My wife has just been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She's always wanted a dog and we wondered if this might be the time for her to get one, for companionship. Other family members will be around as she's going through treatment.
Any views? I think it may be too much with the chemo and other treatments, but I think it would really help her mindset.
As a dog lover who has always had dogs, I cant imagine life without them, but the decision is a big one if you havent had one before. They offer so much, but we need to consider what we can offer them, and hopefully make sure you get a dog which matches with you and your lifestyle. I would urge getting a rescue, not a puppy. Any good rescue knows their dogs, and will check out that you can be matched with a suitable one. I have always had rescue dogs and they have all been wonderful. I am stage 4 breast cancer (incurable) and having lost my last dog in June 2020, agonised about getting another. In the end I decided to adopt two elderly dogs - they can still walk and enjoy life but they dont demand too much ( low energy dogs) and I have planned for what happens if they outlast me. You and your wife dont have to consider that as she is treatable and cureable, but you do need to decide on what type of dog you want - know what breeds are suitable for your life - small/ medium/ energetic/lapdog etc. Do your research and then go to a local rescue and be guided by the staff. Some dogs which you might dismiss are in fact eminently suitable - greyhounds for example are usually quiet, laidback ( except around small creatures) and lazy, needing only a couple of short walks each day, and love lying on a sofa all day. Puppies are cute but they are much harder work than human babies - they need attention, socialisation, training and that could be a lot when your wife is wiped out by chemo and just wanting rest. Dogs in rescue are usually housetrained, and often come with a known history - like being taken in due to owners ill health, move to residential care, bereavement etc. Of course there are also the ones abandoned becuase the owners took a dog on with no idea of what it meant, what the dog needed, the costs etc, but rescue staff should be well aware of that.
Sorry if that sounds preachy, but you are considering a sentient creature who will give unconditional love once settled, and they deserve the best from us. In terms of your wife's mental health and wellbeing, a dog can be marvellous ( and for physical health, since they do require a daily walk or two). Good luck with whatever you decide.