Today is National Love your pet day. In my book Faith, Hope and Cancer, I dedicate an entire chapter to Velvet. However, it was our family dog Misty who was by my side when I was sick.
When I was in the fifth grade, my parents adopted a stray with the intention that she would be my dog. As much as I tried, Misty was my dad’s dog. She had bonded the most with him. Misty loved the family, but he was her person. Misty was a German Shepherd/Airedale mix, who loved car rides, got really excited to go on walks, loved people, and would howl when she heard sirens. She would hide her bones around the house and occasionally take a stuffed animal from my room and move it to somewhere else in the house. Her only downfall was her extreme dislike for other animals.
Misty’s behavior changed when I started sleeping in the recliner due to my severe back pain and later when I came home from the hospital. For my entire treatment, she never left my side. She sat by my chair in the family room, slept next to my bed at night, and would only leave my side to go outside for a walk. Our pets can be affected by a cancer diagnosis too.
When all was said and done, she returned to being my dad’s dog. I will always cherish the time she spent with me. She kept me company, was a comfort, and my guardian.
Cancer doesn’t just affect the individual; our pets can be affected by a cancer diagnosis too.