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Lifestyle

October 21, 2012

Author and her dog battle cancer together

Your dog gets the best of care.

Before you give him toys, you make sure the squeaker isn’t a choking danger. You read the labels on his food, and you’re equally cautious about his treats. He’s walked on a schedule, bathed and pampered, spoiled, and loved to pieces.

Author Teresa J. Rhyne knows what it’s like: she sometimes took better care of her dog than she did herself. But in her new book “The Dog Lived (and So Will I),” that lopsided treatment couldn’t last long.

It was a slam to the psyche that nobody should endure: in the space of six months, Teresa Rhyne lost her marriage, her home and both her elderly dogs, one after the other. She knew it was all coming, but it was painful nonetheless and because of that, she wasn’t looking for another dog or another man.

Both landed in her heart anyhow.

Chris was afraid of dogs. Seamus won him over with beagle charm. And life would’ve been smooth from there on, except that it doesn’t work that way.

Chris’s family started putting pressure on him to break up with Rhyne because of their age difference. He was 29. She was in her 40s, which wasn’t what they wanted for their Ivy-League-educated son, even though Rhyne was a lawyer. Harsh words were exchanged, and Chris severed ties with his family.

Then Seamus’s groomer found a suspicious mark on the dog’s behind. Rhyne whisked her boy to the vet, where Seamus was diagnosed with cancer.

Treatment wasn’t cheap, but Rhyne decided that she’d so anything to keep her dog alive and healthy. She fretted during Seamus’ surgery. She followed computer-generated charts for his medicines. And just when it looked like Seamus’s cancer-watch was over, she received another shock.

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