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Have a Dog in the Room while Sleeping?

This is a guest post written by Kristen Parry. Kristen is a firm believer in Happiness and Love as the two prominent pillars of life. She is the program manager for The Smile Project and focuses on the ambassador program.

I got a Whoop fitness band on May 13th. Each morning, the Whoop app asks me to assess the previous day so it can find trends in my life that help or hurt my recovery. One of the questions it asks is if you have a dog in the room while you're sleeping. For the first seven days, I checked "yes" to this question without thinking. Of course my dog was in my room.


On the eighth day, I had tears in my eyes when I checked "yes." And I said a silent prayer that I'd get to keep saying "yes." That day—May 20—was the day I found out my dog had cancer. Seven days after I started tracking if a dog was in the room while I slept, three days before my 30th birthday, and thirteen days before his 7th birthday.


Since I was approaching a new decade, I was reminiscing a lot in the weeks leading up to his diagnosis… thinking about how much I'd changed in the last decade and how much my life had changed in the last six months. From November 2023 to May 2024, I became an aunt, I moved into a new apartment, I got a new job, I changed gyms, I branched out and made new friends… every aspect of my life changed.  Except my dog. He was stable and the definition of "just happy to be here." He's the one thing that wasn’t changing and the most important part of my day-to-day life.


When I learned he had cancer I was devastated to say the least. I couldn't fathom how the only constant in my life could be impacted like that. How unfair it was to him. I spent hours thinking about the fact that he's been there for me during the worst years of my life and given me so much comfort, love, and support. And I felt like I was only just beginning to return the favor… I finally felt good, and I was so excited about the future until I didn't know how long he'd be here.


Now, a month later, I know that his cancer is stage one, we have a treatment plan in place, and the prognosis, while not guaranteed, is really as good as it can be. To say I'm grateful is an understatement.


This whole situation is a reminder that life is short and nothing is guaranteed. I know people always say to tell others you love them and to enjoy this time while you have it. I've said it before too. But I mean it now. And I hope you can take this reminder to heart.


Every single day, for the rest of my dog's life, I will be thrilled to check "yes" when this app asks me if I have a dog in the room while sleeping. Heck yeah I do. His name is Cayman. He's my best friend, he deserves the world, and he'll never know how much he means to me.


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