Wendy Niccoli of Dexter knows firsthand how devastating a diagnosis of cancer can be. She was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease in 2004, and now her dog, Jacob has bone cancer.
Jacob, a Rottweiler, is currently suffering from Osteosarcoma. He is the fourth dog Niccoli has owned that has been diagnosed with the disease.
"The large gulp in the throat when you hear those words is a familiar one," Niccoli said.
Jacob recently underwent surgery earlier this month to remove one of his right legs at the in Dexter. Now his family is reaching out to the community to help cover the cost of a special wheelchair for dogs.
Niccoli acknowledges that asking for donations from the public is not easy.
"I feel awkward asking for help, as I am usually the one helping others," she said.
To help cover the cost, Niccoli has set up an online fund for friends and family to donate toward the $700 device. The Animal Rehabilitation Facility is also pitching in, offering a 10 percent discount off services up to $100 to anyone who donates $10.
"A lot of owners go the extra mile for their pets. Unfortunately this type of cancer is fairly common in Rottweilers," said Dr. Mary Cardeccia, who works for the facility. "Jacob is the sweetest thing. He is always smiling and he's just a wonderful dog."
Niccoli has pet insurance but said it does not cover cancer treatments, which includes four chemotherapy sessions Jacob will undergo at the Animal Cancer Imaging Center in Canton in February.
Cardeccia said she wanted to help Niccoli, who has been a friend and regular customer at the rehabilitation center.
"I was involved with Jacob's diagnosis and treatment and helped Wendy get through it," Cardeccia said. "I really hope we can raise the money to get Jacob his wheels."
Niccoli said cancer is just one of many ailments Jacob has suffered since she bought him as a puppy.
"Jacob loves to walk in the fields and woods behind our home. Jacob is also diabetic since October 2010, after a bout of pancreatitis where we almost lost him," Niccoli said."He has had a tough few years and we want to help make his life as enjoyable as possible."
For more information, or to make a donation, visit http://wheelsforjacob.chipin.com/wheels-for-jacob