TO MAKING LIFE MY VACATION
WAS I THINKING?
looked out my hospital room window and seen a man walking
his dog in the rain, it made me realize how much I love
dogs. We always had a dog when I was growing up. When we
were first married, we had a yellow lab. After seven years
of allergic reactions from most of the family we had to
give it to a friend of ours. After a move to Baltimore from
Barrie Ontario, my wife, Julie, and I decided we needed
to get a dog. Our youngest son would watch animal planet
relentlessly and really wanted a dog. The boys had faint
memories of our lab, but really wanted a dog to be part
of their growing up.
of the main reasons deciding on the dog was to put a positive
spin on life and get the attention off myself and the cancer.
We had a few breeds to choose from that were hypo-allergenic.
We also wanted a larger dog so the boys could wrestle with
their pet. I couldn’t see a 6’6” and a
6’4” boy playing with a small dog.
ended up getting a standard poodle. We found a husband and
wife who had a small operation out of their house. Julie
and I went to their place and picked out the dog. A few
weeks later, we were out in the car, and we said to the
boys that we had to stop at a house where a friend of Mom’s
lived. The boys came into the house and discovered all these
8 week old puppies. Man were they cute! I picked up the
one we had chosen and put it in our youngest son, Jake’s,
arms. He was over the top with excitement! At this point,
he had no idea the dog he was holding was going to go home
with us. We asked the boys if they thought it would be neat
if we could take this guy home with us. They thought we
were kidding. When they realized we were serious, they were
the happiest guys on the planet! At
that particular moment, they had totally forgotten about
Dad and his cancer.
now on the centre of attention was the dog. Of course, you
know who has to walk it and clean up after it when the boys
were at school. At this point I was still at home. It was
very beneficial to my own recovery. I had something to look
after and it took the focus off of my suffering. By the
way, the dog’s name is Murray and he doesn’t
look like a poodle. He doesn’t have a froo froo haircut.
Somehow I couldn’t see the boys and I walking Murray
down the street with a fancy hair cut.
forward four years and I am diagnosed with another cancer.
I am scheduled to have my cancerous prostate gland removed
at the end of January. At this time in our life my wife
and youngest son were living in Orlando where Julie was
teaching at Lake Highland Prep and Jake was in his senior
year of High School. I was back in Ontario teaching and
commuting to Orlando every four weeks or so. It wasn’t
ideal, but it was the best for our son.
took two weeks off and came up to Ontario to be with me
for the operation. Prior to the operation, and after I was
diagnosed I started to think of another dog. We had seen
a relatively new breed of dog called a Golden Doodle. It
was hypo-allergenic and a large dog. To keep my mind off
the surgery, I spent a lot of time researching the dog and
finding a breeder that had a litter ready to go.
days after coming home from the hospital, Julie and I drove
an hour and a half to just look at the dog. You know what
happened next. Nobody goes and looks at a dog and comes
back empty handed. If you're lucky you leave with just one
dog. Was I loosing it? What was I thinking?
was a Sunday and Julie was going back to Orlando on Monday.
I still had my catheter in and it would stay in for another
week or so. I would be all alone with an 8 week old puppy.
Murray was in Orlando at this time. How would I manage?
It is hard enough training a puppy when you are 100%, let
alone recovering from a major operation.
name would be Fozzie Bear. Fozzie sped up my recovery 100
fold. If Fozzie hadn’t been there I would have spent
the next few months in bed. There would have been no reason
to get up and get going. The Foz Man made sure I was up
all the time. Keep in mind, this was February and it was
cold and snowy.
A good puppy is a tired puppy, so I took him for long walks
in thigh deep snow to tire him out. When he would sleep
in the afternoon, I would grab a power nap. The sound of
him going down on the floor to sleep was music to my ears.
in closing, I have had two cancers and now have two dogs.
We are not getting another dog as I don’t plan on
getting another cancer. So when I take Murray and Fozzie
Bear for long walks and it starts to rain I enjoy the time
in the rain because I will never forget the time when I
couldn’t be out walking in the rain.
Life Your Vacation!
TO MAKING LIFE MY VACATION