Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How My Experience With Prostate Cancer Influenced My Decision To Get A New Puppy

On 6/4/13 My wife and I did something that defied logic. Let me re-phrase that. We used heart logic rather than head logic. On 6/3/13 we visited a pet store that sells puppies. We weren't in the market for a puppy we just wanted to see the breeds they were selling.

Visiting any place that has puppies is a dangerous activity for me because I have a soft spot for dogs. I usually find at least one I’d like to take home with me. Yesterday was not an exception to that rule. On our visit we saw a beautiful 7 month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  For years Brenda has longed for a Caviler King Charles Spaniel but the $1,500 price tag was more than we could afford.

This dog was much older than the all the other puppies in the store.  We were struck by the price tag. He was selling for 1/6 of the price we've seen  Cavaliers sell for.  Despite the deep discount and the fact that the dog was quite lovable, we made it out of the pet store that day with out taking him home.

The next day I called the pet store owner who happened to be the breeder as well. I wanted to know the dog’s history. There was no way I’d purchase a 7 month old dog who’d been in a cage by himself for 7 months. The owner/breeder  told me the following story:
The pup was sold when he was 7 weeks old. The women who purchased him was diagnosed with cancer shortly after she brought him home. She realized given her disease and the treatments she required there was no way she could take care of a puppy. She called the pet store and asked if they would take him back. They said they would.

He’d been back in the pet store for about a month. Since he was now 7 months old, they reduced the price so they could find him a new home quickly. On both our visits we noticed that Toby was very shy. Under normal circumstances I would not adopt a dog with his temperament.  Yet somehow, being  prostate cancer survivors, my wife and I felt a special bond to this pup who lost his home because his owner had cancer.  We took him home that day.

We also felt a bond to a woman we never met. She’s not only coping with a recent diagnosis of cancer, she is also coping with the loss of her beloved pet. Tomorrow I’m calling the pet store one more time. I’m hoping the owner/breeder has the previous owner’s phone number. We want to tell her that her dog has a new home where he’ll be well cared for and loved. We also want to ask her if she’s well enough and interested in having us visit with Toby.  I hope this will be possible.

As I reflect on the fact that I've got to train a new puppy who is going to require months of training, and who isn't housebroken, I wonder if I've lost my mind. Truthfully, I don't know if it was the compelling story, the amazing price, the fact that I'm a sucker for cute dogs, or a combination of all three that came together in a way that resulted in our making a 10-15 year commitment to love and care for Toby.

This much my wife and I agree upon, sometimes in life it’s important to throw logic out the window and listen to your heart. Because we did that, here's the newest member of our family.

After the call to the pet store I'll write a follow up note about our efforts to locate Toby's previous owner.