By Oliver Lazenby
Brittany Fraley was drinking one day when her dog Diesel walked up and put his head on her lap. At the time, Fraley didn’t have much support in her struggle with alcoholism, aside from her 6-year-old pit bull terrier.
“He just looked so sad because I wasn’t walking him like I should have been,” she said. “Having him by my side gave me the encouragement to turn my life around. There were times when I felt so alone, but he was always with me.”
She’s been sober for about two years now, and she credits Diesel for helping her through the hardest times.
This week, Fraley got to return the favor and help Diesel through his battle with cancer thanks to The Magic Bullet Fund, a nonprofit that helps raise money for people who can’t afford cancer treatment for their dogs.
Diesel was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer called osteosarcoma this summer, and it broke Fraley’s heart when she realized she couldn’t afford to help him. Fraley had a baby girl, Savannah, six months ago and when she went back to work after giving birth her hours were cut. She moved from Blaine to Edmonds at the beginning of September to stay with her mom and attend Shoreline Community College full-time.
Fraley found The Magic Bullet Fund online and applied, though she figured it was a long shot.
The organization contributed $1,000 and helped raise money to pay for the rest of the roughly $1,500 surgery Diesel needed. They worked quickly, as Diesel’s cancer could spread to his lungs, and on September 12, Diesel got his right rear leg and part of his pelvis amputated, which should relieve his pain and extend his life.
“He’s my best friend and I feel like he’s going to be himself again because he wasn’t able to walk and he loves to walk and hike,” Fraley said.
The Magic Bullet Fund chooses dogs to help whose owners really can’t afford to pay for treatment, founder Laurie Kaplan said.
“We want to make sure we’re using our donors’ funds properly and helping people who really do need our help, not just someone who wants to go to Hawaii rather than pay for their dog’s treatment,” she said.
They also prioritize dogs that can get at least an additional year of life out of treatment. Diesel fit the bill. Diesel’s surgery won’t cure him, but it could give him a few more years of pain-free life. Immediately after the surgery, the vet told Fraley that Diesel was doing well and walking around on his own. He hadn’t been using his leg for a couple of months beforehand, so adjusting to three-legged life will be easy.
“I’m so excited to pick him up and see him happy again and for him to see my daughter because he just loves her so much,” Fraley said.