Carole + Titan
Dog Provides Comfort to Wife after Husband's Battle with Cancer
Carole + Titan
We adopted Titan in the spring of 2011. My husband and I thought we were rescuing Titan, but as it turned out, he did more for us than we would even imagine and, in a way, rescued us.
My husband, Don, was being treated for cancer when Titan came into our home. He was responding to treatment and we were both optimistic about the future. My husband never had a dog growing up, so you can only imagine how happy he was with his loyal companion by his side. Whenever Titan was near him, there was always a smile on his face.
"My husband and I thought we were rescuing Titan, but as it turned out, he did more for us than we would even imagine and, in a way, rescued us."
Unfortunately, Don’s cancer metastasized. Even though he was unable to do very much and was in a great deal of pain, having Titan by his side brought Don much needed comfort. He would reach down from his chair to feel the soft coat of his dog and have his hand affectionately licked. Our outings became more limited but we did get out occasionally. Despite the pain and effort it took for him to move around, the smile on my husband’s face never left when he had his special friend with him.
On May 1, 2012, my husband passed away with Titan helping him through his last year. But that is not where the “rescue” ends — it only began for me. Don and I had planned on how I would manage on my own, but there was no preparation for the loneliness someone experiences after losing a partner of 42 years. I would have probably stayed in bed, but that was not possible because Titan needed to be walked. As we walked down the street, neighbors talked to me and it felt good. From that point on, I learned that I needed to be with people, so we continued the walks, and I continued to heal. I learned from Titan that I felt better when I was busy so I went back to my activities. The problem with going out, however, is coming home to an empty house. But I never had to worry about that because Titan would always be there to happily greet me. How could I be sad when this furry, wiggly, “smiling” friend was so happy to see me come home?
Although my story about Titan isn’t unique and is only special to me and to those who are close to me, it repeats itself over and over. People who are sick and dying are comforted by the animals by their sides. People who experience loss receive the unconditional love and companionship of their pets. And that is why this IS so extraordinary. It is not just one story – it is many thousands.
Bringing pets into our lives enriches us more than we can ever imagine and in ways we sometimes don’t expect. “Who rescued who?” is more than just a phrase, it is the reality of many.
Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Carole Christensen won Jasper Animal Rescue in Ridgeland, South Carolina a 2015 Holiday Wishes award.