Dog gets adopted after being diagnosed with terminal cancer - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Dog gets adopted after being diagnosed with terminal cancer

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - She's a lovable dog with just a few months left to live. But now, thanks to some generous San Diegans, she'll be cared for until the very end.

Life hasn't been easy for Rio the black Lab. Last November, Superstorm Sandy destroyed the shelter Rio was living in. Nearly 50 animals were flown to the Helen Woodward Animal Center for a second chance.

"We wanted to get them all into families, and when we did the exam on Rio we found out that she had terminal cancer," Jessica Gercke of the Helen Woodward Animal Center said.

Gercke says Rio's cancer is inoperable.

"She's not suffering per se, although she gets very, very winded. She's a five-year-old dog, so she wants to do the things that five-year-old dogs do," Gercke said.

Instead of putting her down, the center made a plea for adoption.

"We started getting applications from as far away as Washington, D.C., Alabama, Utah," Gercke said.

Because of Rio's delicate condition, she needed a home closer to home. Luckily, a La Mesa family stepped up.

"Animals are my passion. I love rescuing animals, I love helping them," Heather Bardin said.

Bardin is an animal trainer who fell in love with Rio, and on Monday her adoption application was finalized.

"I love it. I'm so excited, really excited to bring her home," she said.

Heather has a rescue dog named Liberty that has a barking problem. Her parents are retired, and when they saw News 8's story about Rio, her mother reacted.

"I just kind of looked around at everybody and I said, 'We should adopt Rio,'" she said.

Wouldn't you know it, the dog with cancer somehow has a calming effect on Liberty.

"She's no longer barking at people that go by our gate, I mean it's just been an amazing difference," Heather's mother said.

Blue Buffalo will donate dog food for life, and Albertson's Savon Pharmacy will provide Rio's medication free of charge.

"I want Rio to live out however long she has, even if it's five years or another month, to be in a loving family and have a best friend dog to play with as well," Heather said.

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