We do not know where Peanut came from before she ended up in a cage in one of the large shelters in Philadelphia. She was “timestamped” due to overcrowding and because she was considered unadoptable because of her condition, full of scars and tumors along her mammary chain. She was cowering and hiding in the back of her cage when her foster to be, Kaity, saw her for the first time. They connected immediately, and when Kaity returned the next day to bring her home, Peanut greeted her at the front of the cage, ready to go. Peanut had found her human and Kaity had found her dog. This is how Kaity describes Peanut: “After an initial unsuccessful attempt to keep her separated from my cats Peanut was left free when I wasn’t there and when I would return, she was always at the door, just waking up from her naps with Devon and George, (my two cats at the time.) Peanut was honestly such an amazing being for the three years I had her. She had a beautiful energy to her and pranced all around the house; literally lifting her feet up really high and stomping them down excitedly. I think she was really proud she was part of a family. She was my parent’s dog, Nina’s, very best friend and she got to see her most every week. The two would romp around for hours and then nap together in the sun. Peanut welcomed every foster I brought into the home with complete grace. In her time with us, she opened her home to dozens of cats in need of a place to recuperate and stay for a few weeks or months and even a few dogs too. She was kind and sweet to all of them. She was absolutely one in a million. She was also my first dog to have other than our family dogs we had gotten together when I was younger. I still can’t believe I was so lucky to find sweet Peanut.”
Peanut also found her way to the PennVet Shelter Canine Mammary Tumor program. After her surgery and histopathological examination of her tumors we were cautiously optimistic about her future. Despite having low to intermediate large tumors, her tumor hormone receptor status was positive for estrogen receptors and her serum estrogen level was high and together all of these factors pointed towards a good prognosis. But she was not that lucky. One year after her surgery she was found to have lung metastasis on routine follow-up chest radiographs. Despite this set-back Peanut was asymptomatic and continued to live a full life with her foster mom. Her metastatic lesions progressed very slowly over the following 18 months, and her quality of life was excellent until the last week of her life when she became acutely neurologic and succumbed to her illness.
Her story is an important reminder that breast cancer can be a deadly disease, both in women and dogs. Only through research can we change this. By continuing the work we have started by establishing Lesley’s Place and the efforts of our collaborative team, we pledge to do our part.