Small Dogs Help Cancer Patients by Frankie Wallace |Published 06-04-2020
Cancer is a battle you never wanted to have to fight, but now you are in it, and you’re determined to win. The good news is you don’t have to fight your battle alone.
The support of friends, family, and healthcare providers is essential, of course. But we’re not talking about them. We’re talking about a little being that’s a lot smaller, a lot furrier, and, from ear tip to wagging tail, overflowing with joy.
If you’re fighting cancer, the prospect of welcoming a tiny fur baby into your life might feel overwhelming. But as you fight to regain your health, there is nothing like having a little ten-pound bundle of love right beside you.
This article will show how having a small dog may be the perfect prescription for your physical, emotional, and psychological health during what may be the most challenging time in your life.
If you’re facing a cancer diagnosis, you don’t need anyone to tell you that stress and anxiety are the prices of admission into this warriors’ club.
Studies show that one in three people with cancer will experience emotional distress during their treatment and recovery. The evidence also suggests that if you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or related psychological distress, you’re more likely to experience poor outcomes.
You may recover from treatments and procedures more slowly, and you may even have more frequent and more prolonged hospital admissions.
One of the best ways to manage anxiety is to get out and to be active. Regular, gentle exercise such as taking a walk around the neighborhood each evening, can help you control your anxiety and reduce your overall stress.
When you’re undergoing cancer treatment, though, it can be hard to find the physical stamina or even the mental wherewithal to get out and get moving.
If you’re a fur parent, though, you don’t have a choice. Nature’s call waits for no man or woman. Unless you enjoy your little Fifi, Bruno, or Chainsaw leaving presents around the house, you’re going to find the motivation you need to take that walk after all.
That means that you’ll be getting the benefits of regular physical activity, which supports your cardiovascular and immune health. You’ll also be working off those daily fears, worries, and frustrations that are part and parcel of living with a cancer diagnosis.
And you’ll have a reason to keep it up even when you may not much feel like it because you have a little life depending on you. Little Guido can give you the reason you need to get out of bed and through the front door when you can’t find much of one on your own.
Any fur parent knows that the benefits of having a pet are far more than physical. It’s not just about the physical activities involved in their care. It’s also about the social and the spiritual gifts that such unconditional love and such unmitigated joy provide.
When you have your fur baby with you, you’re just going to enjoy life more. Whether you’re sitting on the couch watching television or taking your fur child on her daily walks, you’ll have the best little companion in the world.
And as you get out into the fresh air and watch your fur child’s wonder as she explores the big world, you might just find yourself filled with wonder too. Their joy is contagious. Their cuteness is irresistible. You’ll also find yourself connecting with new people, thanks to that tiny fuzzy magnet by your side.
You’ll find yourself reminded to take joy in the present moment. Following the example of your wet-nosed little guru, you’ll forget to worry about tomorrow or regret yesterday.
In other words, you’ll learn to practice mindfulness because your furry companion will accept nothing less than your absolute attention.
Cancer is a cruel beast. It has no mercy, and it takes no pity. And the only way to fight it, to indeed win against it, is through the power of love, joy, and positivity.
As humans, those are gifts that can be hard to hold onto, especially in challenging times. As any pet parent knows, however, those are precisely the gifts animals bring to us in infinite amounts.
And it seems that the smaller the package, the greater the love, the more unrestrained the happiness.
The benefits that a small dog can bring to the life of someone fighting cancer are seemingly endless. Taking care of your fur child means getting the physical activity you need to build your strength and keep your body moving.
But even more important, your tiny housemate may also
become your greatest strength and your best teacher. They show you how to connect with others and
find joy in the moment. Your small dog will show you how love can and does cast
Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. If her spirit animal could be anything, it would be a beagle--inquisitive, and always searching for food.