Updated: Thursday, 27 Jan 2011, 8:39 AM CST
Published : Wednesday, 26 Jan 2011, 3:25 PM CST
MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) - Vision, a five-year-old search and rescue dog has lost her battle with lymphoma.
Her Owner, Jennifer Morgan, said she was the foundation of the Southwest Panhandle Search and Rescue Team.
Vision was one of very few cadaver dogs in the area and one of even fewer water search dogs. In her three year search career, Vision has had 14 recoveries and had been instrumental in many more.
Morgan said she takes comfort in knowing Vision can now meet the victims she helped find in heaven.
"She's able to see them, who they are now. One of them was a chef so now he's cooking for her. I thought that was sweet. She has the babies, she has a few 16-year-old boys to play with," said Morgan.
Vision's cancer was discovered while she was searching for the body of Natalie Deblase in December.
Doctors said that dogs usually handle chemotherapy much better than humans, but there was an unforeseen issue in Vision's case.
Vision had a gene called MDR1 (Multi Drug Resistance). Morgan said this gene makes medication intolerable for dogs, and in some cases it can make the medication toxic.
"She couldn't tolerate the stuff, so I had to put her to sleep. It's a great loss to us and a big time loss for the team," said Morgan.
Morgan and Vision fought cancer side by side. Morgan is in the final stages of radiation for breast cancer.
She said Vision has given her the strength to keep fighting. Morgan said she is keeping busy with Serious, her first search dog. She will continue to search and help the community.
"Were going to just keep on and put it in memory of Vision," said Morgan.
Morgan said she took Vision out for one last mock search the night before she was put to sleep. She is thankful for the time she has had.
"I just feel blessed that I was able to be her momma," said Morgan.
Morgan said Vision left her mark not only on her, but on the world.
"You know the people that come in to the world to do great things for this world in a small amount of time and then leave this world early and make their mark," said Morgan.
Morgan said there is a lot of good that is coming from Vision's passing.
They are starting a program for Alzheimer's patients and assisted living residences called Morgan's Vision.
They are also testing all of their dogs for the MRG1 gene so they can detect which medications may be harmful to them.
Morgan said it will take time for her to get a new search dog. She said Vision cannot be replaced.
When she is ready, Vision's breeder has offered to donate a dog to Morgan. Vision was also donated.
Early next month the Southwest Panhandle Search and Rescue Team will hold a memorial for Vision. They plan to sprinkle her ashes in the water under the Dauphin Island Bridge, where Vision had her first water search.