Our Other Cancer Companions

In a recent newsletter, I invited subscribers to send me photos of their special non-human cancer companions. My dogs Elsie and Sophie have been such special eye witnesses and secret keepers for me, and I thought what a great chance for us all to share about these wonderful creatures who are part of our lives when we are at our most vulnerable.

So, thank you to those of you who sent me photos. I loved looking at every one of them. I whittled things down and picked a few to share based on who sent them in first.

I would be more than willing to do this again sometime down the road if there’s interest. So let me know. I love involving you, my Dear Readers, whenever I can.

Are you ready for some cuteness? 

Here are the featured pets for this go-round! 


The sweet girl above is Abbey the Airedale Terrier. She belonged to Linda who had this to say about her sweet girl:

Abbey was diagnosed with lymphoma a week before I found the lump in my breast. We went through chemo together and she died a week before my last infusion. She didn’t leave my side for 7 months.  

Next is Barkely, the rescue dog. Isn’t he a sweetheart?


Barkely’s owner is Lesley who had this to say about her guy:

We got him from the shelter when I was in the midst of chemo in 2013. He immediately became my companion and never left my side, especially on VERY bad days. To this day, he is never far from me. I am still in treatment and always will be because I have metastatic breast cancer, but that doesn’t stop Barkley and I from living and thriving. Back in January, we both took up hiking and every week, you can find he and I on a trail, climbing a mountain or to a peak. The highest he has climbed with me is 8900 feet and the longest hike we did together was 18 miles. He is a ROCK STAR!! And I love him just like one of my kids.  

Gail wanted to share photos of all three of her wonderful corgis who have helped her through her cancer maze. The first is Cane and what a special boy he was to Gail’s family. Corgis are so adorable, right?



Here are Gail’s thoughts about her sweet Cane.

Cane became a part of our family in May 2009 at the age of 3. A week later I found out my breast cancer had metastasized to my liver and numerous lymph nodes. He was the best thing that could have entered our lives at such a difficult time. He was by my side from the start, such a comfort and joy! Unfortunately Cane passed away on Jan. 4, 2014 from cancer. We were heartbroken and miss him every day.

And then there are these two delightful members of Gail’s family…


Here’s what Gail had to say about these two dear ones:

Poppet (on the left) joined our family at the age of 4 in August 2010. She was Cane’s buddy and my sweetest girl. She became depressed when Cane died and was so sad. She seemed so lost. On the right is Bodi and he turned 1 on Dec. 8, 2014. He keeps us all on our toes, Poppet included, and makes us laugh again. I don’t think there will ever be another dog like Cane but these two bring us so much joy in our lives. Sometimes I think Cane sent Bodi to us. Bodi even does a couple of quirky things that Cane did and that makes me smile.

And of course, our special companions are not always dogs. Rebecca had some special friends who helped her through cancer treatment. Rebecca blogs at The Small C.

One was her cat Nelly.


Rebecca shared this about her sweet Nelly:

She held me during chemo treatments by placing her arms around me.

I have to say the photo below gave me a smile and a chuckle too.


This is Bingobella and Rebecca had this to say about her:

Hearing her loud voice, all the time, reminded me I had reasons to be well.

And here are Rebecca’s other two fur babies, Layla and Basil.


About these two Rebecca shared this:

Basil’s flirtatious behavior made me smile during treatment and Layla always kept me company and made me smile as well.

Carol, who authored the book, Metastatic Madness, was eager to share about her special companion, Flora, pictured below.


Carol’s words convey how special Flora is to her:

I don’t know what I’d do without my companion & chemo buddy Flora. We took her in seven years ago. She had been abandoned and abused. At the time, I didn’t know I had cancer. But I suspect she did. She bonded to me immediately. Throughout my treatment, she stuck very close, never letting me out of her sight. She’s still that way. She’s the best friend I could ever ask for and is tuned into my mood and physical changes. Everyday at 3 pm, she starts to let me know it’s time for a nap or a rest period. She’ll whine & circle me ’til I head for the bedroom. Then she lies down and relaxes once I’m there. It’s a good thing because sometimes I ignore the signs that I need a rest. I love her so much and am so grateful she came into my life.
And here is one more sweet face no one could resist, right?

This is Christine’s sweet Boston terrier, Daisy.  Boston terriers are wonderful dogs. My family had one once. Christine had this to say about Daisy:

 She was only a pup when I was diagnosed at the end of Oct 2014. But she knew when she had to be gentle with me due to surgeries and when I wasn’t feeling good while going through chemo she would just lay with me and cuddle all day. Love her to pieces.
Thank you for sharing your pet photos everyone!
This post is dedicated to all the special pet cancer companions out there, including my two girls, Elsie and Sophie.
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Because we love and appreciate our non-human cancer companions too.

Do you have (or have you had) a special pet who helps/helped you through cancer and/or other challenges?

If there were no obstacles of any sort, what kind of pet would you choose to have, if any?

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19 thoughts to “Our Other Cancer Companions”

    1. Stacey, Thank you for sharing about your Mocha. What a sweetie and isn’t it amazing how she communicates so much with her eyes? Your blog post was a delight to read. Thank you for sharing the link.

  1. Hi Nancy,

    I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this post. It made me smile from ear to ear. I loved all the pictures and the stories behind them. What treasured, wonderful animals. And I totally believe animals can sense our suffering and can help us, maybe even more than some humans can. I blogged about my special pet here as you know: http://bethgainer.com/pet-therapy/

    1. Beth, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was great fun to get the photos and comments and share them. I believe in ‘pet power’ too. There’s nothing quite like it. Thank you for sharing your link.

    1. Lindsay, I thought that was a sweet comment and a sweet photo too. And I totally agree that small pets are special too. It’s not about size at all. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Yup, I’ve got a couple of heart <3 dawgs <3

    One that used me as a springboard after cuddling to jump off the couch which resulted in my breast swelling, no she didn't cause my cancer, the inflammation would lead to the discovery of an 8cm mass which had gone undetected via several earlier mammograms and checkups.

    The other would prove to be my Knight in Shinning armor, qualifying twice for the Master National under limited to no training, allowing me to live my life uninterrupted. Taking him hunting before chemo in order to distribute smoked Pheasants at my infusion treatments. Just being me.

    1. Diane, Being you. Being me. That’s what it’s all about. And your dogs have undoubtedly been wonderful companions for you in everything, including cancer. They are such sweethearts all the way around. And interesting story there about how your mass was discovered. Remarkable really. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  3. I saw this post when I got home after my colposcopy procedure and it drastically changed my mood. I smiled for a while. This is why animals are so especial. They can bring us light during the darkest moments.

    These are some sweet looking animals with a special power to heal.

    I am sorry for the loss of some of them but they live forever in our hearts.

    Thank you for this wonderful post and for including my fury babies, Nancy.

    1. Rebecca, Well, I guess my timing for this post was perfect then. So glad reading it brought you a smile. And yes, pets no longer with us most certainly do live forever in our hearts. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of including photos and comments about your pets in my post.

  4. A lovely post Nancy. I have cats. Wonderful, eccentric, cuddly cats. They are never far from me and seem to know when some quiet reflection and purring affection matter more than anything else 🙂

    1. Tracy, Thank you for reading. I have come to appreciate cats more since adopting our Ninja. They are pretty terrific too. I’m glad you have some cuddly cats to turn to when a bit of purring affection is exactly what you need. Thanks for sharing about them.

  5. Love this post. My dogs are my company while I am home healing. They are probably tired of me kissing their furry little heads when I am curled up with them on the couch. We are going to get another puppy soon, since I don’t need sleep. 😉 Ha!

    1. Mandi, I’m sure your dogs never tire of you kissing their furry little heads. How exciting that you are thinking about getting another puppy. Can’t wait to hear more about that. Thank you for reading and commenting too.

  6. Lovely blog. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to let my best friend sit on me during chemotherapy. Looks like it is fine. Phew! Mine starts on Wednesday

    1. Julie, Your best friend will be a wonderful source of support and comfort, of this I am sure. Good luck on Wednesday and beyond. Thanks for reading.

  7. I do, His name is “Cowboy”, I renamed him after my boyfriend of 13 years just up & left Me when I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Stage 111C -breast cancer. Ex had named him “Hellboy” but I changed it to “Cowboy”. “Cowboy” will be 13 at the end of June 2019. I was diagnosed in 2014, we had another dog “Bruno” our Pit bull, with the sweetest demeanor ever! He bonded to Me, even before the doctor told Me I had cancer, I believe Bruno sensed the cancer. We had to put Bruno down in October of 2018, he was 9 yrs. because he had many medical issues…My heart is broken because we got Bruno when My eldest Son Stephen passed away from colon cancer at the young age of 28 in 2009. Bruno would just look into my eyes like he understood everything I was going through. God bless all God’s creatures, forever & a day! Love from “Sunshine” Janet

  8. Linda,
    I feel so badly about Abbey, your Airedale who died of lymphoma. So beautiful that she did not leave your side for the entire 7 months. Dogs are such wonderful creatures.


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