Joe wasn’t much of an animal lover. He put up with our assorted cats and dogs over the years and was kind to them—even helped train our spaniel—but I probably won’t be writing any posts titled “a boy and his dog” or anything like that.
Occasionally in the chemo infusion center, someone would come in with a therapy dog. The owner would ask if Joe wanted to pet the dog, and not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, Joe would say “sure.” On this day Joe reached out to pet “Monster” and this sweet dog jumped up in his lap and settled in for a nap. Joe just smiled and waited patiently until the owner said it was time to move on.
I was tempted to intervene and explain that Joe wasn’t really interested in bonding with the dog, but I stopped and reminded myself—not for the first or the last time—that Joe was perfectly able to speak for himself (until aphasia took over). I wanted to “rescue” him many times during his cancer journey, but usually he didn’t need or want to be rescued. He didn’t always speak up when I would have, but that was his choice. I tried to only let myself kick into “advocate” gear when he truly needed me to fill that role.
Anyway, I loved therapy dog day, even if Joe merely tolerated it!