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The Yankee Express

Humans need dogs

Jan 08, 2021 02:42PM ● By Amy LeClaire

2020 hasn’t been kind. A global pandemic wasn’t the only scare this year. Lincoln’s health, even his life expectancy, gave us a worry bigger than his paws. 

   For those of you catching up now, a late Fall ultra sound indicated two large masses on each of Lincoln’s thyroid glands, which appeared malignant (to a ninety percent degree of probability). He was expected to live only one to three months—even with treatment (though without biopsy or a full diagnostic exam, the conclusion was not full proof).  His best treatment plan, according to a man I still long to meet in person (COVID restrictions made this impossible) was said to be Radiation Therapy with the intent to shrink inoperable tumors. Fast forward two months. He’s shown no signs of decline. As a matter of fact, with the exception of deep-sleep snores and a few prominent “exhales” Lincoln is doing better than ever!

   I’m not a doctor. But the decision to needle and disturb a potentially cancerous area at my dog’s throat (to perform full diagnostic testing) seemed counterintuitive to a ten-year-old dog’s wellness. Home cooked protein enriched meals, goat’s milk, chicken broths, and turkey tail mushroom powder seemed like a better plan—that and the decision to surround ourselves with good old-fashioned Dog People.  

   Rebecca Sioui White, a puppyhood friend and owner of Rising Sun Pet Sitting, came to mind. Rebecca works full time caring for household and farm pets. Her demeanor is professional, gentle, and family-focused. Lincoln first met her as a puppy. A reunion was in order. I scheduled a side-by-side Dog Walk with her and one of her loyal clients, a laid-back and adorable rescue named Tyson, a dog said to be a perfect match for Lincoln, given age, temperament and personality. 

   I had always thought that pet sitting was a “side gig” for Rebecca. Little did I know that she takes her business, which serves the Southern Worcester County and Blackstone Valley region, quite seriously. As a result, the families entrusting her with their house keys, leashes and pets, keep calling back. “This is not just a job to me,” she explains while we stroll along Beacon Road (at the border of Webster Lake). “It’s a professional full time career. I’m passionate about what I do and the families I work for.” 

   Lincoln, gripped by the sight of a sudden lake, interrupts her. “Can you believe there’s a lake down there?” He tosses a glance down to the cold, misty water, then back to Rebecca. “Pretty nice isn’t it? I’m an avid swimmer, you know.” I tighten my grip on his leash while Rebecca, who is fully insured, bonded and certified in pet CPR and First Aid, pauses to listen to Lincoln. “Look at you. You’re such a happy boy.” She is genuinely interested in what he is interested in. Her empathic energy (and thankfully that alone) is enough to satisfy his temporary obsession. He relaxes to her voice and we stroll on. Tyson, a Rising Sun regular, goes with the flow.    

   Rebecca’s full time profession, I think to myself, allows her to spend hours of her day with animals. Her sunny attitude, then, comes as no surprise. “Rising Sun is heart centered,” she tells me. “It’s about partnering with each family to care for their pets and home. Each pet is surrounded by many human hearts that love and care for them. I feel this. I live this with my own pets, fosters and all customers. We partner closely with pet parents for consistency in training, following fine details to make their pet family feel at home and happy.” 

   We make our way back to Tyson’s home. Lincoln, who has developed a recent aversion to having his picture taken, suddenly poses like a celebrity. He sits proudly next to Rebecca, leans close, and lifts his chin up high as though to say, “Isn’t she amazing?” Normally days like this wouldn’t move me so much. But, lately, life’s unexpected moments spark renewed appreciation for life. Lincoln has always been a people-person. He still is. He has always loved lakes. He still does. An ultra sound reading cannot take away Lincoln’s essence. 

   Darwin’s Origin of Species theory deems that the species most likely to survive is not necessarily the strongest or the most intellectual, but the one best able to adapt to change. Lincoln, like so many people, needed to change the way he was nourished. Since he is a dog, he can’t do that on his own. He can’t grab a few eggs to crack, scramble, and use the shells to create a nutritious paste. Dogs need humans. 

   I watch the way Tyson lifts his neck to lick Rebecca’s chin and the quiet way she receives his love with a giggle. On her other side, Lincoln leans in close and smiles affectionately, as though to claim her as a trusted friend. The moment is indescribably joyful. I can’t help but think to myself: Humans need dogs, too.