Minn. therapy dog faces cancer

9:53 PM, Nov 11, 2009   |    comments
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Ruby's life didn't start out too well. "Ruby was a foster dog for us, she was found in an abandoned house left to die."

At six months old, the Pit Bull was rescued by Patrick Bettendorf of Scandia, MN.  Now, Ruby is quite the charming character.

Ruby is helping others, when they need it most.

"She's a certified therapy dog working with residents twice a week, plus a service dog for me," says Bettendorf. 

She's won numerous awards, such as placing second place in the national Milk-Bone box contest.  Her face will appear on boxes nationwide.  She has also appeared on the internet and television.

"They flew her to Hollywood, she was on the Bonnie Hunt show," says Bettendorf. 

Ruby has become a familiar face of the Pit Bull breed.  But she has a major obstacle to hurdle.  The six-year-old is battling cancer.

"Cancer was deep in her left rear leg, it had tenticles from the cancer.  It started out just a lump," says Bettendorf.

The cancerous tumor was removed in September, but doctors fear the cells could be lingering.

"Today she goes into the University of Minnesota for consultation, (in hopes of) radiating the leg.  You never know if there's a sleeper cell," says Bettendorf.

Dr. Hensen, an Oncologist for animals, gave the good news.

"We don't find any evidence of cancer in her body, which is wonderful news," says Hensen.

Patrick was laid off from work in 2008 and couldn't pay these huge medical bills if he wanted to.  But an annonymous donor from New York reached out and is paying the way.

"If it wasn't for that angel out in New York, we couldn't do it," says Bettendorf. 

"She saw her on the Bonnie Hunt Show, and considered (Ruby) as one of the most important dogs of the breed in the country to change people's minds about Pit Bulls," says Bettendorf.

Ruby must still endure preventative treatment.  She is faced with either radiation or chemotherapy which will cost between $7,000 and $9,000.

(Copyright 2009 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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