When I go in for chemo, there are actually some lovely things that happen at the infusion center. The doctors and nurses are wonderful. There are also very sweet volunteers who take care of all the patients. They check to see if you need a drink or snack or lunch or a warm blanket. A lovely massage therapist stops in to see if you would like a hand massage. And then Sophie the therapy dog comes by, with her “person”. Sophie is gentle, will lay her head in your lap if you want her to and loves to be petted. You can hear how much the other patients love to see and pet Sophie.
I had the realization the other week. While I love to see Sophie, I am fortunate enough have my own “therapy dog”. No, she is not a trained therapy dog, but our dog Daisy is with me all the time. When I’m in the bed, she is laying at my feet. Especially on the days I really feel rough, she won’t leave my side. Other than to eat and go out. She is sweet and loving and knows that something is wrong. She’s my yellow shadow and I love her all the more for it.
Cancer is a lonely disease. While family and friends support and care for you, you are experiencing this alone. The friendships with folks who have walked in these shoes are invaluable. But the long days when you are just lying there, because that is all you feel like doing, are tough. And having a warm body lying in the bed with you is priceless.
This semi-large, constantly shedding, fuzzy animal that lives in my house brings us all joy. Just to pet her, helps us all to relax. She constantly makes us smile and laugh. She’s never turned down a belly rub, and loves oranges. Yes, oranges.
She’s sleeping beside me now, snoring and wagging her tail in her sleep. I have absolutely loved this dog from the beginning, but I had no idea how much she would help me. Who knew she would turn into our own therapy dog.
Photo by Dominique Attaway ~ www.dominiqueattaway.com