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  #1  
Unread 09-16-2002, 10:30 AM
Cancer Dog?

OK, OK, today I decided that I was going to stop being so scared about my cancer for a while and start thinking about happy things. When I got the diagnosis, my life plunged into fear because I was totally taken by surprise. For almost three months now I have felt like Mr. Death is looking over my shoulder. Even if I know some of my dear friends are at a less optimistic cancer stage than I am.
I have wanted a dog for a long time but have not gotten one because I work all day and I thought it wouldn't be so nice to the dog for him to stay inside all day. But I am rethinking this now, because I found out some owners do it regularly. I think dogs can be a wonderful companion to a person with a psychologically stressful and physically serious illness; are any of you dog owners and care to comment?
An aquaintance of mine is deaf and has a very intelligent hearing dog trained to read sign language. How can dogs be helpful to cancer patients?
PS any dog I get I will pamper to the gills. I also am recovered from surgery now to take a pet for long twice daily walks.
JennyW
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  #2  
Unread 09-16-2002, 02:39 PM
Cancer Dog?

JENNY,
DID YOU SAY (DOG ?) GOSH, I CAN'T REMEMBER NOT EVER HAVING ONE!!! THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT IDEA, THEY ARE WONDERFUL COMPANY AND THEY CERTAINLY WILL KEEP YOUR MIND OCCUPIED. I HAVE A 7YR. OLD SHEP/CHOW MIX. SHE'S ABOUT 90 POUNDS BUT I HAVE HAD HER SINCE A PUP. SHE IS SO HAPPY WHEN I CAOME HOME FROM WORK AND WE PLAY BABIES, (SHE GETS HER BABY AND I THROW IT ) I LOVE DOGS ANY KIND.
YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK THE SHELTERS IN YOUR AREA AND SEE WHAT THEY HAVE. PERHAPS A SMALLER ONE WOULD BE JUST RIGHT FOR YOU SINCE THEY ARE CUDDLY AND SIT ON YOUR LAP ETC. MINE IS 90 POUNDS , SO FORGET IT!!!
IF YOU REALLY WANT AN ANIMAL THEN GET IT, BUT BE READY FOR ALOT OF CARING, THEY DO REQUIRE ALOT. S
  #3  
Unread 09-16-2002, 04:30 PM
I vote for a Shih-Tzu (or wiener dog, Dachshund)

My quesiton would be: if you would need to be hospitalized unexpectedly for anything, do you have backup care for the dog? That being taken care of--I vote for a Shih-Tzu. My mom's first cousin has one who's 19 months. She's lively, intelligent, playful, restful at times too, lots of fun, 16# (this one isn't fat--just at the top of the Shih Tzu charts), and since she's kept in a puppy cut vs. the long hair, she isn't an intense grooming project. About 35 years ago I had a dachshund--they're heavier (unless you get a miniature) and also smart dogs. Very happily territorial--your home will be its home and will be loving, easier grooming, and if anyone tries to break into your place, well...enough said. I can't have dogs where I live or I'd love one again--nothing like that joyful "welcome home" and unconditional love. Vet trips, too, to keep dog healthy, of course. There are breed rescue groups all over. Otherwise, local shelter is a great idea. My former neighbor got one from ours and the nicest dog you'd want to meet. He was part border collie (energy and look) and part something else (someone once said an Afghan Hound is the dumbest breed, so we thought his other half was Afghan, as this dog definitely was lacking in the IQ department) and we also said that up in dog heaven, first they handed out love and affection, and instead of going into the intelligence line for that, he went back in the love and affection line again.
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  #4  
Unread 09-16-2002, 04:35 PM
Thanks Puppy2 and Margaret

I appreciate your input. I would definitely want a small dog. I think they would be happier indoors than larger ones. I am taking this as seriously as adopting a child, so I am patient and will look around very carefully for the right dog.
It would be wonderful to have a pet to care for to take my mind off cancer.
JennyW
  #5  
Unread 09-16-2002, 04:41 PM
It is a great idea!

Hi--

It is a wonderful idea, from my own personal experience. For years, I had been bugging my husband about getting a dog (this was before I had cancer) and he always had excuses, which I guess I agreed with. When I had my cancer recurrence and found out that I was going to be at home more, I really decided that I wanted to get a dog. I talked to my psychiatrist about it and she thought it would be a wonderful idea. I finally put my foot down with my husband and told him that I was getting a dog and would take care of it, etc. Well, after a long search, I got a miniature dachshund (named Molly) from Dachshund Rescue here in Wisconsin and it was the best decision I have ever made, aside from marrying my husband! She is so sweet and the best company for me. She also gives me something else to think about besides myself. She has some health problems herself (epilepsy controlled with medication) but if she is on her meds, she is just fine. It also reminds me that life goes on -- as I like to joke, I might still have cancer, but I still have to pick up the dog poop! All in all, I think getting a dog is a great idea. I would make sure, however, that you get a dog that is already housetrained if you are going to be at work all day -- I think a puppy would be too much work (my dog is eight years old). Check into different Rescue Organizations -- they require a little more work, but it is a very rewarding experience.

Love,

Cyndy

-- This is my Molly!
  #6  
Unread 09-16-2002, 08:09 PM
Cancer Dog?

Awww Jenny!!!

What a wonderful idea!!! I have always had at "least" one dog in my household and now currently have more than that.

My pups were wonderful companions during my recovery and of course, since then. Even the lab who consistantly nailed me in the tummy prior to surgery never once tried jumping on me while I was first healing.

My sheltie was my shadow during my intial recovery period, he never left my side with the exception of potty breaks outside.

I hope you'll find a wonderful companion to add to your family. They sure are some great little (or big) babies.

Good luck on your search and keep us posted on how things go.

{{Hugs}}

Vicki
  #7  
Unread 09-16-2002, 08:35 PM
Cancer Dog?

Jenny,

I'm with Ellen--a Shih-Tzu is a perfect little inside dog. My Molly was such a sweet little friend while I was recovering from surgery. Actually, she was a sweet little friend for about a year before that, since we first got her at 6 weeks old! Shih-Tzus were originally bred to be pampered lap dogs. Molly isn't much of a worker around here, but she excels at love, licking, and the silly little games we play. She definitely brings a smile to our faces! Molly stays home alone just fine while I am at school. My large utility room is baby-gated and she has the run of the room. She is usually "dry" when I get home. I think a dog is a great idea. Go for it! I've adopted both a dog and a kid. You won't have to send the dog to college. Go for it!

Adrienne
  #8  
Unread 09-16-2002, 08:43 PM
dog?

Hi! Oh, do I have an idea for you!! I have a wonderful- WONDERFUL- golden retriever. She's 8 with the personality of a 4 year old girl- lives to please, lives to love. I am a Pet assisted Therapist- a volunteer- Belle and I visit patients in the hospital! i had to be trained but it really comes down to the dog- they are "temperment tested" to see how they handle loud noises, tugs and pulls, etc. The majority of dogs in the program are golden retrievers! Now, my advice? There are golden retriever rescue leagues all over the country- literally, there are 2 in my part of north Texas! These are dogs that were either owner give ups due to moves, divorce, lack of committment,etc. they are placed in Foster Homes to determine if there are special needs (yes to other dogs, yes to children, etc.) This is an amazing breed and you may find your soul mate! Sometimes, I see pups on our website- sometimes older dogs- most seem to be around 3-6 and housebroken!!
How can a dog help? They lean against you- Belle knows when one of the family isn't feeling well- at the hospital, she knows to sit quietly with older patients or, if invited, will jump on a bed! she could use more exercise then she gets but she never complains! Does shed but I brush her regularly and she LOVES the attention.
Think about it- go online to "google.com" and type in Golden Retriever Rescue, YOUR STATE NAME, and see what happens.
Belle now gets to be MY therapy dog- TAH-BSO (looks like I know what I'm doing, doesn't it?) on 9/24. Everything goes to pathology just in case.
You're in my thoughts and prayers. I say "Go for it!"
p.s. There are rescue groups for ALL breeds- I'm just golden retriever biased! This is our 2nd and a third was due to come home here this weekend before I had to schedule surgery!!
  #9  
Unread 09-17-2002, 03:16 AM
Cancer Dog?

Hi Jenny,

I have to agree with all of the others who have replied, having a dog is a great idea! And...I'm even going to go a step further and suggest two.

Now, before your eyes pop out at my suggestion...we had one dog when my kids were younger, and my Mom used to come to my house most days to be there when the kids got home from school, as DH and I both work. My Mom passed away in 1994, and I began to feel guilty that my beloved dog was home by herself all day, and ended up buying a second puppy to keep her company. I still think it's one of the best decisions I ever made. I truly have found that taking care of 2 dogs is just as easy as 1, and they are such great company for each other when DH and I are at work and kids are in school.

I would caution you as someone else did though; it's a commitment, so try to be prepared with "babysitters" if needed in the event you will be away. I don't have the heart to put my dogs in a kennel if we all go away, but I've been lucky and have always been able to get someone to stay at my house. You might also think about someone who would be willing to take the dog (or dogs) into their home if you will not be there.

My dogs are mixed breeds, one looks like a Malmute (30+ lbs) and the other is part long-haired dachshaund (20+ lbs). I love them both, but the one with dachshound in her is definitely a little love-bug and very mild tempered.

Let us know what you decide, ok?

Best wishes and s
  #10  
Unread 09-17-2002, 04:35 AM
thank you for your ideas!

Thank you so much for your encouragement! Now you've boggled my mind about having to choose which kind of dog, they all sound so wonderful. TinaW, your advice about the pet sitter was excellent. I have spent years trying to plan how I am going to plan a good home for a dog, and because I had no experience I thought I would take it to a neighborhood vet who boards pets or a friend's kennel. But you are right, no matter what the dog would feel miserable away from its home. I will not get a dog until the whole radiation bit is over and I am reestablished at work, but hopefully after that you all will read a post from me on my cancer dog!
JennyW
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