This is my dog, Beaker. My name is Lori and I am one of the founding members of Show Your Soft Side. I actually have several dogs, but this is a story about one in particular. One with a special mission.
You see, I recently learned I have cancer.
I got the diagnosis a few weeks ago and have recently started chemo. Lately I’ve noticed that Beaker has become especially needy. He follows me wherever I go, he snuggles with me more than than the other dogs and he cries when he can’t be near me. For that reason, I’ve taken to calling him “my cancer dog.”
Now, as with all rescue dogs, there is a back story to Beaker. He came from a a “Brady Bunch” situation where two families came together in marriage. One of the children thought it would be fun to hit Beaker with a stick. Beaker didn’t agree and he wound up biting the child. As folks in rescue know, once you bite a kid, you are always labeled as “child aggressive” and need to be placed in a home with no little ones around. That’s how he wound up with me.
The day we picked Beaker up, his mom told us about her battle with breast cancer. She was hysterical as she explained to us that Beaker had been her cancer dog and giving him up was devastating. I cried. My wife cried. We all cried as we thought about taking away such an emotional lifeline for this woman. It led us to break the golden rule of rescue – we promised her that we’d provide updates so she would always know how Beaker was faring. That promise seemed to bring the mom and her kids some degree of comfort.
So here we are four years later.
The other day, my wife sent the family an update about how Beaker was caring for me during my chemo treatments. They wrote back the kindest response saying that it was meant to be – Beaker had found his calling to now become a cancer dog for me. Beaker’s former mom told us she had just celebrated being five years cancer free. She wished me the best of luck on my battle and I told her that with a caregiver like Beaker I knew, I was going to be just fine.
Note: Beaker is doing his part, but we’re hoping you’ll also keep our girl in your prayers. Over the past 10 years, we have become family and we want nothing more than seeing Lori healthy and back in the saddle again.