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Don’t Forget the Pets!

After my cancer diagnosis I didn’t feel very thankful. When I started chemo, I couldn’t wait for fall and winter to arrive. I just wanted summer to be over and the sooner the better. “I wish it was Halloween,” I said more than a few times to my family over the course of the summer months. Time couldn’t go by quickly enough for me then.

Despite the fact that following a cancer diagnosis it sometimes feels as if time stands still, it doesn’t of course, and the holidays are  upon us. This Thanksgiving I have much to be thankful for. Along with the usual things like family and friends, this year I am thankful to be on the other side of treatment, most of it anyway, and hopefully for good. I certainly have a greater appreciation for my family and life in general.

This week we are dog and cat sitting (the grandchildren as David likes to call them) for my daughter and her boyfriend. Ace, their big black-labbish mutt, along with Scout and Beamer, their two cats, are managing to liven things up around here a bit. In addition to my two sons, my dad and brother are also spending Thanksgiving with us, as well as their three cairn terriers; Mandi, Radar and Echo. So including Elsie and Sophie, our two dogs, we will have a grand total of eight animals at our Thanksgiving! The animals will outnumber the people!

Having all of these animals around makes me realize once again just how thankful I am to have always had four-legged critters in my life. While I am more of a dog person, (dare I say it?) I am even coming to enjoy having the cats around.

Pets are amazing. Mine have always served as sort of “therapists” to me over the years, but even more so after my mother’s cancer diagnosis and then my own. 

My mother loved dogs and we always had dogs when I was growing up. In fact, one of the greatest gifts she gave me was this crazy love of dogs. Dogs (and all pets) teach us a lot about living and dying and about what is important and what is not.

Sometimes your dog can seem like your best and only friend. Your dog doesn’t care if you failed your driver’s test, didn’t get that A, didn’t get that job, gained ten (or more) pounds, if you are tired, cranky, distracted, sad, afraid, sick or even dying. Your dog will love you no matter what. Dogs are loyal companions who love you for no particular reason other than that you are in their lives and take care of them.

Most people believe dogs do not feel the same emotions that people do. That is probably true; however, I believe my dogs do feel empathy and even compassion for me and others in their lives. I witnessed it firsthand the day I received my cancer diagnosis. They didn’t know what was going on that day, but they knew it was something serious.

 No, pets don’t understand the reasons for our moods and they don’t even need to. Just like with any good friend, they don’t need to know all the details, they are just there for you no matter what. I have looked into the eyes of my dogs and seen genuine care and concern there, more clearly than in the eyes of some people. You can’t fake that. Yes pets make life richer, at least mine do, most of the time anyway. If you don’t have a pet, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

That’s why today and every day,  along with all my other blessings, I am thankful for the pets in my life.

 HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY! And don’t forget to be thankful for the pets in your life!

Do you have a special pet now or did you at one time? Are you a dog person or a cat person? Or why do you prefer to not have a pet? (Yes, that’s OK too!)


 Sophie and Elsie


Beamer and Scout


The cairn trio

(bottom to top) Radar, Mandi, Echo

radiology technician

Saturday 4th of December 2010

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it


Monday 29th of November 2010


I can't believe how many pets you have! You must be terribly patient. Sometimes I could hardly handle the one I had! My family had two dogs while my brther and I were growing up. The first was a black lab named Dixie (we first kept her original name of Princess, but then my mom was putting away the groceries and saw the brand Dixie written on some paper cups!). She was my first pet, and I still miss her to this day! Such a great dog. She died of hepititus when I was 9. That was my first real loss. So devastating to a little girl!

Our second dog was an alaskan husky mix named Shadow-- he always followed my dad around like his shadow! He was never too obidient so my mom and I didn't take to him too fast, but he eventually grew on us. He could always feel my mom's pain and snuggled with me whenever I was feeling down. He could sense our feelings completely! He died a year after my mom from cancer as well. I actually had a dream about him the other night. My dad thought it was hilarious. I'll have to blog about it :-)

Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to have my own first dog. Hopefully within the next year!


Monday 29th of November 2010

Hi Sami, Yes, pets certainly teach us a lot about loss as well as life. If you grew up with a pet like you and I did, you never forget when you "lost" them. I'll look forward to that blog about Shadow!

Amanda Steiner

Monday 29th of November 2010

I have one dog and one cat. They are both great pets and I was thankful to see them when I got home from work on Thanksgiving. I once dog sat 5 dogs and a puppy at one time, but I think you guys have me topped. That's a lot of animals to keep track of and feed!

On another note, I'm happy to announce that Tyler John S. was born on Thanksgiving Day! Every one is happy and healthy and home for the holidays!


Monday 29th of November 2010

Hi Amanda, Hope you had a great TG! It is nice to have pets to come home to isn't it? It does get a bit crazy first thing in the morning when they all get up, need to get out and all want to eat at the same time! Congratulations on the new family addition! Another little boy, how nice! And on TG day! Enjoy your additional aunt duties!

Anna Rachnel

Saturday 27th of November 2010

Hi Nancy....just gotten back from lovely vacation away with the family and am catching up on all the blogs so belated Happy Thanksgiving to you ! It's funny, although my hubby and I were definitely happy to get away, a change of scenery was very much needed after the last few weeks that we have had, at times all we could think of was how much we missed our naughty little doggie. When everything else seems so chaotic and out of control, that little dog is such a constant joy in our lives, I often think where would we be without him. After a week at the doggie motel, he's back in his rightful place at my husband's side on our old sofa, and just for a second all seems right with the world.

Anna Rachnel

Sunday 28th of November 2010

Let's just say that most of my shoes have soles with bites out of them, I am barked at belligerently like clockwork every day at 9am and 4pm, and I quite often find myself sleeping on a sliver of my king-size bed, all this from a pint-sized little ragamuffin......but I do LOVE him so ! ;)


Sunday 28th of November 2010

Anna, Belated TG to you as well! It's so nice to hear how much you care for your "naughty little doggie." What naughty things does he do anyway? Glad you had a chance to get away for a bit. Sometimes our dogs help us to see those few moments when all is right with the world as you said.


Saturday 27th of November 2010

Thanks for taking such good care of my babies! They love visiting your house! They think it is a very fun and exciting place!


Saturday 27th of November 2010

Hi Lindsay, You're welcome! We love having the "grandkids." They are being very good (even Beamer as long as we don't turn our backs on him when there is food around!) They are all really tired at night from keeping track of each other all day long!

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