Westminster Dog Succumbs to Cancer Days Before Show
"She was the first baby to toss her little bitty head back and howl because she wanted something," Vickie Saez tells PEOPLEPets.com. "She was so wicked from the very, very beginning."
Many pounds smaller than her big brothers Ceasar and Brando, Holly still bossed them around, and "they did not dare challenge her." The Saezes are driving north from Miami to New York to show Ceasar and Brando at Westminster, but they travel with heavy hearts. Their champion and last year's Best of Breed winner Holly, who had been battling lymphoma for the past eight months and whom they anticipated showing along with her brothers, died on Monday.
Holly was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma, and the Saezes didn't expect her to make it longer than a few weeks. The illness was an educational opportunity for the family, who worked with veterinary oncologist David Lurie to provide Holly with a robust mix of treatment – radiation, chemotherapy, cocktail mixes of drugs.
In total, they spent upwards of $15,000, but it was never a question of money. "For my husband and I, the idea of losing the last girl in the litter, she was just a really special little girl – there was no way we could look at her and say, 'There are treatments available, but you're not worth the money,' " Saez says.
The Saezes plan to use the Westminster stage to speak about lymphoma, their Pawstrong Canine Cancer Foundation, as well as the variety of treatments that are available to pet owners. They will be supported and comforted by their friends in the dog show world, many of whom will be sporting pink and black ribbons in Holly's honor.
Leave your condolences for Holly's family below.