Thousands raised for pup with cancer

Owners launched online fundraiser for Irish wolfhound

Barb Sweet
Published on November 15, 2013
Maria Maloney is shown with her 10-month-old Irish wolfhound, Mountain, outside her St. John’s home on Thursday afternoon. When they found out their dog has cancer, Maloney and her fiancé, Nick Day, set up an online fundraiser to help pay for treatment. They are overjoyed that donors from around the world have reached out to help. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

A couple devastated to learn their 10-month-old Irish wolfhound has cancer is overwhelmed that donors from around the world have reached out to help send the pup to Guelph, Ont., for treatment.

When Maria Maloney and her fiancé Nick Day learned that Mountain had cancer at nine months old, they were devastated. Mountain had a poor prognosis and they were unable to afford pricey treatment out of province.

On a whim, they decided to try an online fundraiser, which begins with the following description of the 130-pound dog they adopted at eight weeks of age:

“Mountain is a 10-month-old Irish wolfhound, a best friend and a brother to a cat.

“He likes sitting on humans, swinging his paws and running in circles around the tree in our yard. … He’s a member of our family and we want to do everything we possibly can to give him a fighting chance at battling this vicious disease.”

“Within 36 hours we had $3,000 in our PayPal account,” Maloney said.

“Five days later we have nearly $6,000.”

The couple expected to leave today to drive Mountain to the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, which has an oncologist.

According to the Irish Wolfhound Club of Canada website, the dogs are known for their patience and kindness. Maloney, who never had a dog before, said the breed was the couple’s dream dog and they even rented a home with a big backyard for Mountain.

But then at nine months, the Irish wolfhound had a biopsy at a local veterinarian’s  clinic that confirmed the cancer.

When the tumour was discovered close to his spine — where the dog received intravenous antibiotics for pneumonia 2 1/2 months previously — the couple also learned his lungs hadn’t cleared up and they were worried the cancer had spread.

However, when they recently took him to the vet clinic after his stomach bloated, they were told his lungs were clear.

That’s when Maloney, who hopes the cancer has not spread, saw a window of opportunity to hopefully save Mountain and launched the fundraiser.

Maloney is thankful they bought pet insurance soon after they adopted Mountain.

While they were told cancer treatment could cost upwards of $20,000, the insurance will cover 80 per cent — meaning they are left with several thousand dollars to come up with.

“I was going to find a way. I’d sell a kidney to get him the help he deserves,” Maloney said in her living room, as Mountain dozed nearby — tired out from having his picture taken.

He can play for about a half-hour before resting — he is also on pain medication — and had been at the dog park just before the visit from The Telegram.

Maloney said she’s amazed at people’s generosity, including a business that held a bake sale and an airline employee who offered a buddy pass that her fiancé will use to fly back to St. John’s to return to work.

About 400 people shared the pup’s plight on Facebook and there are more than 200 supporters on the fundraising site.

“I’m afraid I can’t give you very much, but Mountain brings me a big smile on Instagram ... so this is from me,” said one donor who chipped in $5.

Maloney will be updating Mountain’s progress on the Facebook group site “Up & Over — The Story of Mountain.”