WATCH: Ida & Achilles’ Canine Cancer Battles Are A Wake-Up Call

WATCH: Ida & Achilles’ Canine Cancer Battles Are A Wake-Up Call

In Lombok, Indonesia, we have been aiding two dogs through their battles with canine cancer in a new partnership with local rescuers. The tales of Ida and Achilles have become emblematic of the struggles faced by so many homeless dogs in developing nations — and the incredible power of compassionate intervention.


Achilles’ life, largely unnoticed by many, was a battle for survival in the tough conditions of street life. When he contracted a transmissible venereal tumor (TVT), a sexually transmitted cancer common in street dogs, he started to get noticed for the wrong reasons.

Fearful people reacted to Achilles’ unsightly and odorous tumor by abusing him. In his struggle for survival, he learned to keep safe by scaring people away.

Though his chronic pain and fear of humans made him aggressive, our rescue partner managed to capture him for veterinary treatment. Having never been shown love or kindness, he tried to bite her every time she fed him, and even broke a cage in his bid to escape.

Despite our efforts to provide him with medical care, Achilles' condition worsened. The cancer didn’t respond to chemotherapy and eventually he suffered a hemorrhage. Achilles lost his battle, leaving us heartbroken.

Without a reliable spay and neuter program on the island, transmissible venereal tumors are running rampant, making the harsh life of street dogs even harsher.

Achilles' story is a somber reminder of the neglect and suffering endured by homeless animals. His struggle underscores the urgent need for a spay and neuter program to stop the spread of canine cancer. Life on the streets is harsh enough without facing this added challenge. 

You can ensure Achilles did not lose his life in vain. We can save the lives of dogs like him by establishing a spay and neuter program in his memory. If we choose, we have the power to protect dogs from canine cancer and make happier outcomes possible.


Ida's story begins similarly to that of Achilles. Thrown out by her guardian who could no longer afford to feed her, Ida became a stray in Lombok. Exposed to the harsh realities of street life, her life took an even worse turn when she contracted TVT, the same canine cancer that afflicted Achilles. However, Ida's story was to take a different path.

Our partner rescued Ida from the streets where she was enduring terrible abuse because of her horrific tumor. She is currently undergoing treatment. Ida's journey through chemotherapy is challenging, and she howled for several days straight at her strange environment and clear discomfort. But she is showing remarkable resilience and strength. Each treatment brings Ida closer to recovery.

Ida still has one more session of chemotherapy to go through and the final step in her recovery will be a spay operation to ensure she never contracts this awful disease again. She will never pass it on to her puppies, nor any other dog she meets.

Ida's promising battle against TVT demonstrates the transformative power of medical intervention and compassionate care. Her path to recovery lights a beacon of hope but also reveals the critical need for accessible veterinary care, including a spay and neuter program, to prevent the spread of diseases like TVT.

The Solution

The story of Ida and Achilles illuminates the harsh realities faced by many animals in developing countries. We are determined to establish a spay and neuter program in Lombok to stop this death sentence for street dogs.

In places where people struggle to put food on the table, street dogs are often viewed as pests. When street dogs get sick, they may be poisoned, attacked by other dogs, or even beaten to death before they succumb to illness. Without kind In Defense of Animals supporters like you, helping Ida and Achilles would have been impossible.

In Lombok, canine cancer costs $1,200 to treat. But it only costs $90 to spay or neuter a dog, and in the process, avert a world of suffering. 

As someone who cares deeply for animals, I know you would do anything for your dog if they got cancer. Whether you had the option to treat them, or simply make their final days comfortable, your dog would be in loving hands. But street dogs in Lombok have nobody to love or care for them. Instead of a loving touch when they get sick, they often have sticks and stones hurled at them.

That’s why it’s vital we stop these preventable cancers. Achilles and Ida likely would never have contracted cancer if they had been spayed and neutered. Spay and neuter surgeries also prevent a whole host of other issues faced by dogs in Lombok, including fighting, accidents, cruelty, and even dog meat eating.

TVT is a sexually transmitted cancer, which is prevalent among unspayed and unneutered dogs, and poses a grave threat to their health and well-being.

Ida’s journey of recovery and Achilles’ heartbreaking death are poignant reminders of the suffering many street dogs endure… and the power we have to make a difference.

Our greatest wish is to finish Ida's treatment and heed the clarion call for proactive measures to prevent such dire situations. With our partners, we are launching a new spay and neuter program in Lombok, aimed at combating the spread of TVT and other preventable diseases. By backing this new program, you can ensure that dogs like Ida don't have to suffer the horror of facing cancer and abuse alone on the streets.

What YOU Can Do

First, we must fund Ida’s final chemotherapy session and surgery to remove the ugly tissue hanging from her which almost killed her. Veterinarians are standing by to spay Ida at the same time to ensure she and the dogs she meets never suffer as she did.

Second, it’s vital that we urgently establish a spay and neuter program for the dogs in Lombok. Controlling the population of unwanted dogs will prevent the horrifying spread of TVT and also reduce abuse and killings for dog meat, another fate for street dogs in impoverished Lombok.

Achilles’ death and Ida's suffering are not in vain. They have inspired a movement and a powerful collaboration with caring partners on the ground in Indonesia who stand ready to ignite widespread change if you stand with them against cancer and the dog meat trade. By supporting our new spay and neuter initiative, countless canines will avoid the harrowing path Achilles and Ida walked, creating a ripple effect of positive change in animal welfare.

Together, we can transform the lives of countless animals in Lombok and beyond. Your support for our spay and neuter program is not just a donation; it's a stand against needless suffering and a step towards a future where every animal is treated with the care and respect they deserve.

Join us in this vital mission. Let's make a difference, one animal at a time. Support our spay and neuter program today and be a part of a compassionate movement for change. Together, we can ensure that dogs like Achilles and Ida have a happier ending.

Ida's journey, from a struggling street dog to a symbol of resilience, inspires us to continue fighting for the well-being of animals everywhere. By supporting our spay and neuter program, you're not just helping individual animals; you're contributing to a broader movement that promotes health, prevents suffering, and fosters a more humane world for all living beings. 

Please honor Achilles and Ida by making a gift to establish our canine cancer prevention program today.