweet Love BeBe Begonia Boy, over and over again allows my heart to pour towards him. He doesn’t need to spend the day showing me that he loves me. He has other things to do, like spending hours curled up on the bed, by my pillow. When he awakens, he needs to stretches his front paws far out in front of him, and then his rear legs far out behind him before heading to his food bowl. He leaves a warm, circular imprint in the blanket. Sometimes I touch the spot just to enjoy the warmth he leaves behind. Why does the lingering of his presence touch my heart? I don't walk around all day thinking, "Isn't he cute?" Or say, "Aww, look at that!," because this is not a crush. This is something else. This goes deeper than my brain, and my words are feeble in its presence, leaving me repeating myself, leaving me treading the same short path of endearments over and over, again, not making headway, not getting ahead, not getting to the bottom of the meaning of BeBe, the Tao of BeBe.