Titus, a four-year-old Golden Retriever mix, has lived a very full life that started out in a less than desirable situation. Titus was a stray dog on the streets of Miami, FL in early 2014. When he was found and picked up by animal control services, the initial report stated he might have been injured or sick because he was so incredibly calm and compliant. Thankfully, after being checked out by a veterinarian, they found he was in perfect health! A couple of days later he met his future family and found his forever home. He was adopted January 14th, 2014.
As soon as he left the shelter, Titus went from overly calm to incredibly energetic and showed a loving excitement for his new family. He loved them so much that he made sure all other dogs knew that this family was his with his commanding “alpha” presence. For his seemingly new regal and kingly persona, he was named after the ancient roman emperor. To this day, Titus exhibits those same qualities, and is affectionately known as “The Emperor.”
A year after finding his forever home, the would-be emperor decided to conquer a new land: The Pacific Northwest. In actuality, one of his humans got accepted into the University of Washington for graduate school. He traveled across the country with his family and made sure to make his mark in each state they traveled in. Along the way, he met new friends of both the human and canine variety.
Once they reached Seattle, WA, Titus set forth in making his presence known. Most notably, he did not want to be left out of gaining a higher education, so he started to attend class with his human. He quickly rose to the top of the class and was deemed the favorite student by professors and classmates alike. He attended class so much that he would be marked absent for days when he couldn’t attend. His human was jokingly reprimanded for not bringing him to class. He was so beloved that he was even allowed to attend graduation. He wasn’t allowed to walk during the official ceremony, but he did get his moment of glory, cap and all. All was looking well for Titus and his small family until just a few short months after graduation when they received heartbreaking news.
In January of 2017, one of his humans noticed some lumps on his neck. They went to their veterinarian and discovered that the lumps were cancerous. It was determined that he had lymphoma and without treatment, Titus would only live another month or so. Sorrow swept through his family, but Titus made sure to comfort them, never leaving their side until he saw they were feeling better. After the initial shock wore off, his humans set forth to discover a way to fight Titus’s diagnosis.
Titus was taken to the Animal Medical Center of Seattle a few weeks later and started on chemotherapy treatments with promising results. Titus handled each visit with such poise and composure that made his humans proud – he wouldn’t budge until he was given a handful of treats and pets from family and the AMCS oncology department alike. As the weeks and treatments passed, it was very clear how much everyone at AMCS loved Titus and how much he loved them. He would never show it when first walking into greet them (if you can’t tell, Titus likes to play hard to get). His humans quickly realized how popular he was with everyone when AMCS staff that they had never even met greeted him with so much love and affection.
The only thing that compared to the excitement of the love he was receiving was the excitement of how well he was reacting to the chemotherapy! The first few days after each treatment was always the worst for poor Titus. He wouldn’t eat as much and would sleep a lot more. But after a few days that four-year-old mutt started acting more and more like the puppy he was when he was first adopted. After that same young puppy energy returned, The Emperor and his humans would get outside and explore the great outdoors together!
During his chemotherapy, Titus received a tremendous amount of love and support from his former UW classmates. At least once a week, (usually once a day) they would check on Titus and asked if they could help in any way. Despite his humans politely declining their aid, they still made sure to send treats for Titus. How he didn’t weigh a metric-ton by the end of his treatments the world will never know.
Eventually, Titus completed his sixteen chemo treatments to everyone’s delight! After completing his very last treatment, the AMCS staff whom he’d grown attached to, decided to dress him up. He received a “cancer survivor” bandana that he wears daily now. In addition to that, he was brought out in a superhero cape! He walked out with such esteem that the room was electric. Congratulations and thank yous were exchanged, and Titus could clearly sense the positive energy in the room. After saying his goodbyes to the AMCS staff he had gone through so much with, he strode off into the sunset blessed with a new lease on life. He and his family will be returning home to Florida where their incredible journey together started and where new adventures await.