“Started in 1988, National Cancer Survivors Day aspires to draw attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorships to promote more resources, research, and survivor friendly legislation to improve survivors’ quality of life.”

The growing network of (human) cancer survivors  inspired the creation of National Cancer Survivors Day, an annual observance that celebrates life for those who have survived, and serves as inspiration for those recently diagnosed. The celebration aims to showcase how life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding, and even inspiring. Observed the first Sunday each June, this year’s National Cancer Survivors Day is June 4.

The Puppy Up Foundation also celebrates the rich lives our animals can live, even after such a diagnosis. What especially comes to mind for those of us associated with the Puppy Up Foundation is the undaunted spirit of our canine friends. The expression “Puppy Up!” grew from that very fearless, undeterred attitude we witness in our animals in the face of the disease.

A cancer diagnosis, whether in our pets, in family, friends, or in ourselves, naturally induces myriad negative emotions. It’s the start of an arduous journey both mentally and physically. However, there  are support groups out there capable of helping you and your animal. When given the opportunity, people will generously share information and opinions about the treatments, nutrition, expectations, drug effects, etc. with others who are searching for answers. There are numerous support groups, on Yahoo, Facebook, and other resources, to join with others. While cancer is a lonely diagnosis, you needn’t be alone.

Even after treatment is complete and the cancer survivor is in remission, life can still be difficult as we transition with them into post-treatment care. While pet parents are elated that treatment is over, a new chapter begins and brings with it new challenges, hopes, happiness, and concerns – and managing all these can be a challenge on its own.

Much of life post-treatment focuses on maintaining a positive, realistic attitude for our animals and ourselves. Our companions easily read our emotions, so routine and calm are important. Many of us who care for canine cancer survivors also reevaluate their nutritional habits. Eating well helps regain strength, rebuild tissue, and improve overall wellness. Many pet-parents do considerable research into nutrition and supplements for their pets. And we shouldn’t hesitate to ask both our veterinarians and others who have similar experiences with canine cancer for help with building a nutritious, balanced eating plan. Do your research, seek the advice of others, but go with your own intuition. You know your animal best.

The point is, cancer need not be a death sentence. To survive cancer is to celebrate overcoming one of the world’s most sinister diseases. The Puppy Up Foundation congratulates all of our two, three, and four-footed friends, and wishes them a continued and full recovery.