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Let's discuss the comfort of pets: Unconditional love and support during and after treatments

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The love and attention that pets provide can go a long way to comfort cancer patients as they go through treatment. Whether it’s a snuggle from a feline friend or the attentive companionship of a faithful dog, the unconditional love that pets give can provide emotional support during difficult times. And the physical needs of pets can also help to foster a healthy recovery by pushing patients to stay active and just keep going at times when that’s hard to do.

This month we asked our online community and Facebook fans to discuss the comfort a pet can bring during difficult times. We’ve compiled some of their thoughts to share with you.

Attentive companions

Online community member Beverly referred to her service dog as “dr dog” because prior to her cancer diagnosis her service dog began sniffing and pawing at the affected area on her leg. Many other community members wrote about the increased attentiveness of their pets during treatment. Westcoast2 spoke about being thankful for the company of two cats who “seem to know when I need an extra hug!”

Facebook fan Melanie called her pet cat her “chemo buddy” who “gave me the best snuggles and silent support” during treatment. Another Facebook friend, Jacqueline, said that although her cat is not usually cuddly, her pet became more so after her surgery and radiation treatments.

On the online community discussion thread, Windancer wrote that he feels he partially owes his life to his two Golden Retrievers. “I often felt that these dogs were dependent on me so I took them for a long walk of a mile or so each morning, thus giving them and more importantly me, exercise,” Windancer wrote.

Community member Timeout said a 5-month-old rescue puppy adopted a week before diagnosis helped during Timeout’s cancer battle. “In hindsight, my puppy saved me. She was my reason to get up when I felt like rolling over. We would exercise together. She needed me to be there for her. No matter what mood I was in, she was always happy to see me,” Timeout said.

Feeling needed by her sensitive kitty also helped Anneby during her recovery, she wrote on the online discussion thread. “It comforted me knowing that this little spirit still needs me and my attention. I felt that I could get over my pain to attend to her,” Anneby wrote.

Saying her new kitten was integral to her recovery from surgery earlier this year, HenPen wrote that her pet “did her best to purr me back to health.” Now that she is in palliative care, HenPen said she appreciates the attention and unconditional love of her lovely feline friend. “She still believes that purring will cure me. On good days I think she might be right,” HenPen wrote.

You can join our recent discussion to share your stories about how a pet has comforted you during difficult times. 



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