I couldn’t have gotten through Toby’s cancer diagnosis without Maddux. I should probably change that tense, because we are still going through it.
Maddux has been both a comfort and a much need distraction, especially when Toby was first diagnosed. I love to take my dogs with me places. Toby wasn’t allowed to do much, because the chemo compromised his immune system.
Maddux was there to take to the beach, to all the pet-friendly places in Vermont when my friend came to visit Memorial Day and for both short walks and longer hikes.
Not normally a cuddle dog, Maddux has become much more affectionate, which was exactly what I needed when Toby’s prednisone made him a bit grumpy and not his normal snuggly bug self.
It was as if Maddux knew I needed comforting, normally Toby’s job in the family, and he stepped up to the task, and very well, might I add.
One thing I have really tried to do throughout this whole process was make Maddux’s life as normal as possible. Yes, we had to stop agility for bit when money was tight and Toby’s cancer came back, but I still tried to keep him in obedience, take him to the dog park, do agility when we could and still let him live a “normal” dog life.
It might sound silly that I was so concerned over this, but, it was something that was still very important to me. We don’t really know what dogs understand and what they don’t. We as humans tend to give them human qualities – some justified and some not.
All that I do know is that I would watch Maddux see Toby getting all this extra attention. Since none of us can explain it was because Toby was sick, I really tried, and try, hard to give Maddux just as much attention, love and quality time.
I think it also keeps Toby a little more upbeat, too. When he sees me working with Maddux, he wants in. For a dog who would never “down” since he was a puppy, he has gotten pretty darn good at it since I started working so hard with Maddux on it.
If I throw a toy for Maddux, Toby wants to be in the middle. It keeps him active and playing, which I think has been great for helping Toby fight the cancer.
Over the past year, Maddux has really become my little buddy. He comes with me to outdoor restaurants, he’s picked out plants with me at Lowe’s, he’s walked the farmer’s markets while I buy veggies and has just really overall helped keep me motivated. I loved our morning and evening walks near the lake.
Maddux is the type of dog who needs to be active. He loves to walk, run and play, and needs stimulation. He also is a terrier, which means he can be stubborn and needs constant training. He’s not the type of dog that can do one class and be done with obedience. He needs someone to work with him on an ongoing basis. This was super helpful, because it kept, and keeps, me active and engaged, and gave/gives me a bit of a break from the reality of Toby’s cancer.
I’m honestly not sure what I would have done if I didn’t have him.