Advice please-getting a dog/pup?

Hi all,
I am just recovering from second surgery and have been told will have chemo and radiotherapy over the coming months. My hubby works full time- I have a 13 year old. We are considering getting a dog or a puppy but not sure whether this would be too much for me to deal with with the treatment to come. Any advice would be welcome- we think it would be a good focus for me- motivation to get out of bed and outside and to do some exercise etc etc…but maybe the housetraining/obedience training would be too much.
Did anyone do this at this time in their lives? We have had a dog before so know what joy they do bring but also what hard work they can be- we got ours from a rescue centre and it came with a few screws loose: fit in well in our household! Ha.
XXXXXXXAny advice would be helpful, thanks XXX

I can’t comment on having a puppy during chemo - but I have two very active, high energy dogs and found walking them during chemo very beneficial. I have always walked them twice a day for an hour or more at a time - and kept this up during all but a few days during chemo. Didn’t always want to - but felt better for the fresh air, just getting out of the house, and walking with friends was a nice distraction. So from that point of view I would say go for it, but …

The rads might be more difficult with a puppy - depending on how far you will have to travel. I had 7 weeks of rads, with a four hour round trip - it might be quite difficult to leave a young puppy for that long. I was a bit anxious with my dogs - always had an eye on my watch.


I have 2 labradors the older one was with me all during chemo, and I often felt if it wasnt for him I would have went mad. He was something to focus on and made me go out and walk even though some days it wasnt very far. The younger of the dogs I got just after my chemo finished and though it was hard work a lot of that was because I had forgotten how energetic a puppy is chemo or not. He has settled down a bit now and does take up a lot of my time. I dont work anymore so need something to do, kids are all grown up and dont need me so much so my time now is spent with dogs and grandchildren.

Do what you think is right for you and enjoy

Take care

Carolyn x

We lost our lovely dog last year, she was nearly 12 and couldn’t bear to get another one straight away. We put our name on the list for a failed/retired guide dog as thought there would be a long waiting list. Ironically the day after I was diagnosed with bc in January we had a call from the Guide Dog Assoc asking if we could take a retired guide dog! He has now been our dog since February and has been a real boost to me whilst I’ve been going through chemo.

I knew I’d be off work for quite a while and it is good to have him in the house with me, also motivates me to go out every day for a walk. I’m sure this has helped as I’ve felt quite well on my chemo and the fresh air and exercise has definitely done me good.

The only thing is, he is a big dog, labrador/retriever cross and I have to be careful that he doesn’t pull too much on the side I had mx.

With regard to a puppy, they do take up a lot of your time with training etc., so would depend on how tired etc you will feel with the chemo.

Hope this helps and good luck with whatever you choose.


My new puppy comes home to us next Wednesday!

I’ve already done chemo and surgery and have now started back at work part time. My fitness level has gone to pot since chemo, so like you, I hope the new dog will get me out and about and provide a welcome distraction.

I don’t think you should get a puppy before your chemo. I was often in bed for days and days and I certainly would not have been able to deal with a new puppy at this time. Poop and wee would not have helped the nausea! However, an older dog might work? But it would depend very much how you cope with chemo.

We have a 7 yr old lab called Millie (pic) and she was a real comfort to have around when I was having my treatment. As others have said, with regards to a pup they are a lot of hard work and are very energetic and excitable. An older dog that’s not so boisterous and is toilet-trained! would be ideal. Best of luck with everything. x

Thanks for your advice everyone.
I am really glad to read that the doggies helped with your treatment- must admit had not considered scooping poop and mopping wee with the nausea. Have 6 weeks ish to go before chemo so will go and have a search at the rescue centres for an older dog who is mainly housetrained and less energetic!
Thank you again everyone and all the best,

Just be aware that chemo can put you to bed for days and it’s an effort to have a wash and get something to eat, let alone settle in a new older dog. As for a puppy with poo and wee to deal with as pangapanga said, it would be a lot of bother and possibly an infection risk whilst blood counts are low on chemo.

Hi, I was desperate to get a dog/puppy last year following dx and then mastectomy. I felt I needed something to divert my attention away from the cancer and wanted to do some good by getting a rescue dog. However everyone kept advising me to wait as they didn’t think I would be able to cope. They were right…I spent 2 or 3 days in bed being sick after each chemo (of course not everyone reacts like this!!) and then had to spend 4 hours 5 days a week for 5 weeks away from home with the rads so it wouldn’t have been the right time. I waited until 2 months after the rads finished and then got a rescue pup.

He has brought immense joy to my life but has also been hard work! Luckily, my children have been able to help alot. So, it would be good for you if you have help as there will still be days after treatment when you are tired and sore. You’re right, probably an older dog would be better.

Good luck!!


Hello all,
Just thought I would update you. We have rescued two six year old dogs(raised together) who are house trained and with no behavioural issues and their recall is fab- we live by the beach! We pick them up on the weekend. Can’t wait. My son is now off school for the summer so will be able to help with walking etc on the tired and sore days.
Woof woof to all you doggie lovers- have already booked the vets for booster injections Monday.
Sallyann XXX

Hope you have fun with them and they take your mind off a little from your treatment! X

After my treatment was over, we got our beloved puppy Ozzy, he is a cockerpoo and a total joy. I do admit housetraining him was the hard part but only took us about 4 weeks to get over that. He is the best thing that came out of my cancer and I just love him loads, he has also helped my kids and hubby move on.

go for it, somedays I still cant be bothered doing anything but I look at Ozzy and off we go for a walk,only problem is the walk takes forever as he looks like a brown teddybear and everyone wants a cuddle of him, he is adorable

Carol xxx

Hi we got a puppy in January & I was diagnosed in Feb with secondaries. The puppy has proved to be a strain for us unfortunately ( he is currently staying with my parents) there is alot to think about and had we known what was ahead we wouldnt have got him. I love him to pieces so does my son but hubby has had to deal with cleaning up dog poo, sickness etc all the down sides. I have walked him only a few times as i found my chemo very exhausting and it hasnt been fair on him because we were flung into the situation of treatment hospitals alot of strain so not alot of time to train a little puppy, but on the other side there is nothing nicer lying on the sofa and the pup is up lying with you, good therapy !!! but it is a very big decision & could do you the world of good !!! I look forward to getting back on my feet and him returning from my parents and getting out and about with him !!
Max x

I always wanted a dog. the moment i was diagnosed we got our jack Russel Fudge my first ever dog.
Even when I have been completely washed out by the chemo I have still found the energy to take him for a walk.
When everyone else is out he keeps me company.
You are never short of people to talk to when you have a puppy, and it won’t be all about cancer.
When I got home after surgery he was the one who was most pleased to see me.
Yes they are hard work just like children. But worth every minuet.
As long as the rest of the family are keen do it.
Best of luck to you. x

We’ve had dogs for the last 20 years and are current ones are 11 and 12. They have all brought us much joy over the years. They are an enormous tie though and we rarely go away since my dad died as he used to look after them for us. I would think very carefully about committing to a dog, they really are hard work in the early days and with the big changes that BC has brought to your life I really wouldn’t do it yet. If you want to try a dog out why not volunteer to walk dogs from your local rescue or take on a foster puppy from the Guide Dogs for The Blind to socialise them. A friend of mine has just done that a year after chemo and really enjoys it. she has just been away on safari and the association took the dog back for the 2 weeks. You get the best of both worlds. I know that since BC we want to travel more and not put things off until tomorrow.

We have two dogs, both were pups when we had them and it’s a lot of commitment and work, house training, socialising, visits to vets etc. A bit like small children, you will probably have some sleepless nights and they need to be let out regularly. Maybe wait until all the active treatment is over. I wouldn’t be without my furry friends but they do require a lot of work. Good luck!

I have always had dogs in my life and I would re-iterate what others have said about getting a puppy just before you undergo chemo. They are absolutely a joy, but such hard work, even when you are feeling well. I now have three dogs - all rescue. I got my lab when she was 18 months and her previous owner couldnt cope with her chewing everything in sight. She needed lots of attention at first, but soon became a wonderful companion. I then got two retired ex racing greyhounds. These dogs are a dream come true in terms of needed care as they are such low maintenance. They don’t pull on the lead (they don’t have great recall though, so not a good idea to let them off unless you can run like Linford Christie to chase them!), they are remarkably clean and they have the most docile, sensitive, affectionate natures. They need very short bursts of exercise and then sleep and sleep and sleep. I would highly recommend considering one of these dogs as there are so many unwanted waiting in rescue centres. Their only downside is that some of them are not good with cats, but they are brilliant with children and other dogs, usually.

I so agree with what Cathy has said about re-homing an ex-racer greyhound - a great idea. A couple of my friends have done this with great success - there is just a short adjustment period as they generally have never been inside a house before. Will also rid your garden of squirrels in no time at all!