Keeping well with a new companion

Throughout the toughest battle of her life, Tracy Palmer, Building Information Modeling Coordinator in Facilities Information and Technology Service, part of Planning and Real Estate, was never short on support. In 2008, Tracy was diagnosed with breast cancer, a shocking diagnosis for a woman who did everything she could to lead a healthy lifestyle, but she soon realized that’s not exactly how the disease works.

By 2009, doctors removed the tumor from her chest. Then came three months of chemotherapy and five years of hormone blocking therapy. In her corner throughout her battle, was her husband Tim, her five children and her three grandchildren. She also had a special friend who was there to provide consistent love, her dog Doevee. The 35-pound puggle’s energy and affection would help Tracy escape the effects of the treatment, if even just for a few moments.

“Pets are extremely helpful in the healing process. They give you that unconditional love. [Doevee], I called him my chemo buddy. He is the one that sat with me. I would come home from chemo and he would sit on the floor next to the couch and would rub his ears. He was my buddy,” Tracy said.

Tracy’s cancer therapy continued through 2014, resulting in a successful recovery. In 2017, Tracy remains cancer free, having only periodic doctor visits to check on her condition. What has gotten her to this point is quality medical care from The James Cancer Hospital, and love from family and friends.

Tracy’s friend Doevee is no longer around, passing away two years ago from cancer at eight years old. In February though, Tracy was surprised with an early Valentine’s gift from her husband. It was a brand new buddy, a 9-pound Shiba Inu she calls Rocky (pictured above), named after the mountains.

“I was surprised and so very happy, to the point of tears.  It is awesome to have a little puppy to cuddle with and take care of again.”

Rocky’s presence comes at a time where Tracy’s health is more stable, but his role is helping her remain well.

“There are times when my job is stressful and I’m wiped out. I get home and all I want to do is lay down, but then you’ve got to get up. Rocky is right there. He is my stress reliever.”

These days, Tracy takes walks on a daily basis with her new 6-month-old ball of energy. She and Rocky also go on hikes, recently at Indian Run Falls in Dublin. It’s Tracy’s way to remain healthy and well.

From her experience with cancer, Tracy is more aware of her body. She knows when she’s becoming stressed and when to take a step back. That’s where Rocky comes in.

“[Dogs] just really help with comfort. Animals add so much to your life. I don’t know what I would do without my pup.”