Cindy Green’s last day of chemotherapy in fall 2017 was bittersweet. She was happy her cancer treatment was ending; she was turning the page on one of the most challenging times of her life. But, the joyous occasion also came with some sadness. Coincidentally, Cindy’s beloved Lulu, her 10-year-old Labrador retriever, passed away on the same day.
Fast forward to early this year and Cindy was well into her survivorship, living a wonderful cancer-free life. But, in order to feel complete again, she wanted to open her heart and home to a new animal, so she turned to the Cancer Center’s Fostering Hope program to help her find just the right match.
Through Companion Animal Alliance (CAA) and the Cancer Center, Cindy found Dezzi, a six-month old hound mix. And it was love at first sight. Even though the two have only been together a short time, they have bonded quickly. Cindy reports Dezzi rarely leaves her side, except to take naps in his new adoptive mom’s bed. Cindy also recently introduced Dezzi to her daughter and grandson and it was a celebratory time for everyone.
“Dezzi is filling a void in my life and will help me heal both physically and emotionally,” said Cindy. “That unconditional love a dog can give is something I’ve missed and we’re going to live a long, happy life together.”
Together, CAA and the Cancer Center work together to pair cancer survivors and pets needing a home, making sure the connection is beneficial for both parties. Another wonderful rescue group, Friends of the Animals, recently joined the Fostering Hope program to help match more cancer survivors and animals.
Any cancer patient treated throughout the region is eligible to participate, and there is no cost, thanks to a donation by the Charles Lamar Family Foundation that covers starter necessities such as food, veterinary and other expenses. Survivors can choose to foster or adopt animals.
Research shows that stress and anxiety can be reduced by at least 25 percent through interactions with animals. It’s also important to note that survivors’ oncologists are always consulted as part of the vetting process to ensure anyone interested in fostering or adopting is physically and emotionally ready to care for the pet.
Learn more about Fostering Hope here or call (225) 215-0182.