Monday, March 12, 2012

Red Rover Dog Walking

Best Idea Ever!!!          

One day I was skulking around at a large hospital in Boston in their cancer center.   I love to do this.  I have no shame.  I will look anywhere I can to find resources for my patients.   In a perfect world, all cancer survivors would get the same information and would be offered the same resources.  It wouldn't matter if they were treated at a "wealthy" hospital or a safety net hospital.  It wouldn't matter if they lived in a rural area, or in an urban area.  In my mind, cancer survivors deserve any help that we can give them.  But I digress!!!

So while skulking, I saw a flyer for residents of Barnstable,  MA.  It offered free dog walking (to any cancer patient with a dog) who was undergoing cancer treatment.  OMG...what an awesome idea!!!!!  Being a dog lover AND a cancer patient lover,  I was totally ashamed that I had never thought of this excellent idea myself.

Maria Silva is a professional dog walker/pet sitter in Cape Cod.  Her husband is a cancer survivor.  While he was receiving treatment for his Lymphoma in Boston in 2007, Maria's friends took turns walking her dog.   She was so grateful for this assistance.   When his treatment was over, she vowed to do this for others.

When I saw the flyer for her free dogwalking services, I called her to get the low down and to make sure that her offer was truly real.  It was.  

If you are a cancer patient receiving treatment and live in Barnstable MA, give Maria a call.  If you have a pet, and do not have cancer and live in the Barnstable area, I urge you to support Maria's business.  After all, don't you want someone who is filled with kindness taking care of your pet?

Rock on Maria!!!!  You have a huge heart and this is such a great thing to do!!

If you don't live anywhere near Barnstable, MA isn't this a great idea that you could try in your own home town?  Volunteer dogwalker or pet sitter for a cancer survivor undergoing treatment?  You could put your own flyers up at your local cancer center.  The minute I retire, this is exactly what you will find me doing.

Perhaps you are busy, work crazy hours and this is way too ambitious.  Perhaps you offer to walk the dog of one cancer patient who lives near you.  Or, to correlate with the "best gifts to give a cancer patient"...if you know someone who is going through treatment, offer to walk or pet sit their dog on a regular basis.  Or give them a coupon book good for 20 days of dogwalking to be used on days when they need it the most.

If a cancer patient is admitted to the hospital for a few days unexpectedly, you can bet that they will be worrying about their pet.  Offer to watch, feed or walk their pet.  On those days when they are really dragging and feeling their worst, can you imagine what a relief it would be for someone to offer to take their pet for a long walk?

This is definitely in my top ten favorite resources of all time for cancer patients.  Maria Silva, you are a genius!!!!!


  1. Sandy, of course I remember you! I was so touched back then when you contacted me and am honored now that you wrote about me on your amazing blog. I am going to share your blog with many whom I know it will help them on their journey. I must say, the most rewarding part so far of Red Rover has been finding the right family to place the cancer patient's dog with before they pass. It truly is a feeling beyond words when the patient is relieved to know their pet will be loved and cared for. Keep up this great blog! Many thanks for your thoughtfulness.. Maria

    1. Maria, Thanks for all that you do and for your lovely comments. I can just imagine the peace you provide to those patients prior to their passing. I just lost an elderly patient with multiple myeloma. His concern for what would happen to his cat was greater than his fear of dying. And for those who survive cancer (many, I hope!)the
      assistance that you provide during their treatment is inspiring. Thank you!!!