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A Tribute to Bob: Our Rescue Cocker Spaniel

I wasn’t going to write a post so soon after my last post but felt a need to honor my dog, Bob, who passed peacefully into his next life. You’re likely wondering why the heck I’m writing about a dog on a breast cancer blog, so allow me to explain.

We adopted the “most unfortunate dog at the Humane Society” ten years ago. He came with pages of medical records and a host of health issues. Cocker spaniels were in fashion once and, as a result, lots of inbreeding happened, which also tends to increase the likelihood of health challenges. Nonetheless, at six years old (they think), we brought the little guy home, because we were empty nesters and my husband really, REALLY wanted a dog and Bob was smart enough to give Dan all kinds of attention at our meet-and-greet visit.

Bob was many things – motivated by food (he’d snatch that piece of pizza outta your hand if you weren’t looking), did not like water (hopped over the smallest puddles like a princess), and hated other dogs (but he loved his hoomans to eternity). He was also a great Project Pink’d volunteer, often accompanying us on our delivery routes, where he’d pose proudly for anyone who would notice.

What is most remarkable about Bob, however, is that he knew I had cancer before anyone else. As a non-dog person (no, seriously, I am), he loved to snuggle up to me more than anyone else, which I believe was his way of working his way into my heart. So, in the Spring of 2018, when he started acting out of character, I thought, “this is it….cocker rage” (it’s a thing), as he would just sit and stare at me in a very focused manner or would incessantly lick me instead of snuggling (BTW, we had an understanding that licking me was not allowed).

When I was finally diagnosed with breast cancer that summer and started to undergo treatment, the odd behavior and the licking stopped. Instead, he would sleep near me (when I was especially challenged with bone pain) or on me (when I was freezing cold). Whether I was falling asleep on the recliner, in the spare bedroom, or on the floor (yes, random falling asleep happens), no matter the time of day, he was always by my side.

I write this tribute to Bob because, unlike many hoomans, there are no expectations. You don’t have to send a thank-you note. You don’t have to engage in a conversation when you just want to ignore the world and sleep. You don’t have to make excuses for being a bit short in your tone because you’re experiencing pain for the umpteenth day in a row. Hair, no hair. Breasts, no breasts. Fat, skinny, short, tall, vegetarian, meat-eater, or cheese connoisseur…our furry friends love us unconditionally. So this post is a tribute to my guy…Bob.

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