Have you seen NGPR’s 2023 Happy Endings Calendar yet? If so, you must have caught a glimpse of the handsome cover model: a sweet and loving Great Pyrenees named Sully.
But did you know Sully helped inspire a program that supports pet parents who have been diagnosed with cancer?
CancerCare’s Pet Assistance & Wellness (PAW) Program assists people undergoing cancer treatment with the challenges of keeping their cat or dog at home. We all know that pets are an essential part of our family; for many of us they are our heart and soul. But the physical, emotional and financial costs of a cancer diagnosis can also present many challenges for individuals caring for their beloved pets.
The PAW Program offers financial support to offset costs such as food and supplies, walking, pet sitting, boarding and even veterinarian expenses such as vaccinations or appointment fees. PAW also offers a library of educational materials which cover critically important topics such as what to know if you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy and have a pet. All services are offered free of charge to anyone who has been impacted by a diagnosis of cancer.
Patricia Goldsmith, Chief Executive Officer of CancerCare, calls Sully her “canine soulmate.” She credits him as a key inspiration for the PAW Program, not only because of all the joy they’ve shared together but also because he offered so much love and support as she was going through treatment for cancer
So many of the pet parents who have received assistance from the PAW Program have shared how meaningful it has been to have their dog or cat by their side throughout their diagnosis.
One of our clients, James, received multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy to treat lung and prostate cancer. He shared that his Yorkie-Chinese Crested mix, Lily, “would sit with me for hours. She kept me in a good mood all the time.” James used a virtual gift card he received from the PAW Program to buy food for Lily.
If you, or anyone you know, could benefit from the Pet Assistance and Wellness Program, please visit http://www.cancercare.org/paw or call 800-813-4673. A team of professional oncology social workers are available to help not only with PAW resources, but also with the many other services offered by CancerCare including counseling, support groups and additional forms of financial assistance.
While Sully sadly passed away last year, his spirt of companionship lives on with this program. And it looks like he continues to inspire Trish’s passion for Great Pyrs…