Unconditional love

A man’s love for his dog scores a goal with football fans in Rio

A Rio de Janeiro football fan raffled his ticket to a classic match in order to pay for his dog's cancer treatment

Football fans club together to save a dog's life

Danilo and Doze. Photo: Renata Ragi

The love of a football fan for his sick dog has pulled quite a few heartstrings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When his adored mutt, Doze, was diagnosed with cancer, Danilo Mello, who is unemployed, had to find a way to pay for the expensive chemotherapy the dog would need.

After scratching his head for a while and weighing up all the possibilities, he concluded that the best bet was to raffle his ticket to the semi-final match of the famous Libertadores tournament, when Flamengo plays against Grêmio, a classic combo in Brazilian football. Danilo is an avid Flamengo supporter, but he was willing to make the sacrifice to try to save Doze’s life.

Danilo adopted Doze in 2014 with his girlfriend Renata after rescuing him from the streets of Niterói in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan region. The cancer was discovered during a routine visit to a veterinary due to an inflammation on the dog’s chin. The tumor was removed and tests showed it was grade 3 malignant. He would need to have both chemo and radio therapy.

Unsurprisingly, the bill for the treatment would be high. The first round costs around R$ 7,000 and R$9,000 (or US$1,700 and US$2,180). Another surgery to remove a second lump from Doze’s jaw increased the bill up to R$10,000 (US$2,420).

The dog’s plight and his daddy’s sacrifice to save his life struck a chord with Flamengo fans and the raffle met its goal very quickly. They also set up a fundraising campaign on a crowdfunding website and, at the time of writing this article, the campaign had raised four times the financing goal.

“We have no words to express our gratitude,” Renata wrote on the crowdfunding page. “The campaign will continue to the set deadline. We don’t know exactly how much the treatment will cost, but all the remaining funds will go to GARRA, an animal rescue group.”

Doze has already started the treatment and had his fist chemo session on Monday (7).

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