People moved by dog's plight open their wallets to contribute

March 16, 1996|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,SUN STAFF

Donations poured in yesterday to help fund life-saving cancer treatments for Barney, the Baltimore County Fire Department search dog.

One woman put a $600 donation on her credit card, said Yara Joeckel, a receptionist at the Falls Road Animal Hospital. "It's been out of control," she said.

By late yesterday afternoon, the hospital had received more than 200 phone calls, and about a dozen people had left donations of $10 to $50.

The Fire Department made a public appeal Thursday to get help for Barney, a 6-year-old golden retriever recently diagnosed with lymphosarcoma.

Barney who has been in at least 100 searches in seven states and has located 40 people, living and dead could live more than three years, if he responds as expected to chemotherapy, Dr. Keith Gold, one of the veterinarians treating the dog, said yesterday.

Barney can continue to work during treatment "and even if he helps to save one life in the next three years it will more than pay back what the chemotherapy cost," Dr. Gold said. "He has served us for six years; he deserves something back."

Dr. Gold estimated that the medication could cost from $2,000 to $3,000 over the next three years. The hospital is donating its services, and Maryland Medical Laboratory is performing tests at half-price, he said.

"Lymphosarcoma is one of the most common cancers in dogs and it is treatable," said Dr. Gold, whose longest survivor was a black Labrador retriever that lived 3 1/2 years after diagnosis with lymphosarcoma.

"We want Barney to beat that," Dr. Gold said. "His prognosis is good, at least for short-term survival."

Barney received his first chemotherapy treatment Monday. "The lymph glands have already gone down," the veterinarian said.

Barney, who will be 7 in July, is young to have cancer but such cases are not rare, Dr. Gold said. He speculated on the dog's exposure to smoke and chemicals at fire scenes and chemicals around the Eastview Fire Station in Dundalk as a possible cause.

Meanwhile, the donations keep coming to the Falls Road Animal Hospital, whose veterinarians have cared for Barney and Mattie, the department's other search dog, since they joined the department in 1989.

The Fire Department said the money will be placed in a bank account for Barney.

Donations may be made to the Barney Fund, Falls Road Animal Hospital, 6314 Falls Road, Baltimore 21209.

Pub Date: 3/16/96

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