In Memory Of Joshua Fischer
"The Miracle Dog"
August 9, 1988 - January 22, 2009 


Meet Jake! MSU Veterinary Clinic  l  Oakland Animal Clinic l  Veterinary Vision-Rochester  l About Canine Lymphoma  l 

I Know I'm A
Chick Magnet!

Poems In Memory Of Josh:
They Called Me "Mr. Dog" 

Logan's Testimony


What A Puppy!

Merry Christmas, Josh!

Sunning In Midland, Michigan

Thanksgiving 2007 In
Grand Beach, Michigan

A Miracle Dog?!!

Yes!!!  In May, 2006, Josh was diagnosed with a large thyroma (tumor) that overwhelmed his entire chest cavity. At time of admission, one lung was fully collapsed and the other partially collapsed.. Without surgery, he would have died in a matter of days.

He had successful surgery at Michigan State University. During the surgery hundreds of staples used in surgery to clamp all the blood vessels feeding this massive tumor, which totally surrounded his aorta. Josh fully recovered in a few weeks. In a Fall, 2006 ceremony, Josh was named a "Miracle Dog" at the MSU Veterinary School. So he got an "M.D." from MSU!

Yes, he's a "Miracle Dog."

Way to go, JoshDog!

I''m Too Cute For My
Own Good!

Boy That Was Good
Cat Food
(Go Ahead, Miranda,
Make My Day!)

Josh's New Brother
(My Marriage),



"Mom" (aka Cheryl) With Josh
At River Bends Park
Shelby Twp., Michigan

How To Say
To Your Pet*

Tom Fischer, Josh's "Dad"

Warning: These are NOT recommended by any doctor anywhere! Follow at your own enjoyment of your dog's final days.

1) Hug your dog often.

2) Take them for a walk and ride at least once a day.

3) Spoil them with their favorite snacks. (It's OK to fatten them up when they've only got a short time to live).

4) Take lots of pictures and videos, especially of your pet's everyday habits and quirks. Upload and catalog them daily by folder dates. BE SURE TO BACK THEM UP.

5) Learn to enjoy the moment. There will not be many left. Enjoy them the best you can.

6) Keep abreast of your dog's condition. Lymphoma attacks everything. In our case, the spleen, liver and neck areas were the most visible areas affected. However, what you see on the outside is only a very small representation of the various growths going on all over your pet's insides. This is not intended to scare. It's just essential information to help you manage and watch for symptoms so as to maximize your dog's quality of life.

7) Cry freely. It IS painful.

8) Reflect on the blessings God had given you through your canine partner. Pictures and other keepsakes help with this.

(A friend suggested I get pictures together to make an album. What a blessing that has been!)

9) Don't ever think animal hospice care is emotionally  easy. It's NOT! But it does provide focus time to appreciate the love between you and your pet and make memories that will be forever cherished.

10) Pray to God for strength and the well-being of you and your pet.

11) Get Another Pet--We Did!

Meet "Jake"!

"The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of
the LORD."
Job 1:21 (KJV)

Josh's Brave Encounter With Terminal Canine Lymphoma (What A Trooper!)

On August 26, 2008, Josh went to MSU for his regular every-six-months follow-up check. The doctors found a growth on a small lesion under his belly. Further tests confirmed it was Stage IVa Lymphoma, a late-stage cancer already present in his liver and spleen. Diagnosis: terminal.

The week following, Josh began the University of Madison-Wisconsin protocol for treatment of Lymphoma. With hardly any noticeable side-effects (except heavier breathing, getting tired faster, daily swings in taste preferences/diet, and different elimination habits), Josh lived a pretty much normal "beagle" life. In the eleventh week of the 24-week protocol, Josh went out of remission. 

Getting Josh back into remission would be difficult, Josh began CCNU (Lomustine) treatment. Several weeks later, we found it hadn't worked at all.

The last resort option tried was the MOPP (Mustargen-based) protocol. One week after treatment, it was found to be totally ineffective. After trying a second treatment (hoping for results), it was clear that Josh's time was short. The miracle we had prayed for was not going to happen again.

Josh's final five months went sooo quickly. Josh went everywhere his owners did. We knew he felt well when he perked up his eyes and ears when he heard, "Do you want to go for a ride in the car?" and "Do you want to go for a walk in the woods?" Josh enthusiastically came along with Mom & Dad everywhere we went (even walking to nearby church!). Josh's favorite thing (up to two days before he died) was walking in the woods...sun, snow (record amounts), freezing cold, or shine. 

After a brisk wandering around and sniffing and "marking" everything, Josh would enjoy going to the drive-thru afterwards for an ice cream cone. Tom (a.k.a. "Dad") would eat the top ice cream and then pack the ice cream tightly into the cone with his tongue. Josh would enjoy licking the cone completely clean while Dad held it for him. Then Josh would eat the top half of the cone. Finally, he would take the bottom half of the cone from Dad's hand and put it entirely in his mouth.

(Note: Be careful! Too much ice cream can cause diarrhea in dogs [Opposite of humans!] But its not as bad as eating dry cat food. Thank God Josh had a STRONG stomach and colon. Like any spoiled dog, Josh easily adapted to people food and snacks, and overcome his "normal" instincts for dog food. His favorite things (beside ice cream)? Anything humans ate (except McDonald's Chicken Nuggets and French Fries).

Would we have done the Lymphoma treatments again? Absolutely. In a heart-beat.  Josh's reaction to the chemotherapy was hardly noticeable. Since they don't need the extensive cure required in humans, dogs do not lose their hair, etc. As for remission, be aware that once a dog is out of remission, getting back into remission is hard...and won't last nearly as long as the first remission.

As in any hospice protocol, pain management with steroids can be remarkably effective. Don't be afraid in the final week or two to kick up the dosages (as necessary) to maintain comfort. At the same time, recognize that when your pet's quality of life greatly declines (no more appetite, obvious pain, inability to gather strength to walk, etc.), it's time to say goodbye. In our case, we also wanted to be sure that Josh's cancer wouldn't turn into something traumatic for all of us. Just take it "one day at a time," cry the tears you need, and cherish and thank God for the remaining time you have...and the blessing He has given.

We offer a special thanks to the Doctors and staff (including Sally, the always-friendly and helpful receptionist) at Michigan State University's Small Animal Clinic's Oncology Center. Thanks especially Drs. Erfourth and Dr. Kim. A very special salute to Oakland Animal Clinic's doctors--including Josh's main physicians Dr. Monica (who administered the UW-Madison chemo and final medical care) and Dr. Duncan (whose kindness, expertise and phone calls to us were certainly beyond the call of duty), and to so many other caring staff people at Oakland Animal Clinic who also assisted Josh's regular "celebrity" visits. (According to Bob, Josh was a "chick magnet").

A very special thanks to Dr.  Wm. Ebinger, Veterinary Vision of Rochester, whose compassionate support and professional intervention in Josh's final weeks. WOW!!! What a remarkable veterinarian. He  provided expert diagnosis and treatment for the swelling of Josh's third eye lid which, because of the lymphoma, had totally covered Josh's eyes and obscured his vision. Dr. Ebinger's intervention enabled Josh to maintain the best quality of life possible--walking, eating, and seeing Mom and Dad--in his final two weeks of life. It meant so much to be able to look at Josh and know he could look at us, too, and see how we cared and were watching for him. (BTW, lymphoma often presents itself as swelling of the eyes).

God Bless You, Josh!
We Love You And
Will NEVER Forget You!
(Nor Will We Forget All Who Helped Josh's Hospice Experience)

Dad & Mom (a.k.a. Pr. Tom & Cheryl), Michelle & Bob (Sister and Step-Brother by Marriage), Grandma & Grandpa (a.k.a. Dick & Carolyn) , Sally (The Dog), The Guinea Pigs, and Miranda (the stupid cat whose food Josh always ate).

A Special Thanks To All Who Supported And Prayed For Us And Josh: tor Pastor Tom's Friends at Gethsemane Lutheran, Rochester Hills, Michigan;  Supervisors and Workers at the Oakland County Department of Human Services, Pontiac, Michigan; and Countless Others.

Josh's Last Christmas 12/25/08
With The Santa Claus At PetSmart


Questions? Contact Tom At