Cancer RehabilitationSlideshowsWeb Exclusives

Pet Therapy

This slideshow features stories about patients with cancer and the support provided by their pets.
Web Exclusives – May 4, 2017

  • Open Pet E1493916686627
    We know how much pets mean to people. As such, we are launching our new slideshow feature, A New Leash on Life. These occasional slideshows feature people’s stories about how their pets helped them get through their battle with cancer. In addition, we are sharing how therapy dogs are comforting people during their struggles.
  • Emily Elinor 2final
    As Emily Grace sat on the couch and the pup was placed on her lap, she looked at her mother, Tara Geraghty, with wide eyes. “Look mom! She has a large scar across her stomach!” (The dog had just been spayed.) “Just like mine!” exclaimed Emily Grace. “And her nose…look, her nose has a scar on it too!” “Em pointed to the similar circle scar on her chest from her Broviac implant,” says Tara. “Well that was it. There was no way I could deny they were meant to be together. Later we found even more similarities. Both had experienced trauma, and both in the month of January, just different years. My miracle kid, Emily Grace, and her dog, Miss Elinor Shiatsu.”
  • Darla Final
    “My dog Darla is a trained therapy dog,” states Peg Rummel. “She has started to come to our cancer center to provide support to both our patients and all of the caregivers. She comes once a week with me to my work and provides support to anyone who wants to visit. l am a nurse navigator, and I let everyone know when the therapy dog will be in. Many of the providers come and see her to destress and regroup. In the short time I have been doing this, she has made a huge difference. She even has friends on Facebook!”
  • Sysko Final
    “Sixteen years ago I went through surgery, chemo, and radiation for breast cancer,” explains Amy Barris. “My beautiful yellow lab, Sysko, never left my side. He never asked to be walked when I was too weak. He stayed in bed with me on my bad days. When I finally finished, he helped me regain my strength by walking. He was my training partner for my first 60-mile breast cancer walk. He crossed the rainbow bridge in 2005. He helped me heal in ways no human could have. He is always in my heart.”
  • Kendra V2
    “To say Calvin was my rock is an understatement,” says Kendra Branch. “He was my entire world during my cancer life. Every day he would provide me with strength, determination, and motivation. His absolute favorite thing was nap time, something I desperately needed daily during chemo treatments. We would snuggle under a blanket, and as the pain medication lulled me to sleep, he would be snoring in the crook of my arm. His fur held my saddest tears during some of my darkest days. I was his person and he was my everything.”
  • Kellie Bandit
    Kelli Coppinger and her daughter, Brianna (Bri), took a very sad, exhausting family cancer experience and created a positive one by training their dog, Bandit, to comfort patients and their families in the hospital in hopes of giving patients a reprieve from their concerns and anxieties. To learn more about the Coppinger family’s poignant story, click on the image above.

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Last modified: October 5, 2017

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