I am thrilled to welcome you to the Riedel & Cody Fund website. We are a community offering compassion, help, and hope to all those affected by animal cancer. I truly hope that you and your pet will benefit from everything we have to offer, and that you may be inspired to join our community and help others fight this terrible disease.
Along with my co-founder, David Duchemin, I was inspired to start the Riedel & Cody Fund to honor the life and spirit of my beloved Riedel, a stunningly beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog. My wonderful journey with Riedel began the day I brought her home. She was an eight week old puppy who stole my heart the second I saw her. She was funny, smart, loving, and boisterous, and even as a young puppy, her spirit and love of life were so evident. Over the years, as she matured into the most amazing dog I have ever known, we developed an extraordinarily close relationship. She was special. I loved her with all my heart.
Riedel was diagnosed with cancer at the too young age of five. I will never forget the call from her veterinarian telling me the bad news. I was scared. I was sad. I was angry. I was shocked. Above all, I was confused. I frankly didn’t know what to do, or where to turn. The one thing I was sure of was that I wasn’t ready to lose Riedel and I was absolutely sure that she wasn’t ready to let go of life. I chose to fight. I know that was Riedel’s choice as well.
I wanted to do everything I could do to increase Riedel’s chance for a longer, high quality life. Her prognosis was poor, and while I was realistic about the seriousness of her disease, I only needed to look into Riedel’s eyes and see her spirit and courage to feel hope. I did a tremendous amount of research, talked to many, many people, and decided on a course of action. I decided to follow an integrative approach to treating her cancer, and put together an amazing group of world-class professionals to manage her care. Riedel’s team consisted of her primary veterinarian, a veterinarian oncologist, a homeopathic veterinarian with an oncology focus, a veterinarian radiologist, a veterinarian surgical specialist, and a dog behaviorist. Each of the practitioners on Riedel’s team were extraordinary leaders in their specialties. They also were compassionate people, who fell in love with Riedel as I did. They gave everything they had and more. Their love, skill and compassion, combined with Riedel’s courage and will to live, allowed her to defy the odds. The conventional wisdom had predicted a three to six month survival rate. Riedel surprised us all by living eighteen months from her diagnosis, all with a very high quality of life. She passed on to the Rainbow Bridge with quiet dignity in my wife’s and my arms on October 4, 2009. She was six years old. She left a hole in my heart that will never be filled.
Our journey together, however, did not end on that day in October. In fact, in many ways, it has only just begun. Riedel’s courage in her fight, and her abundant love of life, inspired me, actually required me, to do something special to honor her memory. It was out of that inspiration that I, along with David, who’s Cody had a very similar hold on David’s heart, envisioned and founded the Riedel & Cody Fund. Our idea for RCF is to provide knowledge, hope and funding for animals with cancer. We want to make it easier for people to fight on their pet’s behalf. We envision a growing, vibrant community of animal owners, medical professionals, animal lovers, veterinary schools, companies serving animal needs, and frankly any individual, company, or institution inspired by the bond between humans and animals. This community will help each other, and will take RCF to places we can’t even envision today.
So my journey with Riedel has only just begun. She changed my life in so many positive and exciting ways. She made so many people happy in her short time. Her spirit and love of life were infectious. Her legacy, and Cody’s legacy, is this special community we call the Riedel & Cody Fund. These two dogs changed our lives. Their legacy will change the world.
Co-founder, Riedel's dad