Did anybody else get this email today?
Sender: April News You Can Use
Subject: Attention: Cute puppy alert, Elysse!
That sound promising, right?
So I open it, and it has a picture of a happy lady, maybe it’s summertime, she’s snuggling a fluffy dog.
And then I start to read:
Thinking about adopting a furry friend? There are many benefits to owning a pet, both emotional and physical.
I’m on board with that! Sounds good. BUT — there’s a major “but” coming —
But if you’re going through cancer treatment, there are important precautions to take.
Wait, what?! Where did cancer come from??
It was only at this moment that I realized this email was from the American Cancer Society.
Of course I had to click the link, which informed me that some pets are not chemo-appropriate. Which pets? They include reptiles, chickens, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs, and ferrets. Whew, so… not dogs. Cool.
But it noted all sorts of precautions that you must take with dogs and cats, including not letting your dog lick “your mouth, open cuts, or wounds.”
Have you ever tried to stop your dog from licking your mouth? Charlie will not rest each night until he has thoroughly licked our faces. It is his mission in life, I think.
I know, I know, I’ve seen articles about all the terrible diseases one can get from dogs-licking-your-face, but you try telling your fluffy, sweet dog who spent CHRISTMAS IN THE SHELTER before you RESCUED HIM and NURSED HIM BACK TO HEALTH that he can’t give you kisses.
This is a dog who, when I had to work most of Sunday, sat patiently on the floor looking up at me as if to say, just let me know the second you’re done and I will snuggle in your lap forever… I can wait.
This is a dog who is so sweet and cute that a few days ago I looked at Sam, said, “Why can’t Charlie be with us forever?” and burst into tears. I’M NOT GOING TO TELL HIM HE CAN’T LICK MY FACE. (In this hypothetical, knock-wood, chemo scenario.)
[Ugh, you guys, this is just DOG parenthood. Is regular parenthood going to tear me to shreds?]
Okay, I started writing this just to relay what a weird experience it was to read that email, NOT to plug anything, but it occurs to me that this would be a good time to mention that Sam just started an Instagram that’s pictures of Charlie with inspirational messages. It’s called Charlie the Supportive Dog.
You can send it to any friends who need a smile, even if they are ailing and germ-sensitive, because Charlie can’t lick their mouths through the computer screen. That technology doesn’t exist yet. I don’t think.
I guess I might as well tell you the story behind Charlie’s Instagram, because it’s kind of winding and circular and… fun? You can judge.
So I found out that my coworker (Erin) posts little low-fi comics on Instagram, and I decided that I’d also like to do that… so I did. Here is one:
As you can see, I labeled Charlie as “dog.” Unfortunately, I’m really really bad at drawing Charlie. (And also bad at drawing me and Sam, but at least you can tell we’re humans.) So bad that when my friend ran an image search on one of my Charlie sketches, it stumped the internet.
So Erin saw a picture I posted of Charlie, and sent a drawing back right away that was very impressive, and added Charlie saying “It’ll work out!” (Actually — not because I can’t draw Charlie, but because work was stressing me out.)
Sam liked what Erin did and, in turn, took the original photo of Charlie and added a thought bubble. And then he realized — wow, this is really soothing. Charlie is a good dog. So he added thought bubbles to more pictures. And the rest is history!
Well, in the end this post took a sharp turn away from cancer, and I guess we can all be grateful for that! It worked out, just like Charlie said it would!
Was this post morbid, life-affirming, or somewhere in between? You be the judge!
[Picture at the top is Charlie and his dog park friend Sadie, who is a very unique-looking and awesome gal.]