Bus driver, his dog diagnosed with same type of cancer weeks apart

Rick Shoup says he and his best friend, together, are going to lick this

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville Transportation Authority bus driver and his best friend, a rescue dog, were recently diagnosed with the same type of cancer just weeks apart.

"It brought tears to my eyes because she is going through the same thing and you always tell them you aren't going to hurt them, you know?" Rick Shoup told News4Jax on Tuesday. 

Shoup and Gracie Mae have been through a lot together over the years. Their journey started in September 2016 when Shoup adopted Gracie from the city shelter. Gracie, the sixth dog Shoup has rescued, was 8 years old and tested positive for heartworm at the time.

"I mainly look for the ones that no one else wants," Shoup said.


Three years later, Shoup and Gracie are facing their biggest challenge ever: cancer. They were both diagnosed with lymphoma just weeks apart.

“It’s one of those moments. It’s like everything stops," Shoup said. "I tell everyone: 'I wish I could lay on the table next to her because I love my animals so much because they accept you, no matter what.'"

After six weeks of treatment, Gracie is now cancer-free. Shoup still has a few treatments left to go.

"They called me and said, 'She’s done.' And I am, like, 'What?! I’m not done yet!,'" Shoup said. "I tell everyone I have some big paws to fill."

What’s next for the man and his best friend?

"Just to keep moving forward. That’s all you can do. That’s all you can do. Keep moving forward and keep enjoying each other's company and love," Shoup said. "I am one of those people who believes everything is for a reason and maybe that’s why I brought her home."

Shoup and Gracie’s treatments combined have added up to more than $15,000. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help them financially get back on their feet. 

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