Now that the writing block is breaking up, here are a couple of cool opportunities you might want to check out.
1. Dogs and Cancer Research Study
I’ve almost always had dogs around in my life. There was Toby, my parent’s first ‘kid’ who was a spunky little Boston Terrier that felt she could take on the world. After Toby, there was Muffin, another Boston Terrier, that had some mental issues, but brought energy and companionship to the family. My grandparents also had dogs as I was growing up from Chris the Dog (not to be confused with Chris My Cousin) and Dawny to Lady and Lucy. My favorite memories of Chris and Dawny were how when my sister and I were little they would tow us in from the raft when we were swimming at the Cottage. There was also my first dog, E.B. She was a gift from my sister and high school boyfriend my junior year of high school–and the best form of birth control any potential grandparent could ask for! 🙂 A border collie/German shepherd mix, E.B. grew to 85 pounds and lived almost 17 years.
Terry is very allergic to dogs and cats and dust and lots of other things and so when we married 8 years ago, I assumed we would not have dogs. Well, fast forward to my ‘moving in’ trip to NOLA 4 years ago. I flew into Louis Armstrong Airport and Terry (who at this point had been working in New Orleans for 2 months) picked me up and informed me we were going to meet a ‘friend’. Very odd when we ended up at the SPCA–and even stranger when we both fell in love with a beautiful border collie and adopted her out of the shelter. Zoey has been the best dog (except when she is jumping the fence to run after cats or barking at anyone that walks by the house) and was surprisingly important to my coping with cancer. She was loyal, non-judgemental, comforting and didn’t ask for much in return as I was going through the process–other than a good belly rub.
Nancy at Nancy’s Point brought a cool survey to my attention this past week researching the benefits of dogs when someone has cancer.
“Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Ithaca College are conducting a survey of individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer in order to understand their experiences with their dogs. If you are over age 21 and have been diagnosed with cancer within the past two years and have a dog, you are eligible to complete a 20-30 minute survey about your experiences. Please follow this link for more information and to participate in the survey: http://tinyurl.com/VCUDogSurvey. Every person who completes the study is eligible for a $10 gift card.”
I took the survey and found that it has helped me see how important Zoey–and our newest addition, Bleu–have been to my healing process.
So, if you are someone who has been diagnosed with cancer in the past two years and has a dog, consider doing this survey. And if you know someone who fits the criteria, feel free to forward the survey.
2. Girls Love Mail
Don’t get me wrong, I like social media a great deal. I love email messages and something as simple as having friends hit the ‘like’ button on Facebook can make my day. However, there is something visceral and special about receiving mail through ‘snail mail’ and the post office. Yes, I appreciated the email and Facebook messages I received after I let people know about my diagnosis, but those friends and family members that came through with cards and goodies through the mail will always hold a special place in my heart.
I was excited then to read The Pink Underbelly’s post Girls Love Mail. It turns out a breast cancer survivor, Gina Mulligan, has started a charity where hand-written letters of support are sent to newly diagnosed women with breast cancer, offering encouragement and support. The Girls Love Mail website explains that anyone can volunteer to write letters of support, including survivors, friends and even groups such as Girl Scout troops. The 2013 goal is to send a mile of letters and they are already 3,321 letters into their 5,280 goal!