Family fights to save beloved dog with bone cancer

Posted: Updated:

APACHE JUNCTION -- His name is Locomotive and his story will break your heart. He has cancer, but his owners say they can't afford the surgery he needs.

Like a lot of Arizona families, Locomotive's owners say they're struggling financially in this tough economy, but they say putting their dog to sleep is no option either.

Five-year-old "Loco" is a big dog with a big heart and a big spirit. But the Great Dane-mastiff is now facing a big challenge – a giant lump on his right leg is a tumor, caused by bone cancer. It's made it difficult for him to walk, and now instead of playing and running around, Loco spends most of his time lying down, in pain.

“[I have] a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes all the time,” Heather Russell said.

“He’s the center of our family," her daughter Ashley said. "We do everything around him."

Their vet told Loco's owners there were two choices.

“We could amputate and have chemo, or we could put him to death," Heather explained.

Heather and Ashley Russell have yet to take action. The problem is the amputation surgery costs thousands of dollars, and will require expensive follow-up chemo treatments. Heather lost her job cleaning homes last year, and Ashley's job at a local donut shop barely covers the bills.

“We can't afford that," Heather said.

The family knows asking others for help -- especially money -- is hard to do in this rough economy. So they're just asking for the people's prayers.

“Just help us in any way, whether it be a doctor or just sending your thoughts and prayers out,” Heather said.

The Russells believe if Loco gets the treatment he needs, he will make a speedy recovery and be around for many more Thanksgivings to come.

“He's not ready,” Heather said. "He still wags his tail ... and he still has life there."

If you would like to help Loco, contact the Russells at