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A Big Break for Little Bo

Roger White, Ashley White's father, with Bo
Roger White, Ashley White's father, with Bo. Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine.

One look at Bo, a tiny ball of white fur with two soft dark eyes and a bit of pink tongue peeking out, and it’s easy to understand Ashley White’s devotion to him.

And it’s easy to understand why discovering his serious illness was particularly gut-wrenching.

The 10-year-old Maltese is sweet enough to soften the hardest hearts. He came into White’s home with his vibrant, distinct personality — and a burning desire to lick faces. He was instantly a treasured family member when Ashley got him after graduating high school.

Bo has always been well behaved. When it’s time to go out and play, he is more than ready. If it’s time to stay inside, he’s ready for that, too.

“There are no worries with Bo,” she said. “He even sleeps right beside me.”

Another of gentle Bo’s personality traits is that he’s unfailingly neat and thoroughly housebroken — no muss, no fuss.  So White took notice in December when Bo wasn’t able to control his bladder and had an accident in the house.

“He was so ashamed he hid,” White said. “It was so out of character that I thought there must be something wrong.”

Bo was first treated for a urinary tract infection. When his symptoms didn’t improve, he was diagnosed with bladder stones, but when White took Bo to her primary veterinarian in Raleigh, test results were inconclusive.

Bo was referred to a radiologist for another opinion. That test did not reveal bladder stones, but showed a mass in the bladder that turned cancerous. Bo was referred to the NC State Veterinary Hospital, where he was treated with chemotherapy and radiation for bladder cancer. He is responding well to treatment and doing great at home.

At first the cost was prohibitive for White, a recent nursing school graduate about to begin her first job. That’s when Katherine Sweet, a resident in the hospital’s radiation oncology service, told White about the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo Cancer Treatment Fund. The investment awarded to NC State helps defray the cost of cancer treatments to help pet parents focus on providing the best possible care for their pets rather than the cost of care.

“I don’t know what we would have done without this help,” White said. “I’m very thankful.”

White also praised the compassionate care and thoughtful communication she and Bo have experienced at the hospital. It’s enough to turn this East Carolina University graduate into a Wolfpack fan.

“I was never an NC State fan,” she said with a smile. “But they’re so friendly and kind. They keep me informed, they answer my questions, they always go above and beyond.

“You can tell that this is their calling. This is what they were meant to do. They really care and it shows.”

~Steve Volstad, NC State Veterinary Medicine