Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: March 19, 2006
Just a month before I sat down to read Grizz's story, I had been dealing with my own pooch's cancer scare. This was her second cancer in her 12 years, so I had had my share of tests, nerves and tears, but she was one of the lucky ones and is doing well today. Nevertheless, I was a bit leery to read a book that might bring back all those emotions, but as I sat with my tissues in hand, I was pleasantly surprised. Allow me to explain...
Grizz is a sweet, loving Siberian Husky who finds himself with a cancer diagnosis, but he doesn't let it weigh him down and takes it on with courage. We know this because it is Grizz who narrates his own story, with the help of his mom, Jo, of course. He displays a love for life and a disregard for illness that I have rarely seen in human patients during my years as a cancer nurse. Even the healthiest of humans can learn an important lesson from this loveable pooch – life is too short to not stop and smell the roses.
We see the dedication of Jo and Barry Helms, Grizz's human parents, through their tireless efforts to save their furry friend without sacrificing his quality of life. Jo describes how Grizz seems to know she is trying to get him well as he judiciously takes his medications without complaint. (Funny, my furry friend was not quite so understanding!) She takes us through their long trips to the oncologist and the heart-wrenching decisions made on Grizz's behalf. Their story serves as a support for families going through similar situations or a feel-good story for any animal lover.
All the proceeds of this book go to The Grizz and Friends Cancer Fund, a non-profit fund which raises money for research into the treatment of cancer in companion animals. What a nice tribute to Grizz! Jo also started a website where the book can be purchased, which also includes information on support groups and resources.