Rocky Thornton

The Gazette   2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Colorado Springs-area dog with cancer finds support from national Magic Bullet Fund

By: Kelsey Kendall July 7, 2016

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Rocky ThorntonSince 2005, Magic Bullet Fund has helped almost 500 dogs with cancer get the treatment they need to survive, according to Laurie Kaplan, the fund’s founder.

One of the more recent to receive help is Rocky, a 7-year-old German shepherd-Labrador mix from Monument.

“He’s my baby,” Rocky’s proud owner, Brittany Thornton, said. “He’s everything to me, so we’re going to do everything we possibly can.”

Rocky has had two surgeries since 2013 and is undergoing chemotherapy to try to kill off the harmful cells causing mast cell tumors.

As the medical expenses piled up, Thornton looked for ways to raise $1,300 for the chemotherapy. She found Magic Bullet Fund.

Kaplan said the mission of the New York-based fund is to help families with dogs that most likely would survive with treatment – but the family needs financial support to make that happen.

The fund’s name comes from Kaplan’s dog, who outlived cancer. So in honor of her dog, she wanted to do something to support families whose dogs had cancer.

“I found charities that helped with cancer research or finding a cure, but I really wanted to donate to help actual people get the treatments (for their dogs),” Kaplan said.

After not being able to find a charity that does that, she decided to create one herself.

Volunteers from all over the U.S. select applicants based on this criteria, and dogs’ photos are featured along with a statement from their owners on the fund’s website, where people can donate.

Each dog’s campaign lasts 30 days.

Thornton said Magic Bullet Fund volunteers have been a big help with fundraising. The fund provides the first donation, which varies depending on a family’s needs, and the rest of the funds come from donations, so families are expected to campaign.

Rocky’s campaign concludes July 17 and, as of Wednesday morning, $485 has been raised. Thornton said he’s handling his chemotherapy treatments well.

“He’s still playful, still cuddles,” Thornton said. “His behavior hasn’t changed at all.”