The Amazing Arlo

Arlo in the medical building at the kennel
We at Leave No Paws Behind essentially rescued Arlo sight unseen on 3/23/18. I had come to the shelter the day before to meet him, but he was taken to the shelter's vet off site to have a tumor looked at. We placed a CTA (commitment to adopt) on him that night, and came back the next morning. This was how we first met Arlo. In a kennel at the shelter's infirmary, with a massive tumor on his neck that was dripping blood, and a baseball sized knot on his right front leg. We could smell him before we could see him.

Outside the shelter, notice the favoring of the right leg, and the MASSIVE tumor on his neck

Look at that face. He was already showing us he was special

Cathi and I slowly walked him out of the shelter, and it was apparent from that first step that he was in pain. It was also very apparent that he was a sweet and loving dog, and that he wasn't ready to give up. He struggled to walk, with a very severe limp, but his tail was wagging, and it looked like he had a smile on his face. And in typical, loving dog fashion, it was almost like Arlo was more concerned about Cathi and I than he was himself.

Arlo is in the car and ready for his freedom ride

Arlo is a BIG dog. He is a rescue, so we will never know for sure what he is, but our best guess is he is a Golden Retriever/Great Dane mix. He has very long legs, and the head shape and ears from a dane, with the coloring and coat of a golden. Cathi and I both had to hoist him up into the car, but he was ready to go, trying to jump up there all by himself.

The tumor that was removed from Arlo's neck was 7 pounds!
We whisked Arlo off to our vets at The Pet Doctors of Sherman Oaks where they ran tests and blood work, and our worst nightmares were confirmed. Arlo had cancer. The tumor in his leg was osteosarcoma, an extremely painful and aggressive bone cancer. The very next morning our vet went to work removing the tumor on his neck while we awaited some more test results and developed a plan for Arlo. That tumor was oozing, had a massive infection, smelled up the whole vets office, and weighed 7 pounds! One positive that came from those test results was the cancer had not metastasized in his lungs and chest yet.

Two days after Arlo's surgery to remove the neck tumor (which was also cancerous, but our vet was confident that she removed all of it) we went to visit with Arlo and see how he was recovering. We took him for a slow walk, and we wanted to get to know him a little better. We still were trying to decide what was best for Arlo. Was this going to be a pain management situation, where we just tried to keep him feeling okay while we waited for the cancer to take over? Was it too little too late, with the humane thing being to euthanize? If we amputated his leg, would he have any quality of life? Could he walk, could we rehabilitate him? Or would his remaining time be spent laying on a bed, not able to get up.

Arlo knows sit. And look how tall he is!

Arlo showing us he knows down

What we learned on that walk was that Arlo wasn't ready. Without the tumor on his neck, he already looked better. He felt better. He was happy to be with us. And he is smart. Arlo is house trained, and he knows a lot of commands. He walks well on leash, knows sit, down, heels on the left side, and positions himself on the left if we got turned around. Arlo was walking very slow, with a severe limp and unwillingness to put any weight down on his right foot. That leg was causing him a lot of pain, but he didn't want to be anywhere else in the world.

We spent a couple of stressful days discussing all the different approaches to Arlo's care. A couple of things to note, we were concerned about amputation because it was a front leg on a very large, senior dog. The front legs bear more weight and help stabilize more than the rear legs. Had this been Arlo's rear leg, or if he was a smaller dog, the decision may have been easier to amputate, but there were a lot of concerns with his size.

One of our vets had a brilliant idea. "What if we tape up Arlo's leg and see if he can even stand up?" We all agreed that if Arlo could at least stand up, if he had the will to try, we owed it to him to give him a chance.

Well, let's just say that Arlo let it be known he wasn't ready yet. Not only did he stand right up, he even moved across the slippery tile floor on 3 legs faster than he was moving on 4! Decision made!

Arlo had his leg amputated on 4/5. He pulled through the surgery with flying colors. I went out to see him the next morning, and as soon as I opened his kennel door, he tried to stand up. We made sure he didn't, but we sat with him awhile and rubbed his head. He was smiling more than ever.

The following Monday, I went back to visit him, and got the vet's okay to try and take him for a walk. When he saw me, he stood right up. The vet tech said, "Be careful, Arlo likes to move fast now!" Well, that was very encouraging. Taking him for that first walk, it was easy to see. Arlo may be sore from the massive surgery he just had, but he wasn't in pain anymore. There is a distinct difference, and it showed. And yes, that first walk, he wanted to show me he could run! :)

Arlo just 3 days after surgery

So where are we now? Well, Arlo is still healing and recovering from 2 big surgeries. Hopefully his stitches from his shoulder will come out next week, fingers crossed. He is getting stronger and more stable every day. He has already learned to squat to use the restroom, and he gets up from a down with no trouble. Arlo has cancer, we know that. Osteosarcoma is in his body. We removed what was causing him a great deal of pain, but we don't believe he is cancer free. We are looking for a hospice foster for Arlo, someone that lives in the Los Angeles area, as he will need to be close to our vet. He is an amazing dog, and we want whatever time he has left to be loved, comfortable, and fun. I have no doubt that he will be begging his foster to take him for walks (not too far, but he likes being out), and maybe even toss a ball around for him. This boy is pain free for the first time in a long time. Oh, and did you want to see him go for a walk? He's a lot faster than he used to be.

Arlo is an amazing a dog. He is happy, loves life, and has a lot of love to give. We are looking for a hospice foster that will pamper him and love him, and we fully expect he will give that right back and more. If you are in the Southern California area and interested in fostering Arlo (or any of our other rescues) please email We will cover all of Arlo's ongoing medical costs at our vets office.

And as always, thank you to all our followers and donors. You make the rescue of these incredible animals possible. If you would like to help us continue to help them, please donate at Arlo says thanks!