July 19, 2010
Man's Best Friend
Pet of the Week readers share how their dogs have helped them through good times and bad
Pet of the Week readers share touching stories with us on a weekly basis. While we can't fit every story into our weeky newsletter, we collected a few special stories about dogs and how they've helped their families. These dogs prove that they are "man's best friend" for a reason.
Jerre wrote to us in November 2008, when she had stage four cancer. Her "chemo companion" was Amazing Grace, and she had been with Jerre at every chemotherapy appointment she had.
"She has been with me in sessions of more than six hours without a sound," said Jerre. "She has attended every Relay For Life we have held in Greeley (Colo.) since I have had cancer."
Jerre passed away in February 2009. She was past director of the Weld County Humane Society and was involved with Denkai Animal Sanctuary in Grover, Colo.
Nola was adopted from an animal shelter by Charlotte in St. Michaels, Md.. Charlotte had been sick with spinal bifida and other related conditions.
"When I'm down, she's down ... and when I'm up, she is a happy dog," Charlotte said. "Many days, I laid in bed wondering why the painful fight was worth fighting. She kept my faith and kept me on my feet. Nola saved my life, in my opinion, making her a hero. We made it, she and I!"
"Libby has been our children's best buddy since day one," says Victoria in Donnellson, Iowa. "She keeps a watchful eye on our daughter, [and is] a constant friend and companion. She participated in Skype video calls to our son in Iraq, and cried while smothering him when he returned a year later."
"Bonnie Blue does such funny things in my life every day and gives me so much love," says Bunny Ann, an amputee in Ennis, Texas, who can not walk. "She is my soul companion and loves me unconditionally ... she loves me dearly, for she stays beside me all the time."
Lady is a Sheltie who came from a very abusive home to Uriah's home in Knoxvile, Tenn.
"She has taken to being a service dog for our 3-year-old special needs son, acting as a guard dog. She is aware of when our children are ill and has come to warn us [when] they are sick."
Meghan in Gallatin, Mo., has bipolar disorder. Eleven years ago, she was in a deep depression for more than a year.
"I couldn't work, I couldn't move, I couldn't think a thought. Nothing was helping—medications, therapy, psychiatrists, hospitals, even ECT," said Meghan. "At the time, I was living with my mother, and she thought getting me a pet of my own might help. That is when Penny came into our lives."
"At first I rejected her, but she waited for me, never gave up on me. Eleven years later and Penny and I share an apartment together. I am stable and volunteer at our area animal shelter. I am very interested in the movement for trained service dogs for people with psychiatric disorders."
Lauren in New Orleans, La., had two dogs the year before she adopted Jesse.
"Our hearts were broken because both beloved dogs died from cancer. They died five months apart. The first dog was older, 12, but the second was 5 and 1/2 years old."
Lauren said she wanted to get another dog right away, but didn't want to get one that could remind her and her husband of the two dogs they lost.
"When I saw Jesse (and he does resemble them in ways), I knew God had sent him to us ... He talked to me with his eyes from the very first time I visited with him at the shelter. I know that all pets are special, and the relationship between owners and their pets are all unique. I can only say that Jesse is a great light in our lives."
Ashleigh in Columbus, Ohio, found Sadie at the Franklin County Animal Shelter.
"She has since become my personal therapy dog, helping me with my anxiety attacks and lowering my stress levels. I am currently working with her to become a therapy dog for others. We would love to take her to retirement homes for others to enjoy. My fiancé and I will never be able to find a better dog as long as we live."
Judi adopted Abbey from an animal shelter in Burlington County, New Jersey. Judi had just lost her 18-year-old German shepherd/Siberian shepherd mix, who also was a shelter dog. Her husband and her father had recently passed away within two days of each other. "[Abbey] has been my rock in a stormy sea! She snuggles up to me each night and greets me when I come home from work like I'm the most important person in the world!
"She has my heart in the palm of her paw!"