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When my sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, my niece created a blog for family and friends in very short order. At first it seemed an odd choice, but soon I saw the smarts in it. It was an excellent way to streamline communications. I could find out about her progress and leave encouraging comments without being one of dozens of callers interrupting important healing time and demanding the latest news be told to me—and only me—for the tenth or the fortieth time.
I know there are many, many personal blogs like theirs—some public, others password protected—so I wasn’t really surprised to be introduced to blogs written by people dealing with canine cancer, even though I hadn’t stumbled across any yet.
This week, we heard from Todd Reubold, who recently launched a blog called The Adventures of Jumping Jasper-Roo the Viszla Dog . “I started the blog as a way to connect with others who are going through the same thing with their pets,” Reubold told us. “Before Jasper’s diagnosis, I had no idea that cancer accounts for nearly 50 percent of all disease-related pet deaths each year.” The National Canine Cancer Foundation estimates that one in three dogs will develop cancer,  a daunting estimate that is similar to the odds for human cancer .
Reubold’s is a new blog with only a handful of entries, so far, but they strike at the heart of the thing—the first-person-with-dog perspective on balancing fight with acceptance, exploring options for treatment, sadness over bad news and joy in simple pleasures. A different case is Margarat Nee. She’s been keeping her blog, La Vida Fresca , about holistic canine health and raw-food diets since the middle of 2006. When her dog Vida was diagnosed with oral cancer two years later, her posts took a turn. Now she focuses the role of diet, herbs, Reiki, and acupressure in Vida’s treatment.
Coping with, treating, loving dogs with cancer are themes that thread through many blogs about dogs and even those not about dogs but into which this bad news comes . Sometimes I gripe about all the me-me-me of the blogosphere, but then I read these heartfelt stories and thoughtful, real-world advice and I reconsider. I wonder if there are blogs by individuals that have helped you deal with your dog’s cancer or maybe other challenges with your best friend? When the going gets tough, what sort of company do you seek? I’d love to know.
Photo: Jasper thumbnail image photographed by Hannah Lynch.