Monday, July 13, 2020

The Dogs Of My Life ~ Post No. 8 ~ Angel - Part 1

Finding Us

In the early summer of 1999, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was found early via mammogram and I was scheduled for a lumpectomy at the beginning of July. This was to be followed by six weeks of radiation, later an extra week was added, and then five years on the drug Tamoxifen to prevent a recurrence. 

The night before my surgery, Errol and I stood by our gate saying goodbye to Glenn. Our Los Angeles house was close to the sidewalk with steps leading down from the gate. 

The steps outside our LA house

A couple walked by, followed by a German shepherd dog. The dog saw us, ran up the steps and sat down outside the gate. Errol called for the couple to get their dog. "It's not our dog, it has been following us," said the man. We all looked at each other and the dog, like what in the world do we do now?

I said, "Glenn, do you want another dog?" "No," he replied. And then made a fast exit, leaving us to figure it out.

Three pets per household were allowed in Los Angeles. At that time, we had: Sundance, our disturbed Doberman, Sashi, our loner Siberian Husky, Bandit, our mischievous hound dog mix, who did not get along with Sundance; Samantha and Sindbad, our two cats; Tweetybird and Pippi Birdie, our two parakeets. 

I was having cancer surgery the following day, had to be at the hospital very early. Then radiation, not as bad as chemo, but no piece of cake. 

Angel as a young dog

And here is this adorable dog, wearing no collar, looking a bit thin, but very well taken care of. 

First thing, check to see if male or female. It was a female. She had been spayed. She was very young (later the vet estimated about eight months). She seemed to have been very well cared for, but she had no collar. 

I told Errol I couldn't cope. I would have a fit if we took in another dog. I knew she had chosen us, or so it seemed, but still. I was overwhelmed. 

Errol took her to the pound. A while later, he came back with the dog in tow. Errol said, "she started to shake so violently when she heard the barks from inside. She shook and struggled to get away from me, to just run away again. I couldn't take her in." 

Errol promised to look for an owner, I said I would take her picture so we could post it around the neighborhood once this surgery was over with. 

Then we looked at each other, the dog and I. I felt she belonged with me. Maybe an Angel come to look after me. Help me through this ordeal I was facing. 

But much as I like the concept of angels to protect me, I'm also a realist and of course I knew this was a lost dog, a dog that I would have to feed and walk and take to the vet. With cancer, no matter how small the tumor, how early it was found, there's always fear of what will happen.

I felt I needed all my strength to fight this uninvited cancer.

Not the ideal time for yet another lost dog to come and live with me. 

But we had bonded, whether I liked it or not. 

Part two will follow soon.


  1. I am holding my breath waiting for the next installment even though I do know the ending. I did not know this part of the story how you found angel or whether how Angel found you

  2. What a beauty and she did find you. I can understand your hesitance by know what happens so looking forward to how she won you over.

  3. What good hearts you and your husband had to take in a lost dog at that time in your life!

  4. I'm looking forward to part two. Don't keep us in suspense too long Inger...
    I love the story so far. I too had breast cancer with stage 3 as it did not show up on the mammograms and I had to have radical mastectomy and radiation. I certainly can understand the uncertainty of the whole situation. I'm glad you only had a lumpectomy instead to the radical mastectomy. Radiation made me very tired but was Chemo was by far the worst for me. By the grace of God, I'm still alive and well, though a bit rusty at 73+.

    Take care and stay well and happy.
    Hugs, Julia

    1. I'm so glad you are OK too, mine was stage one minus I think, so glad they even saw it.

  5. I believe an animal comes into our lives at the right time. Like Angel, our ginger boy Boris arrived in May,2015.He might have weighed 500gm, maybe the runt of a litter left as Mum moved the others? He was such wonderful company for Hugh, who was always in severe pain with sciatic nerve damage.,but I had to do the toilet training, the cleaning up and more.But the goodness far outweighed the troubles. Now he has mellowed, and has just Moxy as a mate. Part Two, hope we get the next instalment that tells us more about your Angel.

  6. You really should put all these stories in a book and publish it. Your stories are just delightful. On a par with James Herriot.

    1. Thank you, Ginny. I'm publishing them here on my blog for you to read. That's as far as I will go, but I'm so happy that I seem to be touching some hearts with my stories. I love to write, but even self-publishing a book is a whole other story. But I'm so happy you guys like what I write here.

  7. That's quite a story and so glad you survived and well....that cancer. I believe animals come to us when we are open to it whether we know we are or not... They seem to follow the lead of some kind of instinct to go to someone who will love them. Our Goldie came to us in a similar way and we had her for years. So glad you kept her.

  8. I, too, am looking forward to Part 2. The dogs in my life have helped me in more ways than I can hope to remember.

  9. Angel must have been sent to you for this time in your life.

  10. It was the right 'chemistry' between you and the dog.

  11. Oh, this story is touching my heart in so many ways.

  12. She did choose you, and I bet that her love helped you through the cancer treatment. I hope so.

  13. most men would have left her... but Errol couldn't. I love Errol.
    and you are a wonderful writer. you DO touch our hearts.
    often when we need it the most. xo

  14. Hi Inger - sounds wonderful and you are an animal lover ... as too was Errol. She arrived just at the right time ... though of course you didn't know it. Looking forward to reading part two ... stay safe - Hilary

  15. So, I'm trying to catch up on your posts and I've read this post second and part 1 first... Wow! I am crying. What a perfect name for this dog.. and I had no idea you had gone thru all that. Errol was a hero, no wonder you loved him so!! And this Angel of a dog that was sent your way just when you needed her. Love this story. Thanks so much for sharing, Inger.


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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