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A Different Kind of Optimism

As many of you may know, one of my biggest cancer “pet peeves” (nice pun since today’s post centers around my pets) is the positive attitude thing. You know the one. The one that implies if you just stay positive enough, you can beat cancer.

Umm, no, obviously this is not true, but still the subtle message is out there, unintended or not.

This does not mean I am a pessimist or a negative person. I’m neither. As I keep saying, I think of myself as a realist.

But what does this have to do with today’s post?

Just for fun, and OK maybe to brag just a little about my dogs, today I’m sharing an article I wrote (about optimism no less!) that was recently published in Animal Wellness Magazine.

I’m mentioning the positive attitude thing because if you choose to read the article, you will notice that under the photo it says, “Sophie and Elsie help the author maintain a positive attitude.”


When I read that, of course it rubbed me the wrong way… I know, I know. I’m too sensitive, but I can’t help it.

I only inserted one teeny-weeny sentence about my cancer in the article (it was even in parentheses) and lo and behold, the editor made the leap to the positive attitude thing…

Go figure.

So just a head’s up, those particular words were the editor’s words, not mine. Editors always have the last say. I would have said something slightly different…

Oh well.

Below is the link if you’d like to read about “optimism of a different kind.” If you do, I hope you enjoy the article as much as I enjoyed writing and sharing it.


Do you have a special pet?

Has your pet helped you cope with cancer, or any difficult situation?

(Am I too sensitive?)

Reprinted with permission of Animal Wellness Magazine. @2009,

John Joseph

Saturday 21st of April 2012

There’ll be driftwood powder to burn on logs And a shaggy rug for a couple of dogs, Boreas, winner of prize and cup, And Mickey, a lovable gutter-pup. Thoroughbreds, both of them, right from the start, One by breeding, the other by heart. There are times when only a dog will do For a friend . . . when you’re beaten, sick and blue And the world’s all wrong, for he won’t care If you break and cry, or grouch and swear, For he’ll let you know as he licks your hands That he’s downright sorry . . . and understands.

From The Vagabond's house by Don Blanding

God Bless


Sunday 22nd of April 2012

John, Thank you for sharing the wonderful poem. Clearly you know where I'm "coming from."

Beth L. Gainer

Wednesday 18th of April 2012

I can't wait to read your article, Nancy! Yes, one of my pet peeves is the think positively attitude. Can't stand that. I do think a positive attitude is important, but I don't think a person lives or dies based on positive outlook.

As far as your dogs are concerned, all I can say is awwwww....

My cat helped me through chemo and cheered me up when I cried. She is so wonderful.


Thursday 19th of April 2012

Beth, We didn't have our cat, Ninja, yet when I wrote the article. She's a real snuggler, so she would have been a great chemo companion too. Pets are great for helping us cope with whatever life throws our way. I'm glad you have such a wonderful cat. Thanks for commenting and I hope you like the article.


Tuesday 17th of April 2012

Nancy, what a great philosophy you have. You made me laugh out loud with the "am I too sensitive" comment. Sensitive, shmensitive - keep owning your gut responses. Thank you for being you.

Pets are a wonderful gift during stressful days - they take us out of ourselves and connect us with another. My boy, Monty, is old, deaf, blind and grumpy, but the thing he seems to love most still is being able to curl up on the floor near someone he loves. Connections go both ways.


Tuesday 17th of April 2012

Cyn, Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I'm glad this post gave you a laugh. Pets do exactly what you said, take us out of's nice to have another living being to focus on and also to have them focus on us. Sometimes a non-human can really fill this role nicely. Your boy Monty sounds wonderful. Pets become even more special as they get older don't they? And you're right, the connections go both ways.


Monday 16th of April 2012

Oh, Nancy it was a lovely article. The dogs are beautiful!!


Monday 16th of April 2012

Yvonne, Thank you for reading my article. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Do you have pets?

Jan Baird Hasak

Sunday 15th of April 2012

Nancy, you are not sensitive. By no means! I'm also a realist, but not everyone likes that flavor of personality. Too bad, I say. Positive attitude just doesn't cut it for me.

Congrats on the article! That's fantastic. As to pets, my husband has both our dogs now. I miss them, but they are too big to live in my apartment. When I want pet therapy I go to my friend's house. She has two adorable cats that purr on when I pet them. Their purrs spur me on and keep me going. Thanks for the great post! xxx


Monday 16th of April 2012

Jan, Thanks so much. I bet you do miss your dogs. I'm sorry you had to leave them. I'm glad you get to borrow your friend's cats for a little pet therapy from time to time.

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