After a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoes chemotherapy treatments, how did her relationship with her dog change? I’m working on my Master’s of Social Work (MSW) at UBC in Vancouver. My research class requires me to conduct a study on some aspect of social work, health, wellness, relationships, etc – anything that interests me.
Dogs interest me, and so do cancer survivors. I’ve written several articles about dogs, such as What to Do When Your Dog Dies. I’ve also written several articles on breast cancer and chemotherapy treatments, such as 17 Mastectomy Gift Ideas for After Surgery. I’ve also researched and written articles on How Pet Ownership Affects Your Health.
In this research study, I want to learn if and how a woman’s relationship with her dog changes as she undergoes chemotherapy treatments. Further, is her recovery and healing affected by her attachment to her dog?
If you can participate via email in this study, please leave me a comment below. I’m looking for women who were diagnosed with breast cancer, who underwent chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer, and who owned a dog throughout the ordeal. If you leave me a comment below, I’ll email you a few questions. I’m also happy to send you the results of my research findings.
How will this benefit you? Writing about your experience as a dog owner and breast cancer survivor may give you insight into your emotions and experience, bring closure, and improve your emotional healing process. I don’t know if you’ve thought about how your relationship with your dog changed during chemotherapy treatments, but thinking about it may strengthen and encourage you.
I won’t publish any of your information online. Nothing you contribute will be published anywhere. I’m not writing an MSW thesis, and I’m not trying to get this research study on dog ownership and chemotherapy published. I’m just gathering information to write a paper for class. Everything you write to me is confidential.
Here are a few more details…
Chemotherapy Treatments and Dog Ownership
As a dog owner, I have made friends with several neighbors who are fellow dog owners. Two friends were recently diagnosed with cancer and have undergone chemotherapy treatments. I was surprised at how their relationship with their dogs changed almost immediately and during the course of their illness.
Dogs change our ability to recover from chemotherapy treatments. Jennifer (not her real name) had to be separated from her dog Rover and her husband Fred, because Rover contracted kennel cough. Kennel cough is not a disease that threatens the health of the dog’s owner, but because Jennifer’s immune system was severely compromised because of her chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer, she had to be isolated from her dog. Fred and Rover lived apart from Jennifer for almost two weeks; she had almost no contact with them. How did this isolation affect her relationship with Rover? How did it affect her physical and emotional health – and her ability to recover from the chemo treatments?
Owning a dog can have a significant effect on a cancer survivor’s emotional and physical health. My other friend, Michelle, was also recently diagnosed with lung cancer. When I asked her if anything changed between her and her dog Moo since her diagnosis, she said when she came home from the doctor, Moo laid her head on Michelle’s chest. Michelle said Moo has been much more affectionate since Michelle was diagnosed with cancer. Is this because Michelle is reaching out to Moo in a different way, or because Moo indeed sensed Michelle’s life-threatening illness? Their relationship changed right after the cancer diagnosis.
Can you help me with this research study on dog ownership and chemotherapy treatments? After I gather my research, I would be happy to share my findings with you. Please let me know in the comments section below!
And as always, I welcome your thoughts – whether or not you’d like to participate in this research.