July 17th, 2014 by Tina Santi Flaherty

July 17th, 2014 by Jackie Santi Flaherty


Hi! It’s me again – Jackie S. Flaherty (white lab and fur person extraordinaire just to remind you) – back at my dog-blog! Since my last blog lots of people have been asking me questions about Jackie Kennedy Onassis (JKO), my namesake and about whom my Pet-Mom wrote a book, and most are curious as to what kind of major surgery I had!

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Newsflash! Someone told my Pet Mom that I am a miracle. Stay tuned and you will hear why…!



First of all I couldn’t believe I was sick — nor could my Pet Mom! We Labs like to eat, run, play, chase balls and never get sick! Yet, I was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw in September of 2012! Wooof! What a bummer! The docs at the Animal Medical Center (AMC) in Manhattan called it multilobular osteochondrosarcoma ( that’s a long way of saying cancer of the jawbone). Some didn’t give me much of a fighting chance. Get this— one doc said I had as little as 9 months left.

But like JKO, my Pet Mom has a will of iron and swung into action to find a way to help me. Plus she wanted a miracle!  To tell you the truth, I did too as I was seriously not ready to give up the scrambled eggs and bacon she serves up every morning for breakfast!


So my Pet Mom and my vet at the AMC, the wonderful Dr. Ann Hohenhaus who is my oncologist, took me and my fur sister, Scarlett, to the Blessing of the Animals at St. Bart’s in NYC, which was a very special event! That made us feel good, but we were still plenty worried! A friend of my Pet Mom’s started a prayer line for all the children and animals everywhere to be safe, happy and well and my Mom signed me up! She also said some extra prayers to Popes John Paul II and Pope John XXIII as she likes them both.



Everyone probably knows Jackie O was a Catholic. But, did you know that she also liked Pope John XXIII?  She paid a special visit to him in Rome in 1962  where she was greeted at the airport with shouts of “Che Bella”(How beautiful!) from throngs of adoring fans. In preparation for her visit, the Pope asked his secretary how he should address Jackie O. Should he call her Mrs. Kennedy or Madame? When Jackie arrived, though, he forgot all about his plans to address her formally and swept up to her with open arms, saying—“Jackieeeee!”  Leave it to Jackie O to charm even the Pope! I wonder if she gave him her famous “lighthouse look” that I spoke about in my first blog. If I could time travel back in time maybe I could have charmed him, too, with my big brown  eyes using my fur person version of that famous look.



But I digress.  Back to what to do about my jaw. So, we had to make a decision to find a way to stop the cancer from growing. If we opted for conventional surgery, they would have to remove my eye and also my tongue would have permanently dangled from my mouth.

I’m not vain and my Pet Mom says I’m the prettiest Lab ever, no matter what, — just like Black Jack Bouvier used to tell his darling daughter, Jackie O, that she was the prettiest girl in the ring whenever she would enter an equestrienne/horsey type event. All that praise — a dose of “Vitamin P” as Jackie O liked to call it – sure gives a gal self-confidence!



That’s why, in September of 2012, my Pet Mom opted for “Cyberknife,” which is a targeted form of radiation that is used on both humans and fur-persons. Initially I came through with flying colors but we had a few glitches afterwards.  With the help of the super smart vets at the AMC, Dr. Hohenhaus and Dr. Leilani Alvarez, the latter of whom heads up the Tina Santi Flaherty Rehabilitation and Fitness Center, we overcame them. Dr. Michael Pavletic, who is world renowned for his surgical talents, was also part of the dream team that helped pull me through.  We like to call Dr. Pavletic the man with the golden hands!




As you can see from this picture of me with my Pet Mom, miracles DO happen — at least according to Dr. Ann and mom!

I’m pretty sure Jackie O would be happy for me as she loved her dogs (fur persons as we call them) and had either Hoochie (Scottish Terrier), Bonnett (Spaniel), King Phar (Great Dane) or Gaully  (Poodle) near her for most of her life.


More later if you care to know….!


Love & Licks!


Jackie S. Flaherty, Fur Person Personified


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