This past week my dog, who already has health issues, was diagnosed with non-malignant skin cancer. It was a “good” diagnosis because non-malignant cancer is better than the malignant kind. It was also good news to hear that the cancer is localized to the tumor and has not spread to the bone (that would really suck).
While my dog being sick is a horrible thing, it made me think of all the years he has been in our family. My wife and I have had him longer than we have had our kids, and a few months short of the time we have been married. Our dog has shared our pain and our happiness, our joy and our sorrow. He had shared the birth of our children and the purchase of our house. He undoubtably has helped make our house our home. He has been our companion in times of loneliness and sorrow as well as shared the happy times we spend with friends and family.
I specifically remember having to go out and walk the dogs (yea, I have 2 of them) on the days following 9/11. This was before we had kids and I recall enjoying these walks even more than usual. The dogs provided a sense of normalcy during those restless days in NYC. It was a potent form of therapy that helped me cope with the events. The beauty of dogs is that they seem to sense when us humans need a little extra love. Their calmness and tenderness can go a long way; maybe that is why they are so often used in therapies.
Like many dog owners do, I regularly take my dogs for granted. Sometimes it take an illness to see the true meaning of things, but it is these ordinary things in daily life, like my dog napping by my feet that makes life worth living.
Thanks for reading.
Originally posted 2011, imported May 2013