Carolyn and Chunk Visit the Cancer Center

Carolyn and Chunk visit the Cancer Center weekly, and often daily, donating well over a hundred hours a year.  Two pediatric patients had cancer treatments, lab work and blood products on a regular basis at the Cancer Center.  Carolyn stated she would be willing to come more often and try to visit the girls every time they came to the Cancer Center.  Chunk would become their “adopted” dog.

Carolyn, true to her word, would rearrange her schedule at the drop of a hat and bring Chunk to visit his “new” owners.  Chunk became acquainted with the girls immediately.  We worried if the girls realized that Chunk was visiting both of them as they each felt Chunk was their own personal dog.  One day both girls were at the Cancer Center at the same time.  I placed the girls in rooms in opposite   corners to keep the secret.  Like all secrets, it only lasted so long.  The girls met and became fast friends who would share the love of a special dog-named Chunk.

When one of the girls lost her hair because of chemotherapy, everyone tried on silly hats, even Chunk. Often Chunk would wear his hat (fixed with elastic) when visiting the Cancer Center.  Chunk became a veteran at lying on the bed with one or more girls using him as a pillow to watch Legally Blonde for the thirtieth time.  If that wasn’t humiliating enough, they painted his toenails yellow, and later purple.  Carolyn decked him out as a bumblebee complete with wings and antenna with of course, his yellow toenails.  Chunk shared his Halloween costume with one of the girls at the Cancer Center and the other at her home 30 miles away.  Her blood counts were too low for her to travel, so Carolyn took Chunk to her.

Another time one of the girls was admitted to the hospital and placed in reverse isolation to protect her from getting an infection.  Carolyn and Chunk went to visit; each had their hats, masks, gowns and shoe covers on before entering the room.  It was quite a sight seeing a big black lab putting on a mask and shoe covers.  The patience of Job comes to mind.
Through Chunk’s patience and Carolyn donating hours of her time for pet therapy at the Cancer Center, two girls’ lives have been changed.  Instead of worrying about chemotherapy and its side effects, they look forward to spending an afternoon with their dog, Chunk.  The first thing the girls ask upon arriving at the Cancer Center is, “did you call Carolyn and Chunk?”  Chunk runs to the girls’ room and automatically jumps on the bed with great enthusiasm.  His owner only needs to follow and sit by the bed quietly while he basks in the love and attention of two girls battling the war on cancer.

The girls have become stronger with deep bonds of friendship.  The girls have been able to face sobering news with the love and support of their family and knowing that their dog will be there to love them through all things with a furry hug and a slobbery kiss!

Ask the animals and they will teach you. Job 12:7