Losing a pet to cancer is one of the hardest things a person has to deal with. It's heartbreaking to watch your best friend fade because of something they didn't deserve. You can see the pain in their eyes and you feel helpless against it. I personally have faced this disease twice and both times my furry children fought a hard battle but eventually their little bodies couldn't take it anymore. So no one else has to face this pain, I've put together this blog to help raise money for canine cancer research. This way there will always be a furry, friendly face on the other end of the leash!
Runners have very different reasons why they do what they do. It can be for fitness, for fun, as a challenge to see what their bodies can do, etc.It starts with lacing up – hopefully good running – shoes and putting one foot in front of the other.And then one day it all clicks into place.A runner’s pace falls into a comfortable groove and they find themselves enjoying themselves.It becomes a part of them.They miss it when they don’t have it.It’s all they can talk about.It drives the non-runners around them nuts.Family members reluctantly join in with signs/cheers/pussy-wagon pickups.Others give them strange looks, wondering why they would put their bodies through such pain, and pay for it as well (this fun ain’t cheap!).
I started running because I was a big fat heifer my BFF’s mother passed away from breast cancer.To honor her, I joined in with friends at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K.That was over 5 years ago.I’ve had my ups and downs.Sometimes it feels like more downs than ups.I’ve put in so many miles over those years.Training by myself.Training with friends (shout out to Judy & the BRC Women’s Fit Team).Over these years, my legs (pulling a big caboose) have crossed the finish lines at eleven half marathons (one this past Saturday) and five marathons.However, there are days when I wonder why I keep pushing myself through all this (and paying for it).As some runners do.Almost always Sometimes, I just can’t seem to get my fat tookus up off the couch.Then I look down at those brown eyes of my Rottie looking up at me and I remember why I should get out there.
Big & Beautiful Leo
Flash back to 2005…my eight year old Rottie, Leo (“Lady of Leoness”), had some lumps form on her mammary glands.My Christmas present to her that year was a doggie mastectomy and the cone of shame.Leo started chemo for New Year’s, but her cancer was just too aggressive and started to form in the remaining mammary gland.She came through the second surgery like a champ and we decided on no more chemo.She was given only a few months.Leo lived for five more months and crossed the Rainbow Bridge on May 5, 2006.I got my next Rottie right before Leo passed.Jersey Girl was such a good
little puppy.She helped make the tears go away.Leo and I had been together for so long and it was hard to say goodbye.Jersey made it easier.She was so gentle and curious.I never thought I’d hear those words again – cancer.On Christmas 2009, Jersey’s neck swelled up and it was diagnosed as lymphoma.She went through chemo for New Year’s and right away went into remission.Her cancer came back seven months later.Unfortunately, the chemo was too much for her little body to take the second time around and she crossed over on August 5, 2010.
It was hard to keep up with my running after that.My heart just wasn’t in it.I took comfort in, well my comfortable couch, and my newest addition – a Rottie named Summer.I was so afraid to leave her for too long.I babied her.Coddled her would be a better word.She and I enjoyed hours on the couch with my laptop, cookies, and more cookies.As you can guess, the weight piled on.A good 30 pounds.I knew I had to find something to get things moving – big things moving (hardy-har-har!).So I signed up for the Flying Pig Marathon and found a great organization to motivate me even further, Chase Away K9 Cancer.I trained all spring (in Colorado it was still winter) in the snow and cold for the May 1st race.And you guessed it, I didn’t lose a pound.
But still I got on that plane, put up with the HUMF (you gained weight) looks from my mom, and ran the race.It was cold, rainy.With great pride, I was sporting my Chase Away K9 Cancer shirt (in black ‘cuz it ain’t no wet t-shirt contest).On the course, I took time to pet every dog I could reach and I think there were seven of them (eight if you include the ASPCA mascot).It was the most fun I’ve ever had at a race.During those last few miles, when the mind starts to wander and my legs wanted to quit.I kept telling myself –– Jersey and Leo didn’t quit on me so I’m not going to quit on them. I finished the marathon running and ended up feeling pretty great!Thanks girls, couldn’t have done it without you!
So I’m more motivated than ever to lose weight, keep running, and get the word out about Chase Away.More people need to know about canine cancer and what they can do to help fight the disease.I can’t give up on the journey I’ve started.Jersey and Leo would bite me in the tookus if I did!