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Your best friend, companion and greatest listener might be the one who snuggles up with you during a nap, can't wait to take a walk in the afternoon, and gives you big sloppy kisses or purrs when you let them know how much you love them. For those of you have a pet, you know what I'm talking about.
Research has shown time and again that there are positive benefits to having a pet in the home when you're going through a health crisis or dealing with a chronic disease. The positive benefits are true for all age groups, from young children through adults.
Some of the benefits include: decreased level of anxiety and despair, increased feelings of well being, increased social functioning, and increased mental capabilities. In other words, having a pet present can really make a difference in your daily quality of life.
They are a source of comfort and unconditional love; they require nurturing and attention (which takes the focus off of you and on to them for a while). Having a pet can also give you a sense of safety and security. A true companion at any time you might need it!
I would love to hear from those of you who have pets in your life. Share your stories with each other on how having a pet as a cancer survivor has helped you.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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The best gift that I received on my recovery from Cancer was my lovely dog, he is just great in every way and certainly has helped me along great. I would not be where I am today only for him. So this is one of the best gifts ever!!
ABSOLUTELY AGREE! MY 2 MUTTS GIVE ME SO MUCH BACK...I FEEL NEEDED, LOVED AND APPRECIATED. THEY KNOW WHEN I DON'T FEEL WELL. THEY SLEEP CLOSE BY AND THEN ONE GETS DOWN TO HIS OWN BED DOWN AT THE FOOT OF MY BED. THEY NEED ME TO FEED THEM, MAKE SURE THEY HAVE FRESH WATER, ETC..IT GIVES A PURPOSE TO TRY AND BE STRONG. I LOVE THOSE MUTTS!!
I thank God everyday for my baby boy Buddy he is a bulldog puggle who has pulled me out of very bad depression. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer have had chemo, surgery twice and now dealing with terrible nerve damage. Having buddy to take care of has been a blessing . He forces me to get out of bed and to stop feeling sorry for myself I truly don't believe I could have gone through this without him. He knows I'm not well and comforts me in way that I can't even explain ,I encourage anyone going through this to go and adopt a dog or cat it will be great treatment and help your recovery.
One of the first things I did when I got home after having my last chemo treatments was to get a puppy. I already had 2 wonderful dogs, but I wanted the puppy and I promised him that I would do my very best to stay alive as long as he does. He is so funny and keeps me laughing all the time. He really perked up the two older dogs too. They are little angels that help me on this journey.
During my radiation and chemo for rectal cancer both my miniature Daschunds, Alfa and Romeo, would snuggle up to my lower back to keep me warm and help with healing. They would help me thru the sleepless nights. Always ready with a kiss. They knew where the problem was. They are my happy place.
I have to thank my Pomeranian Brandy for being with me thru my bout with Breast Cancer.
I called her "Nurse Brandy" because she was always by my side. She was very comforting, I would talk to her and sometimes cry and she would give me a kiss like she was telling me I would be ok She is the BEST gift my husband has given me. Mommy Loves her little Sweetheart (Brandy).
My cat is my best friend these days & nights. Intially was told by Oncologist to get rid of cat & litter. I did but after 4 weeks I saw him at the humane shelter deathly ill with upper respiratory problem. I asked to have him back. They were "happy" to do that. He is well again & rescuing me...
8 months ago a little puppy was dropped in front of our house in the scorching louisiana heat, we brought her in and instantly fell in love! i named her Penny and at 23 lbs. and 1 year old she is the absolute joy of our home-jack russell mix- heaven sent ? YES-3 months ago diagnosed with scc of the epiglottis deciding on treatment direction as we speak but i can tell Penny is so loving i just cant believe i feel this way about this pup, she is in our life for a reason!
My 2 ''boys'',Milo the cat and Stitch the chihuahua are MY REASON for living and fighting my ovarian cancer and maybe, not test confirmed yet, leukemia. Despite my medical condition I am living happy everyday !
I feel really lucky... I was going through a very difficult time... I was extremely depressed and scared because for the first time in my life the next day was scarier than the last, life felt like it was too hard to continue on. I had a massive panic attack at my parents house and they called in a crisis team. Thanks to their recommendation along with the encouragement of my therapist I went and got a dog the very next day. I credit my yorkie with saving my life. I had to live every day because she depended on me.... I had to get out of bed because she needed me... I focused on the cute things she did rather than on the things I was worried about. Since then, I have become an entirely new person... I am happy and healthy and I smile every day because my yorkie saved my life and introduced me to a new community of people that I had so much in common with instantly! I am so thankful I was encouraged to get a pet... it was the decision that saved my life.
Undoubtfully my two cats have been my greatest support. They are attuned to my low times and often stay close by me throughout the night when I am having a dark time.
I cannot question their tangible love and supportive wishes for me to keep keeping on.
I rescued an abused beautiful little 7 pound 4 year old Maltese just a year and a half prior to my diagnosis for breast cancer. She was by my side and faithful companion through my entire cancer ordeal. Once successfully in my remission, my fur baby was diagnosed with a neurological problem which prevented her from walking. She became paralyzed and had heart problems. We had to have her put down a couple of weeks ago. It has broken my heart. But in the end, I realize that God gave her to me on loan. We healed each other. By her passing, Muffie knew her job here was done. I'm in remission now. I take comfort in knowing that I gave her the love and caring she needed, just as she gave me in my critical time. Her loss has devastated me so much more than cancer ever could. It is still so fresh. Her memory makes me think of the good times over the bad now.
I have 2 beautiful and loving English Springer spaniels who were by my side every step of the way while I healed from my Bladder cancer surgery and chemo. Without them it would have been very difficult. Their non-stop love and care is irreplaceable.
Cancer for the rich. Wonderful!! Now what about the rest of us who get cancer and as a result are hit hard financially to the point where we have to give our pets up. Yeah - pets may help us through having cancer but cancer does nothing to help us keep our pets.
HELLO IM A CANER SURVIOR JUST FINSH MY CHEMO TREMANT'S ON FEB 13/ 20011 AND MY RADISCTION ON MARCH 23/211 ,I ALSO HAVE A PET HE MAKES ME FEEL WANT IT AND LOVE AND I CAN TALK TO HIM ABOUT HOW I FEEL AND HE IS THERE FOR ME.
I have my 3rd renal cancer (in lungs this time). I have a black rabbit age 5, a black lab age 3, and a tabby, age 2. This winter, they have been indoors with me, so they have never let me be sad.
Today I had to put my best friend, Miss Kitty, to sleep after 16 years of devoted love and companionship. It was such a difficult decision because my furry friend had been my source of support and love, and quite frankly I'm not sure what I will do without her. Four years ago I was diagnosised with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Miss Kitty was always there as a source of healing for my aches and pains, a listener when I was feeling frustrated or angry about my situation, or a comforter to give me a rub on the leg, a nudge on the chin or sense of warmth and love as she sat on my lap or slept on my bed every night I will miss her terribly and wonder tonight how I will replace my devoted caregiver. On the days I felt the worse I always knew I was needed by her to take care of her needs and that gave me a sense of purpose and reason to stay positive about why I needed to stay strong and healthy for her. I know it will take awhile to grieve her loss, but in time I know I will find another kitten to fill the void. A pet's unconditional love is a very important aspect of the healing for a cancer patient and/or survivor.
I am undergoing chemotheraphy for breast cancer and my husband is undergoing chemotheraphy for stage IV lymphoma. We worried about being able to take care of our three furry angels in the beginning but have found that without them we would be lost and they would be lost also. We have made it work and thankful for it.
Before my throat cancer and ultimat laryngectomee, we had/have three wonderful cats. One, Midnight is 17 of our years old, Shadow is 7 years old and boots is a spry 3 year old. They would talk and listen to me before the cancer and now I am confined to clicking noises and finger pointing. They are so intelligent it sometimes amazes my wife and me. It is a perfect day to sit in my lounger and a complete lap full of cats. They seem to know that I am different now and take that into consideration when I admonish them to do something. One will allow you to brush her for hours, one wants nothing to do with brushing and the third, because of her age, loves our attention. I never could speak 'cat' before the loss of my voice and I don't need to speak it now. They are truly a pleasure to have.
I have been digianosed with breast cancer12/6/2010 I have two Collies and two shelties they are constantly kissing me and loving me along with my husband It really feels good to know you are loved this much.I feel like they will be helping me heal threw my cancer will be a rough year to go threw but the love of my dogs and husband will help me heal
I have had my terrier mix, Charlie aka "Po-po" for the last 5 years. He has been of such comfort to me during these trying, fearful times...he always senses when I am not up to really paying attention. He lets me know he is there to snuggle with but if I feel that I want to be alone, he seems to truly understand. He just comes by, looks at me with those big eyes, puts his head on me for a quick pat or kiss, and then curls up either next to me or in the same area as where I am, lifting his head once in a while to make sure I'm ok...he knows what to do and senses my feelings. God sent him to me to give me a reason to continue this battle. I dread the day of my demise (multiple myeloma). He is not as independent as he once was, checks on me, looks straight at my face as if to "read" me. At night, he hops in my bed, snuggles, then when I turn the tv off, he knows it is time for sleep, so he gets down and gets on his bed. During the night, he hops in my bed, sits and looks at me, then snuggles again until morning. What pleasure he brings to my otherwise sad life after my diagnosis...he needs me, but I need him more. LOVE THAT DOGGIE!!
I cant say enough about our pets helping us.
As others wrote ,our pets are so special in our time of need.
Everyday my mind thinks what will happen to my dogs if I die? I have a family member that will take them ,but I know with me is best and where they would be happiest. I have to beat this for their sake as well as my own.
my love of and for them helps me to not dwell as often on my cancer. I find that I want to do any and everything I can do or find to win the cancer battle, they need me with them While in the hospital for the pancreatic whipple surgery and recovery stay, my thoughts were about my 2 toy poodles and wanting to hurry and get well to go home to them.. Knowing they were missing me and not understanding why I was gone so long. Wondering if my family were caring for them the way I left instructions.to do.
When I returned home, they stayed always where I was during my recovery. Understanding that I couldnt walk them, or play fetch. I am a widow and live alone they keep me active since I have to care for and play with them,
Im doing chemo and they seem to understand the times Im feeling really fatigued and lay down.to sleep a couple of hours earlier than our usual nap time, my love for them keeps me going
Wife discovered she had Breast Cancer in April 2008 and had a double masectomy in May. During her chemo and radiation treatments, she would be so weak she could not climb into the bed. Gracie, our oldest Great Dane, would lay beside her the whole time. One day after a nasty round of treatments, my wife collapsed on the floor by the bed. Gracie, jumped on the bed and walked over to her side and lowered her head. My wife reached up and gently grabbed her collar. On her own, Gracie understood, she pulled my wife up and into bed. Once my wife got settled in, then Gracie layed down with her back against her leg and Gracie's head on my wife's chest. She waiting till my wife fell asleep before she would sleep. In September of 2008 while my wife was still going through treatments, I get diagnoised with Colon Cancer requiring complete removal. Through all this, our Danes were a source of joy, companionship, and physical help. I would have trouble getting out of a chair after my surgery, my wife still wasn't able to help me, so one of the Dane would let me grab their collar and pull me up. Today, my wife and I are doing great, and we pamper our 3 Great Danes, because they are family to us.
I have prostate cancer, live alone, no living relatives left. However, I have three WONDERFUL PUGS that keep me going on every day. I am so pleased to have them andd they are happy with me. We talk and watch T every day and evening. I could not hold on without their love and care.
We have an 8 month old rat terrier, Merri and believe me she truly is! My husband has had kidney cancer 20 months now. He had his left kidney removed 2/09 and the scans were clear till 12/09. It was back in his liver. Started chemo pill treatment and was shrinking. During this time our son had another rat terrier, Cookie, we would keep from time to time. She died this past May. My husband took it very hard. When she was here she was his buddy and he was hers. We got Merri for both of us but especially for him. What a treat and she truly is a merry little gal!!! Six wks. ago they found a tumor on his spine. He had surgery and will have his 10 treatment this Tuesday. He has some paralysis in both legs and is getting physical therapy. He uses a wheel chair and a walker. Merri is on his lap every time he is in the wheel chair, gives him goodnight and goodmorning kisses. If I'm busy in the house she usually will lie down between his legs when he's in the recliner. He was never a dog lover like I am but Cookie and Merri has given him so much love and attention, he can't help himself now. My opinion they truly are a part of therapy in healing us emotionally
It was great to read your article. It's all very profound and overlooked as a therapy. I use my pet as a therapy dog when counseling people diagnosed with Cancer. A dog engages people through their unconditional acceptance and non-judgmental way. They give empathy freely. We have clients come only on days that my dog is working.
I am a survivor of 6 year now and I owe my recovery a lot to my dog Phoebe. She was the one who as a puppy kept climbing up on to my chest to get close and this is how I discovered I had a lump in my breast. I was told I had Stage 3 and went through months of chemo, then surgery and radiation. Phebs was always there and would wanted to go outside and she pushed me to take her out. I was so sick, but knew she needed attention and forced myself to get up and walk her. Today I remember those walks and all the attention she gave me. I had great support from my husband, friends and especially the Phebs.
What "no name" wrote says it all. Our two dogs have helped me so much through my treatment. They have stayed by my side. I have talked to them and hugged them every day. When I had some problems with passing out after some intense chemo my dear dog Walker would stand by the bathroom door in the middle of the night when I would get up watching to make sure I was okay. He has recently passed on. By coincidence it was on the day of a PET scan I had which showed cancer progression. My buddy is still with me. I know and feel this every day. Dogs and other pets give so much joy to all of us. Our other dog now walks with me down the road every day and continues to stay by my side. He helps me to remain hopeful about the future. I have told him that he is a gift to me as Walker was. He is helping me. Dog lovers tend to all understand the specialness of their wonderful companions.
Because we walked I saw the full moon over the lake.Because we walked I watched him swim, quickly,so smoothly,to get his stick. Again and again.
Because we walked I got to laugh when he stalked the squirrels. Because we walked we learned to trust each other. Because we walked he got to run free with amazings cuts and turns as only a young herding dog can do. Because we walked we talked. Because we walked I saw his happiness in the moment, and I learned. Because we walk I will heal.
My husband & I agonized many times over 18 yrs that we didn't have a cat - our daughter-in-law was highly alergic to them. They have since divorced and I got two kittens. They were the last of the litter to go and brother and sister. I couldn't seperate them at their tender age of 3-1/2 mos. It was the best thing I have ever done, although very expensive initially. My husband suffered a 2nd heart attack and had to undergo quadruple by-pass surgery. He would ask me everyday how they were. I fully believe they assisted him in his recovery when he came home. They were still young and so a delight to watch and play with. I got some leashes and leads and would tie them up outside so that my husband and the kittens would go out to enjoy the warm spring weather (I didn't need to tie him up!). Pets offer joy, warmth, and love to their owners.
This blog caught my eye immediately given my passion for animal companionship and my current process of writing my thesis on companion animal loss. The human-animal bond is very important yet it is only acknowledged on certain levels. It is great to see responses from those who adore their companion animals and that Mayo chose to write about this topic. It needs to be talked about more.
After retiring,the death of my husband, and surviving two cancers,my two mini dachshunds became a true lifeline.Since they are both elderly rescues with very different personalities,they are a source of nonstop love and entertainment.Since I have to walk them 4x times a day,it forces me to get out of the house.They are a blessing,and I adore them.
I had breast cancer (stage 1) in 2008. I recovered rather quickly. But in 2009, I came down with Aml.
And I was in the hospital for 5 months. Honestly, I was more worried about my 2 dogs than myself. It was so hard to go through but now I'm home and with my chow and shepherd. The love and support can not be be matched. I would not be in remission if not for my dogs.
I have a cat who lifted a big rock of stress out of my chest for all the agony I went through. Since then I can not live without my cat. Yes Pets make a big difference in life.
My Dachshund Chewey is a joy, he gives me so much comfort and love. I try to stay strong because we need each other.
I HAD BREAST CANCER SIX YEARS AGO. I HAVE A CAT NAMED SWEETPEA. SHE IS CONSTANT SUPPORT . SHE WAS THERE WHEN MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS WERE NOT. IT IS NICE TO CUDDLE WITH HER AND I TALK TO HER EVERYDAY. SHE IS A GREAT HELP TO ME.lorayne
After my diagnosis with breast cancer (which was my third bout of cancer having had surgery for ovarian cancer in 1978 and colon cancer 2001) in 2002, I remember lying down and the dog and two cats came in to be with me. They sensed something was wrong and just stayed with me till I got our of bed. Both animals took an enormous amount of verbal abuse, yet they came back to show me how they loved me. I do not believe that this third bout of cancer could have been accomplished without thme.
I have joked that my cancer memoirs will be entitled "My Dog Saved My Life". My Boxer made me walk every day during chemo, allowing me to get out of the house, get away from my troubles, and keep up my strength. When the bone pain became unbearable, he lay beside me on the floor keeping my legs warm. And when I could not get up, he stood firm while I used his body to steady myself. And when my husband checked out because it was all too hard on him, my Boxer was there with hugs and loves and cuddles.
My two greyhounds gave me company when I was recovering from surgery, and were instrumental in getting me up and walking them again - they're calm dogs so they let me take my time, but I knew I had to do it...I love them dearly!
during treatment for mm Molly came into my life a small white fuffly puppy. She brings me joy and comfort and helps me to enjoy the simple things like playing ball walks in the woods and laying on my bed when I am too tired to do anything else
I have a very independent cat. While she's not a lap cat, she does accompany me wherever I go in the house and is a source of entertainment since you never know what she'll get into next.
The companionship of my cat - a year old, male. has brought an unexpected amount of joy into my life. Through this past year of diagnosis, surgery and treatments, this little creature has given me an amazing amount of comfort, distraction and affection.
When I was going through chemo, Clyde, my black lab would curl up on my lap every afternoon and nap with me. He knew I was sick and needed him there to comfort me. Maybe it was my imagination, but sometimes it even seemed like he was worried about me. Before I was sick our habit was to walk 3 miles every day after work. Both Clyde and Sam (choco lab) encouraged me to walk every day during treatment. It got down to taking an hour to walk a mile, but we went anyway. They have been there every step of the way on my recovery too. I could not be more blessed.
My pomeranian relys on me daily for everything so I have to be alert and in a positive mood because they are so sensitive to everything from moods, to reactions, etc.. He keeps me healthier because we walk daily.
i love my dog.-petee
I have two dogs and a cat and I think they are three of the best things that have ever happened to me. The joy and happiness they bring me are immeasurable. I think that pets add something that nothing else can to our lives and I love mine!
When I come in the door to my awaiting husband, cat and dog, the animals are eager to meet me with nothing but love and excitement, which I can't help but reciprocate immediately, while my husband, though very loving and attentive, is usually preoccupied. Also, when I'm stressed and busy, it's easy to blow off conversation and affection from my husband (though I am generally loving and attentive to him), but no matter how busy, I cannot resist the urge to stop to pet my 8 year old cat, curled up in a ball on the couch when I pass, or the invitation to pet or play with my 1 year old boxer when he rests his face on my lap as I work on an essay. Our pets are a definite highlight in our day to day lives.
My initial therapist felt having a pet was so important to my recovering that he gave me a deadline to get one. I have been dealing with depression for many years, and the last year has been extremely difficult. There were many days that the only reason I smiled is because of my pet. I would highly recommend a pet to anyone suffering from an illness which can becoming isolating.
I know that ever since we rescued our dog May 2010 my blood pressure has gone down enough to get off the medication.
Pets will help reduce stress, give continous affection and companionship, so much of the depression from loneliness can be eliminated. Also helps with physical ailments.
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