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Laila - Cancer Free Thanks to Frankie's Friends

My dog, Laila, was suddenly diagnosed with lymphoma at only 4-and-a-half years of age. She is a Hungarian Vizsla and she is like my child. I love her more than anything. I could not afford chemotherapy by myself. The financial assistance I received from Frankie's Friends saved her life! After 6 months of chemotherapy, she is now cancer free! Thank you Frankie's Friends. -Mark

Laila 2012Laila - Christmas 2012 and Easter 2013 139

Gusto Gets Special Gift of Life From Frankie's Friends

Dear Frankie's Friends, There really aren't words enough to thank you for giving our baby Gusto a second chance at life.  He is being treated by the greatest group of people at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa. Special thanks to our Oncologist Dr. Kane for his professionalism and to our family clinician Dr. Trakas from Country Chase Veterinary in Tampa who recommended the good people at BluePearl.  When we found out that Frankie's Friends could help, we were literally in tears.  If it wasn't for your caring outreach and dedication to helping those  in need, we would have had to of foregone the chemotherapy that Gusto needed for his lymphoma.

Now, however, with your special gift of life to Gusto, he is doing extremely well in his therapy, and the prognosis is looking excellent.  We can't thank you enough for your help.  We will forever be indebted to Frankie's Friends for all that you've done and will continue to do through the remainder of his treatment.
God bless you all.
Best Regards and Special Thanks,
Suzy and Chris

Hemingway has Successful Procedure Thanks to Zeus Varis Fund

There are not enough words my fiance and I could use to adequately thank you for the assistance you gave us when we found out our 7-year-old cat, Hemingway, was diagnosed with high grade hemangiosarcoma in his rear left leg.  Thanks to your support, Hemingway had a successful amputation and is now undergoing chemotherapy with a bright future ahead of him.

Hemingway is such a special part of our family.  I adopted him in Saranac Lake, NY when it became clear to me that my dog -- Patrick, who I also adopted after he was rescued from two separate abusive homes -- needed a constant but calm companion.

The shelter was having trouble getting a kitten named Squiggles adopted because he had extra toes and a crooked tail.  He and I fell in love right away, I renamed him Hemingway for his extra toes, and he was happily accepted and raised by the dog.  As a result, Hemingway is very friendly and brave; he loves when we have visitors as much as he loves a good snuggle on a quiet night at home.  He even plays fetch better than Patrick does!

As a teacher who has been forced to work part-time, who is engaged to a self-employed artist and entrepreneur, your support and sponsorship in Hemingway's time of need was very much needed.  Without the help from your foundation, I don't think Hemingway would be alive today.  We are so very grateful to you and we -- our whole family, human and animal alike -- send you our deepest thanks.

Fondest regards,


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

Bear: Doberman Cuddles & Love

Words can really not express how thankful we are that our Bear was chosen to receive funding for his cancer treatments. Bear means the world to us, and you gave him the opportunity to become healthy. You also gave us hope. You are very much someone we think of daily and we are so grateful to cross life paths with you. Your generosity has truly inspired us to become involved in foster care of both dogs and cats, and to strive to give. We hope to someday be able to provide funding for a pet in need like you have done for our family. Bear has been through two surgeries recently and has recovered remarkably well from both. Our biggest issue was trying to have him not run around. He is finishing radiation today and still enjoys coming in for treatment each day. He has been having some really happy days lately! We get him out of bed in the morning by saying, “Want to go to see Dr. Lachowicz, Alba, and Darlene!" He jumps right out of (our) bed with his ears sticking straight up and heads to the door. We are very grateful to NYC Veterinary Specialists who have “spoiled” our Bear. We joke that we are leaving him at daycare each time we drop him off.

Everyone (really everyone) at NYCVS has been amazing and Bear has been given wonderful care. Bear is a gentle soul, who is happy just to be loved. We raised Bear from day one, when our other Dobie, Chyna, gave birth to a litter. He was a round pup that loved to cuddle so it is easy to see how we fell in love with him. Bear has done wonders for the Doberman breed. He is kind and gentle, and very friendly. His amazing demeanor and warmth has helped others become more interested in the Doberman. He has helped people who are not Dobie owners see what we see; that they are the best “cuddlers”, are sweet, smart, and very sensitive to our moods. Bear and Chyna are our “kids”, and we both credit them with getting us through some very difficult times. They saved us, and your kindness helped our family immensely.

I have enclosed some pictures of Bear for you to enjoy. He is quite a sweet boy and we believe these will bring you enjoyment. We will keep you updated on Bear’s continued progress! Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.

Warmest regards,

Amy and Joseph Bear & Chyna


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.



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

Kerry: Can't Keep a Good Pekingese Down

On behalf my family and our little Pekingese, Kerry, 11.5 years old, we would like to thank you for the generous help you gave us for his cancer surgery and treatment.  It certainly made our Christmas a bright one.  I was in rehabilitation for a spinal cord problem for five months. When I finally came home, my beloved Golden Retriever, Shannon and Kerry's best friend, was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately there was nothing that could be done and she had to be put to sleep. Of course this broke my heart, I could not face losing Kerry too. Kerry was diagnosed with melanoma on her jaw, by Dr. Lewis Gelfand who did the initial operation, biopsied the growth and referred us to Dr. Joshua Lachowicz at NYC Veterinary Specialists. Kerry's prognosis was not good unless a second operation was preformed along with chemotherapy.

We will always be grateful to you, the Zeus Varis Fund,  NYC Veterinary Specialists, Dr.  Joshua Lachowicz, Dr. Mark Levy and Vivian Llodra for all of the care and assistance that was given to us.

It is three weeks since Kerry's surgery and treatment started. She has become a more active dog, playing with our two grandchildren and her new best friend Ginger our newly adopted golden retriever. Once again, thank you so much for giving us more time with Kerry.

God Bless You.

Forever Grateful, ~~~

Dolores & Kerry

Grey: A New Leash on Life

I want to say how utterly thankful we are to have Grey still with us.  After losing Harry in August,  my friend of nearly 14 years, to hemangiosarcoma, learning of Grey's lymphoma was devastating. Grey is doing wonderfully, despite his new hair style, fortunately, he's not too vain.  When I found him wandering lost in a National Forest in California nine years ago, he was an energetic and playful ball of fur.  Harry was in the car with me and patiently waited for two hours while I tried to catch Grey.  As soon as we brought Grey home from the vet, Harry welcomed him.  With my help, that was the first time Harry saved Grey.

Then, a few years later, we were evacuated during a California wildfire and took refuge at a friend's home.  I let the dogs out to use the yard and started making their dinner, when Harry came pounding on the glass window in a panic I had never seen before (or since).  I looked out to see Grey swimming poorly in a ash-covered swimming pool and rushed out to rescue him.  That was the second time Harry saved Grey.

Then, this past year, Harry became ill.  After learning it was cancer and not having insurance, we quickly tried to enroll our other pets.  It was then, after Grey's exam, that the doctor discovered his swollen lymph nodes.  If Harry hadn't gotten sick, at the rate Grey's lymph nodes were swelling, he might not have lived.  That was the last time Harry saved Grey and it cost him his life.

Four months later and Grey is a new dog.  He's learned to play again thanks to Katie's exuberance. He's even happy to go to the vet for his treatments -- he loves everyone there.  He is now in full remission and we're thankful for every healthy day we have left with him.  And, now he has a little sister to look out for him.

You can see him and Katie playing at

Thanks again.  We're all wearing the Frankie's Friends blue bracelets. Grey has his twisted onto his collar.

With humble gratitude,

Scott & Will

Venus: Out of This World With Happiness

Although I may never have the pleasure of meeting you, I will forever remember your kindness. You and your organization brought hope to what seemed to be a bleak future for Venus and me. Not being able to help my loved one is a shame and a guilt that you have spared me from. With your generous help, I now feel that I did everything in my power to help her and the rest I can only hope for. Today, although she is missing her front leg, she still retains her precious smile. Words on paper will never be able to express my love for her nor how thankful I am to you. Venus is my life and you've helped better it.

Thank you for helping her fight and thank you for giving me hope. Thank you for making all of this possible. Forever Grateful,

Max & Venus

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.

Kaiser: Continues to Have a Howling Good Time

Thank you for the generous donation for Kaiser’s chemotherapy treatment. Kaiser was diagnosed with T-Cell lymphoma and was only given two to four more months to live. I was pretty devastated when I found out how much chemotherapy would cost. This gift has given Kaiser a chance at a couple of more months of quality of life that he wouldn’t be able to have without chemotherapy. Kaiser has been a part of my life since he was six-months-old. He is my first dog, and he has helped me grow throughout the years. He has taught me responsibility and how to appreciate the simple things in life. He always knew when to distract me with his goofiness to take a break from writing a stressful paper or when he thought I was studying too hard. Kaiser has also taught me patience because he chooses to listen only to me because he has “Siberian husky selective hearing.”

Because of your donation, Kaiser will continue to be his mischievous self at the dog park for many months to come. He will continue to “talk” and argue with me when he doesn’t agree. He will continue to teach his baby sister Kira the rules of the house because she has much to learn. He will enjoy another winter of snow; and his favorite, he will enjoy many more nights of sitting outside on the steps with me, just sniffing the air and enjoying life.

We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and none of it would be possible without your gift to us. Kaiser and I are unbelievably grateful. Again, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Happy Holidays!


Mary & Kaiser

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