Man's best friend | Front Porch | Indy Week

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Man's best friend

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As I sat in the lobby at the vet hospital waiting for my Boykin Spaniel to finish her first treatment of chemotherapy, a gentle man in his 80s began telling me about his 6-year-old dog, Sam. She had thyroid cancer. (Sam was, by the way, short for Samantha.) Sam's master explained she was his third golden retriever companion, but this was the first he'd heard of goldens being prone to cancer. He explained the tests and how hard it was on Sam to stay all day at the vet school while tests were run. The first time Sam was traumatized for two days following, he said. But oh how glad he was that he'd gotten the chemo for Sam. After just the second treatment Sam was back to her loving, rambunctious self.

"You wait till you see her when she comes out," he insisted. Now when he gets Sam's harnass out, she's jumping for that car ride, he said.

There she came, through the swinging doors from the treatment room, all 80 pounds of her. They both lit up. This man's 80-year-old face and body lit up like an 8-year-old boy. He grabbed right onto her leash as she pounced around.

"She'll knock you down if you don't watch," he laughed with gratitude. He loved his dog.

As he was leaving, he kindly said, "Nice talking with you," but he didn't look at me. He couldn't take his eyes off Sam, as they headed out the door for the car ride home. I said goodbye with tears in my eyes as I waited for my own dog to walk through those doors bouncing back into my life.

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