MY SERVICE DOG'S JOURNEY WITH MY CANCER

To my alarm, soon after I was diagnosed with the cancer, Sita began snapping at other dogs when they approached me. It happened several times and I was hysterical because this one vice could end her career as a service dog. I was driving my car with a friend who was a certified dog trainer in the passenger seat. I began to cry as I told her what was going on with Sita. As I told my story, Sita, who had been lying down in the back seat, reached her face over the front and nudged me to comfort me.

“There it is,” explained my friend. “You are anxious and upset after your mother’s death and the cancer diagnosis. She is picking up on all your emotions and trying to protect you the only way she knows how. If you calm down, she will.”

The light bulb illuminated in my head. I was so stressed out with the changes in my life I had almost ruined my dog. Besides, I was learning that being so worried made my health worse. I began to settle down and so did she.

When my chemo was switched to shots in the stomach, I feared she would become upset with this new type of treatment. I implored the staff to help me, and they did.  They take her for treats and pet her while I am getting the needles! And the patients love her!

As I think back over the 10 years I have had this beautiful creature, I reflect on how fortunate I really am, to have a dog who loves me unconditionally, to have a fantastic oncologist and staff to understand and help me and to be receiving a chemo that allows me to live a long life with my companion. I am truly blessed!