Jun 152014

Phoenix Golden Retriever

In this contest we will be giving away a total of $600!
Three winners will each win $100, and we will be giving $300 to charity in the winners’ names!

My blogger friends often put up their Thankful posts (of which I love, but can’t always keep up with). This is our Thankful post… forever…

For any of you that didn’t read Phoenix’s post, here is what happened from my perspective with my Golden Retriever and soul mate…

Three months ago I stood next to Doctor (name withheld, and from Australia I think… wicked cool accent) at 2 a.m. in the Emergency Vet lobby. Phoenix was essentially dying from the loss of blood and a cancer (yet undiagnosed) that had exploded inside of him. My last contact I had with Phoenix was him putting his right paw on my left knee like he always does and said, “Daddy, this is not good. I’m good with whatever you decide. Just trust me…I got this. Otherwise, please let me kiss you one last time.”

I pulled back because he had never looked at me like that in 10 years. Ever. The emergency nurse came in and interrupted us. Phoenix looked at me as she lassoed a leash around him and expedited to him the emergency table. He stumbled through the door with a long glance my way, “Wait for me…”

She came back in and said the Doctor would see me in the waiting room soon. My head was spinning. Did Phoenix and I just say good bye? He told me to wait.

He came in 30 minutes later, “Hi Mr Vogler. I have him under (anesthesia) and he’s not good, mate.”
Typical me, “How are you tonight Doctor?”
Doctor, baffled, “Uhhh, I’m good.”
Me, “Great, then fix him.”
Doctor, “This is going to be very expensive. I have his belly opened up. That tumor let loose on his body, mate. I am sorry.”
Me, “We didn’t say goodbye. He put his paw on my knee and gave me a look.”

I’m a huge advocate of not keeping souls on this Earth who are ready to ascend. Had it not been for those 5 seconds where Phoenix put his paw on my knee, he would not be here today.

Doctor, “You can do that now.”
Me, just flooded with tears, “No, he was telling me to never give up. He never gave up on me Doc. So, fix him.”
Doctor, “But, he…”
Me, “Fix him now!!” I was not of sound mind.

Doctor, “It’s going to be expensive long term and the prognosis is not good from what I see…”
Me, “Please fix Phoenix…he is all I have.”
Doctor, “I can’t fix him. He will need specialists. I can only flush out the wound. Let me explain this to you. That tumor that was inside him exploded and it is now causing him 100 bee stings at once continuously. It’s causing him extreme pain. His outcome is doubtful.”

He knew it was cancer but couldn’t tell me without a proper blood test.

I only thought of Phoenix putting his paw on my knee, “Fix him!” I felt only rage.
Doctor, feeling he was not connecting with me, “You will need an estimate.”
Me, trying to speak nicely to the man that had my kid in his hands literally,“I don’t want one…” I handed my debit card to the front desk girl.
Doctor, “I will call you when I have information… no promises…”

So, I left the office and drove around the cities of Reno and Sparks. I don’t even remember. I was sober as a heck. I just don’t remember it. I blacked out.
What I didn’t black out to was 5:51 a.m. and the Doctor calling me, “You can come get Phoenix but he will have to go immediately to Kings Row.” Our vet.
I vaguely remember paying the bill… all I wanted to do was see Phoenix. He came stumbling out of the surgery room and my sweet boy sat and put his paw on my knee and said to me, his eyes oscillating in their sockets with heavy medication, “Good choice (in not putting him to sleep forever). I’m so happy to see you, Daddy…”

I LOST IT crying as I embraced him with every gentle love I had. He kissed me furiously on my neck, face and lips…

Phoenix, “Btw Daddy…I hurt…” Tears were streaming down his face too and he buried his face, nuzzling up against my neck and shoulder. The cone was off.
Me, whispering in his ear, “I can’t do this (life) without you…”
He pulled back and looked me squarely in the eye, “Then my work is not done. Let’s get me fixed up.”

Things got worse before they got better, but 3 months later my kid is now a miracle dog. Five surgeons have no explanation except of his will to survive and to be with me. No chemotherapy given…which had already been purchased for him. Only a loyalty they’ve never seen to be with the one he loves.

Phoenix is cancer free.


He will go in for frequent checkups but this event changed his and my life forever. He is constantly at my side and never lets me out of his sight. He has more energy and excitement than ever before. There is a calmness and understanding in his eyes. His work has only begun with me.

Phoenix and I are together on this Father’s Day, and to celebrate this celestial event, we’re having a contest!!!

* * * CONTEST! * * *

3 winners – $100 each!

AND we will be donating $300 in the winners’ names to Michigan State University (who, from 2000 miles away, delivered Phoenix’s perfect health!).

How to Enter:

  1. Leave a comment below. That’s it! Just leave a comment, and you’ve been entered!
  2. For an additional chance to win, post about our contest on your blog (if you have one), and make sure to let us know!

How the Winners will be determined:

Phoenix will compile all of the entries and then randomly select three winners. Remember, if you have a blog and post about the contest, you will get a second chance to win.

When is the Drawing?

Tuesday, July 1st (in two weeks).

That’s it. Good luck!

We will be matching the prize money as a donation to Michigan State University!

We will be matching the prize money as a donation to Michigan State University!

Check out these blogs that have also entered the contest:

Retire for the Fun of it

Emotional Shadows

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 40+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories, commentary, and (of course) my greatest love... my Golden Retriever, Phoenix.

  75 Responses to “CANCER-FREE CONTEST! Win $100…”

  1. I love you, Phoenix! You are strong and amazing.
    Mike, you are an intuitive soul and you are meant to be with Phoenix. There are no two ways about it.
    He gave you that look..
    ..but you saw that look and raised it.
    Not many people would do that.
    (I would)

  2. I just love that Phoenix is cancer free, and that his strength of will, and yours, and your love for each other is what kept the two of you going. There’s a reason you guys found each other, and there’s a reason he’s still here.

    Happy Father’s Day, Mike, and may Phoenix be around to celebrate many, many more of them with you.

    Thank goodness for Australian veterinary surgeons, no matter how shaky their confidence.

  3. Dear, sweet Mike and dear, sweet Phoenix,
    You both have found a place in my heart. I’m so happy that you have more years together. Remy and I send you tons of hugs, kisses and love!

  4. Mike and Phoenix, I am so happy from the bottom of my heart that Phoenix is cancer free. I lost Phoexix’s dad Sampson this year and miss him terribly, but at least I can still see parts of him still living in you Phoenix. Love you both very much and so happy you have each other, forever!!!!

  5. Happy Father’s Day Mike! Still so very happy for you and Phoenix to come through fighting that cancer together! What a special bond.

  6. Dear Mike and Phoenix; This is surely cause for jubilation! Phoenix is cancer free and you two are together again. All is right with the world. 😀 Not many people would do what you did Mike, and I applaud you. May you and Phoenix have many more wonderful years together. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

  7. Happy Father’s Day, Mike. Phoenix is lucky to have you. You may have the biggest heart of anyone I know.

    If I win your sweet giveaway, just give my $100 to the SPCA or another non-kill shelter near you. Or spend it on Phoenix’s next vet bill. I don’t need a gift. I’m just glad he’s still with you.

  8. Mike and Phoenix I am so happy all is well with Phoenix and he is back better than ever!! Happy Fathers Day!!

  9. Happy Father’s Day Mike to one of the best Father’s around. Phoenix is a miracle dog. Not only in the fact that he beat cancer with a burst tumor, but the happiness that he has brought to you. He truly changed your life.

  10. Oh Phoenix and Mike, again you leave me in tears of joy. If perchance I were to win, please notify me and donate my winnings to Michigan State University also! You are both such a joy to have in my life and I wish I had been home in Reno to help in any way needed while you were going through all this. All my love to you both. God’s Blessings on you always. Happy Father’s Day Mike! <3

  11. Congrats Phoenix for being the strongest dog Ive ever met. Your Dad was having a real hard time there for a while. I know that you will continue to keep him safe and happy Mike. If you need help with anything, you know we are here. Happy fathers day.

  12. Hi Mike,

    I am so glad to see you both, an epitome of love and bravery and resilience. May God bless you both. Happy Father’s Day!

    Please donate the money you are offering as a prize to a cancer society so that more such sons can receive good treatment. Thanks for sharing your joy!

  13. Mike & Phoenix,

    Now I understand why we haven’t been hearing from you guys. I, for one, was worried. So glad all is okay. Both of you are very special souls. And I, too, would prefer you donate my prize (should I win) to the SPCA or to another animal-cause of your choice.

    Best always to you both.

  14. The photos in this post are great. It is always wonderful to have some professional pictures of your family; that is why I get photos of Misty Blue and Indy every few years. Your dialogue with the vet at the emergency clinic is awesome. I bet he had never experienced this before and literally did not know what to do.

    Great job to you and Phoenix for persevering through a very tough time that likely would have ended significantly different for most people.

  15. Happy Human Dog Father’s Day! If I win the contest, you can contribute $200. 🙂

  16. Hi Mike

    It is amazing what our pets do for us mentally and how strong they can be without complaining. Us humans are not nearly as tough as our four-legged companions are. I think about how sick some of my cats have been and they rarely show any signs of suffering until it is so bad they can’t hide it. If we could only be as dignified as they are.

    I am so happy for you that Phoenix pulled through with flying colors. May you have many more years together.

    My Maggie (lilac point Siamese) is still going strong after many setbacks over the last 3 years. I really thought she wouldn’t make it to Christmas 2 years ago. She will be celebrating her 17th birthday on Wednesday. You just never know how much will they have to live, and only they can decide.

    Happy Father’s Day!


  17. O, my heart–My heart.
    Mike and Phoenix, I love both of you.
    Kisses. Hugs. Licks. Affection. Rubs. Healing….
    from Minnesota.
    Happy Father’s Day, dear.

  18. Happy Father’s Day Mike. I am so happy for you and Phoenix. I can only imagine your bond is even stronger now. So Phoenix are you going to steal Dad`s hat to use it for your drawing? :-).

  19. Happy Father’s Day, Mike. And well-done Phoenix. 🙂

  20. Happy Father’s Day! From a cat person to a dog person, just so glad that Phoenix appears to have Ca-Nine lives! Please just spend the money on your vet bills.

    Mike C.

  21. Mike, yours and Phoenix’s story is a true miracle! Your love pulled him through and he told us in his post that he knew he wasn’t finished teaching you things 🙂 Incredible!! Wonderful photos of you two. Happy Father’s Day!

  22. Aw! I love you guys! Happy, happy Father’s Day, Mike! And Phoenix, I am so glad that you were aware enough of what was going on to give Mike that look – what an amazing fighter you are, sweet loyal-hearted you. Mike, I’m proud of you for recognizing the look – there is such anguish in worrying whether it’s time for a forever goodbye… I love that you two are happy and together today and hope you’ve had lots of fun outside. Tucker and I are just so THRILLED for you!!!

  23. Yay! So happy for you. And, so happy that Phoenix is doing so great. What a sweet pair you two make. 🙂

  24. Happy Father’s Day Mike! So happy for you and Phoenix!!! I hope you have many more years together.

  25. What a great Father’s Day present to have Phoenix getting back to his old self. That’s amazing that he is now cancer free. You’ve been given the gift of more time, and I’m sure both of you will make the most of it.

  26. Mike and Pheonix You have no idea how happy you have made so many people! We were all very worried! I wonder what I would do if something happened to Benji? I know it is something to reckon with and Mike you made the right decision! They say when we die and hopefully go to heaven, all of the animals we had here on earth will be waiting for us up there ready to greet us with open paws!!! Gosh I hope that is true, I have had a slew of dogs, many of them snoozes, and many mutts from the animal rescue league, both in Reno and here in Florida,. There is nothing more important than helping others, both human and furry friends!! God Bless You Both!!! If we win pls donate our winnings to the dog animal rescue league in Reno or Sparks or both!!

  27. Phoenix, I am so very happy that you are spending fathers day with your dad. Mike, he is a miracle because you love him so. Smiling big time, love sent your way to both of you….I feel like phoenix is part of our life because I am always thinking of what mischief he is up to next (especially with your shoes or cap Mike xxx)

  28. We had a similar heart-stopping scare with our fur-baby ‘boy’ Thai-guy, several years before he died at age 18 of cancer.. His thyroid was out of whack – he was going to die the doctor said unless we took him to a Seattle specialist and had a $700 radioactive shot administered. . . that was now nearly 12 years ago. We didn’t even pause at the cost – you’d pay any price for your ‘kid’. The doctors said we’d probably extend his life by three years. . .was it worth it? You bet! We were grateful for those extra years – it was gravy on a great life we had together. Still when he died (there was nothing that could be done) we cried until we couldn’t cry any more. . .but we were grateful for that extra time we’d been given.

  29. So glad Phoenix put his paw on your knee as his way of letting you know that he wasn’t ready to go yet. So happy he’s still here to share his story!

  30. Most people would have let him go that time. I’m glad you held on, Mike. Your kid’s healing is a miracle indeed. Btw, you and Phoenix look dashing in the first photo!

  31. You two are the definition that Love conquers all. Big kisses to Phoenix. I’m so happy his now well.

  32. This really is just the most amazing story ever. A true testimonial to what the will to live can do for you. Miracles do happen! My best to you and Phoenix!

  33. Mike and Phoenix, this story is still one of the best I have ever read! I am so grateful Phoenix is here with you and cancer free and even more grateful you shared his story with all of us. I know we have Chloe and our hearts would be ing pieces on the floor if something happened to her. Phoenix is indeed a warrior and Mike, he is so blessed to have you as his human 🙂

  34. Phoenix – you are one lucky guy to not only be cancer free but to have such an amazing daddy. But then again, he is pretty lucky too to have you as his best friend…. Huge hugs!

  35. Hey Mike and Phoenix! What a great story! I’m so happy everything worked out well and Phoenix is cancer free…what a tough guy 😛 Send him a big hug from me!!!

  36. Drawing on Canada Day… must be a sign!

  37. Mike, belated happy father’s day.

    Phoenix, you are a WINNER!

    Mike and Phoenix, live long to celebrate many more Father’s day.

  38. So very happy to hear of this very happy ending!

  39. Mike, Wow! I love how you speak about the moment you two had. I do believe that animals speak and we just need to listen.

  40. He kicked it like a boss.
    There was no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t. Such a strong willed pooch. I am so happy to hear about this. Great news indeed!!
    Now can he teach my dog not to be such a sock lover?

  41. This contest is a wonderful tribute to Phoenix and all the pets that gave so much to the families they loved. We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying our dogs, then the grand-dogs came along and now we have memories of each one that left us for Rainbow Bridge.

  42. Mike, I’ve included a link to my Father’s day story back to your wonderful story that has a Happy Ending. Whew, we all were waiting with concern and worry in our hearts for you both.

  43. I’m getting to this a little later than I wanted to but I’m glad I did.

    So happy for you and Phoenix! And so glad he is doing much better and cancer free. The love we have for our fur babies is incredible and even sometimes hard to explain. It is what it is. Here’s to many more years of good health for Phoenix. He has a great daddy. Lots of love to you both! Give him a hug for me would ya?

  44. Mike, Needless to say I knew it was bad but I never knew until I read your last post just how bad it was. The two of you are a team that should be around for a long time. May you both stay healthy for a long time to come. What a nice idea donating in someone’s name.

  45. Glad it all worked out for you Mike!

  46. As Leigh I can only applaud your perseverance and unselfish generosity. ‘Salute’ as they say in Italy.

  47. Nothing in life is more important than your family.
    Get well, Phoenix!

  48. Aw what a sweet way to celebrate father’s day 🙂 I still can’t quite believe what a miraculous recover he has made, it really sounds like it was just meant to be!

  49. Wow — that is awesome news! You and Phoenix have a whole new lease on life now. All the best for good health from here on. Love your giveaway – great idea.

  50. Yayyy Phoenix! What a great way to celebrate being together on Father’s Day and having a clean bill of health! And so many kudos to your amazing vets…from personal experience I know that having a team of people that love animals and know what they’re doing makes all the difference in the world!

  51. So happy to hear that Phoenix is cancer free!!!

  52. Okay, that’s the second time you’ve made me cry. ♡

  53. So glad to hear Pheonix is doing better!

  54. Amazing story that showcases the power of mind over matter.

  55. Congrats! That’s one happy looking dog.

  56. Hello Mike and Phoenix,

    I’m deeply moved by your story. I had seen something about rejoicing that Phoenix was better earlier but had no idea about the depth of what went on.

    I know what having furry children are like. Well beyond mere pets, they are your family. I’m so glad that Phoenix was able to come through in such a miraculous way. For his sake and yours, Mike.

    I’m not doing this for any money. I think your celebration is a great one but it’s enough for me to hear you two are happy again. If my name should come up, please put it towards Phoenix’s medical bills or as an addition towards his favourite charity.

    I wish you both years of happiness to come.

  57. What a lovely idea, you always write with a lot of emotion. I’m so pleased things are all good at the moment!

  58. Mike
    Sooooo glad your boy is all better. Oh how we looooove our dogs

  59. My face smiles when I see Phoenix being so energetic! The past few months were extremely difficult for you two, but gladly you won this fight!!

  60. Phoenix looks soooo sweet and very similar to my inlaws dog called Blossom. I am so please that you guys have more of a journey together.

  61. I have had my dog for four years. He is now fifteen. I feel he has kept me going through hell and high water….congratulations to you both on this new prognosis. ..way to be hopeful!!!! I just saw your comment on Sandy’s site and followed you here…so glad I did!

  62. Oh, I am crying happy tears now ! I am so glad that Phoenix pulled through and that you had the strength and devotion to hang in there with him to get him better. What a wonderful Father’s Day Gift / Blessing. This is absolutely one of the most amazing animal “feels” posts ever.

  63. I just read this in work (woops) and I’m desperately trying to fight back tears at my desk. What a beautiful story, and I’m so glad Phoenix is cancer free. I have two dogs and I volunteer at the local dog shelter, so I get this so much. I’m so happy for you xx

  64. I am so happy for you Mike. Seems like Phoenix has incredible powers. To be so sick and to now be cancer free without Chemo is truly amazing. I am so glad that he managed to pull this off. My heart is happy for you both.

  65. Amazing story! Thanks for sharing. We love our Golden Retriever, Lola. She has been such a blessing to our family, especially to our two boys with Autism. Dogs can be so healing.

  66. Miracle dog indeed! I am so happy for you and Phoenix

  67. Way to go, Phoenix!!! Your dad truly needs you in his life…good thing you had that talk with him before they took you away 😉 Can’t wait for the celebratory picnic!!! You rock!

  68. What a sweet boy!! I’m so glad that you followed your instinct. I know how hard that can be.

  69. Powerful, beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing!

  70. This is such a beautiful story of friendship and survival. I was crying on the train.

  71. I am SOO happy for you and Phoenix both Mike and think the idea of you writing a book is perfect!! Phoenix couldn’t have been a better name for him…as he lived up to it for sure!! I’m excited to meet him when you decide to have that bbq, and please keep posting those pics; I never get tired of them!! xo >3

  72. Mike, I know this is an older post, but I have been away from blogging. I’d missed your presence and feared the worst. I just cried my way through both of your posts about his surgeries and medical crises. When we moved to Reno a year ago, Kona had just had a mast cell tumor removed from a back leg. The vet had had to take so much tissue to get clear margins, that there wasn’t enough skin to close together around that skinny leg and the incision opened. We spent many visits getting the wound flushed and bandage changed until it was time for the move and the vet taught me how to do the bandage changes (with the miracle Manuka honey!) It was awful. But it doesn’t even compare to what you and Phoenix went through. My heart burst with sadness with what you went through and joy at the outcome. You are both a blessed pair!!!!

    • Hi Ally! Oh my gosh we’ve missed hearing from you or seeing posts! Of course we were gone too 🙂 I completely understand what you and Kona went through with the leg. He had 5 different surgeries but the 10 inch one on his leg was going to be dicey to close. It wall worked out thank goodness. We are so thrilled to hear from you and hope that all wonderful with you and your family! How is your son doing?? 🙂

  73. Phoenix and I want to thank all of you so very, VERY much for participating in the contest and supporting us always!! We are so grateful 🙂

  74. Mike and Phoenix I cannot imagine what you both went through. You both have been so brave and I’m so happy that it turned out well.

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