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Phoenix, the guest of honor, keeps an eye on his peanut butter cake at his anniversary "pawty." Courtesy photo
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Humane Society medical team celebrates cancer-free dog with anniversary ‘pawty’

SAN DIEGO – San Diego Humane Society’s medical team celebrated the one-year cancer-free anniversary of a dog named Phoenix at the Pilar & Chuck Bahde Center for Shelter Medicine today. The “Pawty” for Phoenix included a peanut butter cake, hats, cheers and, of course, lots of hugs and kisses for the star patient!

The 4-year-old Saint Bernard/shepherd mix is near and dear to the hearts of many staff at San Diego Humane Society. Phoenix arrived Nov. 5, 2020 as a stray. The sweet dog was malnourished, flea infested and had missing fur. The veterinary team at San Diego Humane Society diagnosed Phoenix with TVT (Transmissible Venereal Tumor), a malignant cancerous tumor.

While the condition is serious when left untreated, veterinarians determined Phoenix’s prognosis would be good with Vincristine chemotherapy. By January 2021, Phoenix had received 13 treatments. Most of his masses had decreased in size, but two remained. The team decided to look for an alternative while continuing Phoenix’s treatments and turned to an oncologist for consultation.

The medical team celebrates Phoenix’s arrival at his anniversary party. Courtesy photo

Dr. Colleen Tansey from VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital graciously offered to provide electrochemotherapy for Phoenix. She made the commute twice to San Diego on her days off to provide this valuable treatment at no additional cost to San Diego Humane Society.

“Sometimes it truly takes a village to help the animals and that’s exactly what happened in Phoenix’s case,” said Danielle Clem, DVM, hospital director at San Diego Humane Society’s San Diego Campus. “Not only did we have an expert come from Los Angeles to help us, we had an incredible foster family who made sure Phoenix was comfortable in between treatments and the entire medical team at San Diego Humane Society involved in his care.”

Phoenix was adopted by San Diego Humane Society Veterinary Assistant Colette Troughton. “Phoenix is a big dog with an even bigger personality,” said Troughton. “He inspires me to see the good in everyone and I feel so lucky to get to spend my days with him. I am forever grateful for all the caretakers that showered him with love and made his recovery possible.”

About San Diego Humane Society
San Diego Humane Society’s scope of social responsibility goes beyond adopting animals. We offer programs that strengthen the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty and neglect, provide medical care, educate the community and serve as a safety net for all pet families. Serving San Diego County since 1880, San Diego Humane Society has campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside, Ramona and San Diego. For more information, please visit