When Grant Sheehan first met Molly nine years ago, he knew there was something special about her.
The three-year-old SPCA pup was looking for a new loving home, so he decided to give her one.
Now the Huntaway Whippet cross is about celebrate her 12th birthday and has defied the odds, beating cancer three times and helping Grant through some tough moments too.
Grant says that Molly has always been in the wars, with ear and paw infections and even a bamboo stick piercing her mouth once, requiring surgery.
“But the big news came about two years ago when she stopped eating. We went backwards and forwards with Victory Vets trying to figure out what was wrong with her.”
The vet decided to do an ultrasound and discovered a cancerous tumor on her right kidney, which was three times bigger than the kidney itself.
“They operated on her the day after and she pulled through it. I dragged out a mattress and slept next to her in the lounge while she was recovering with her morphine patch – I think I slept less than her though.”
Molly recovered from her operation with diet changes and ongoing blood tests and ultrasounds, but a year later Grant discovered she had developed anal gland cancer.
“She had another operation which was successful, but the cancer came back a few months later, so she had the same operation again. That time, they offered chemotherapy,” Grant says.
“They seemed quite surprised that I opted to do it, as it’s quite expensive. But I thought, ‘if she can get through this and have a good life, why wouldn’t I?’”
Molly underwent four chemotherapy sessions – one a month for four months, with Grant receiving several donations from work customers and friends to help pay the bill.
“She coped amazingly,” says Grant. “She lost her appetite a bit and I had to make sure she was drinking lots with her one kidney, so I made her broths.”
Molly has now been cancer-free for close to a year.
“She’s happy – a little bit slower, but every day she is still eager to go out in the car or for a walk. She’s a trooper,” Grant says.
Brendan Hickman at Victory Vets says it’s a special feeling to see how far Molly has come.
“We’ve done a truck-load of work with her since we first treated her in 2015, so it’s pretty rewarding to see where she is at now.”
Molly has also helped Grant through some tough times too, including a total of six shoulder and knee surgeries.
“She made me get up in the mornings and was always by my side,” he says.
“She’s a keeper.”