Sunday, December 4, 2016

Review of The Dog Lived (and So Will I)...

For the past few weeks, I've been processing the news that my sweet beagle, Zane, has mast cell cancer.  My other dog, Arran, also had a mast cell tumor removed and there's been no recurrence so far.  I'm not sure we'll be as lucky with Zane.  I have a lot of anxiety about my dogs and life in general.  When I'm faced with a problem like this, I usually go hunting for information.  In my quest for information, I ran across a book called The Dog Lived (and So Will I).

Written by twice divorced California lawyer Teresa Rhyne, this is a book about a dog named Seamus who had an aggressive mast cell tumor.  The dog eventually recovered from the tumor.  Then Teresa found a lump in her breast that was cancerous.  Rhyne turned her odyssey into a successful blog and then wrote her book, which was originally published in 2012.  I will admit that I decided to download the book because I was looking for a hopeful story.  In Rhyne's book, I did find some hope.  

At the beginning of the book, Rhyne is coming back from a trip to Ireland, where she'd gone to see relatives.  She had just been through her second divorce and lost her two dogs within months of each other.  She's overwhelmed and depressed, but looks amazing.  Rhyne explains that when the chips are down, she ups her personal grooming.  It's like an armor she wears to help her bring her "A game".

Rhyne has an irreverent sense of humor and writes about how much she enjoyed her Irish relatives tendency to use the f word liberally.  When she met Seamus, a dog who seemed to need her as much as she needed him, she was reminded of her irreverent relatives.  Although Seamus proves to be a challenge to train, they become a pair.  And then Rhyne starts a new relationship with a man named Chris, twelve years her junior.

This book is part dog story and part love story, with a healthy sprinkling of medical and veterinary drama thrown in.  Rhyne adds her interesting sense of humor and the compelling stories of how she and her dog both battled cancer and annoying doctors, and both survived.  It's probably just the kind of book I should be reading right now.  Thanks to Rhyne's way with words, I managed to get through this book quickly and effortlessly.  I related to her story and admire how she's turned her experiences into a new career.  After the success of her first book, Rhyne wrote another.  She now does public speaking and continues to rescue dogs.

As for us and our situation with Zane, I'm not really sure what's going to happen.  His tumor was not as aggressive as Seamus's was.  We live in a different country and Zane is a bit older and grayer.  At this point, I'm more inclined to work hard to give him a great quality of life rather than put him through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy.

I have to admit, though, that reading about Seamus was inspiring.  Rhyne's story about her breast cancer was also interesting, even if it left me checking my boobs.  I was impressed the most by Rhyne's loyal and long suffering boyfriend, Chris, who was apparently Teresa's rock.  To be honest, Rhyne comes across as somewhat self-absorbed, although I figure she's also pretty genuine.  I'd much rather deal with someone genuine but somewhat unlikable over someone who's fake.

Anyway... I would recommend The Dog Lived (and So Will I) to interested readers.  I give it four stars out of five.



  1. Any mention of breast or ovarian cancer leaves me paranoid. An oncologist whose lecture I sat in on mentioned that left- handed women are more prone to breast cancer than are their right-handed counterparts. hearing this did not exactly make my dad, though it's after menopause that the discrepancy is noted, so I have a few years before I need to seriously stress out and demand mammograms so frequently that I give myself some form of cancer from the excessive radiation.

    I hope Zane's prognosis ends up being as positive as Arran's was.

    i think Seamus is one of those names like Liam, whereby a parent dooms his or her son to being an insufferable brat simply by virtue of having been named Liam or Seamus. (The same was apparently true of the name Jason 40 to 60 years ago.) On the other hand, it may be a question of cause/effect: did being given the name cause the kid to be poorly behaved, or is a parent who would choose Seamus or Liam as a name for his or her kid prone to the parenting practices that would produce a poorly behaved child? It sounds like a good cause for the government to throw tens of thousands of dollars (or more)into research to solve the conundrum.

    Seamus (or Liam, for that matter, though it lacks the obvious Irish charm appropriate for a breed such as an Irish setter) is probably a perfectly good name for a dog.

    1. My ex best friend's dog was named Shamus.

    2. a perfectly fitting name for a dog


Comments on older posts will be moderated until further notice.