The Dog We Never Had

He is the dog we never had.

He's a Bernese Mountain dog. A big one. We always knew what his name was going to be ..."Spanky" ... no matter what.

The fact that he would be a toy didn't really bother us. We couldn't have a real one because we both traveled too much.

So here he is, sitting with me on the bed. My comrade in cancer.

A boy and his dog.



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What a visualization that is!!!

Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!

Sent by Kim Moore | 7:44 AM | 8-14-2008

Spanky would probably love our dog "Bullet". He's a German shepherd permanently in the the "sit" position, soft body, rubber head, always smiling. Oh, and he's 40 years old (we are the third generation he's lived with.)
He sits on the landing going up to the second floor. The dog food costs nothing, he doesn't bark or shed and prefers not to go outside.
We are allergic and "Bullet" is my buddy.

Sascha:Sorry to hear about the scans. Good luck to John with the next round of chemo. Strength to you both.

So good to hear from you this morning Leroy. Give Laurie's hand a squeeze for me.
Wishing you a fragrant summer breeze,
Debra Altschiller

Sent by Debra in New Hampshire | 7:51 AM | 8-14-2008

That sounds like a beautiful and comforting thing. Dog is a man's best friend. Who said the dog had to be breathing.
Wanda Amorose

Sent by Wanda Amorose | 7:53 AM | 8-14-2008

Leroy, glad that you have Spanky. And how's that bed working out? I hope makeing things easier for you and Laurie.

Have the best day you can.

Sent by dorothy in oregon | 8:03 AM | 8-14-2008

Leroy and Laurie,
When Neil was in the hospital, they allowed us to bring our boys, Radar (Brittany Spaniel) and Rusty (Cocker Spaniel), to the hospital. The smile on his face said it all. He loved it!
The dogs would go crazy and jump on and off the bed, lick his face and lay by his side. It was always so comforting for him. Trouble was, you could not fit me in there too! We both missed that.
I hope Spanky is giving you as much joy as my boys gave Neil....
Continued prayers and peace my friends!

Sent by Laurie Hirth | 8:06 AM | 8-14-2008

There's nothing like a dog! And Spanky probably doesn't try to lick your nose....

Love to you both...

Sent by Brenda in Texas | 8:09 AM | 8-14-2008

Wow, Leroy, are you serious? I have a schnauzer named Spanky! I got him in 2002 as a rescue from a family that was abusing him, and I have made it my singular goal to make sure the rest of his life is the wonderful existence he didn't have in his beginning. He is a wonderful rascal!

I feel a kind of bond with you knowing we have dogs named Spanky.

Sent by Leonard from Alabama | 8:12 AM | 8-14-2008

Take a fantasy trip and know Burnese Mountain dogs are the best. My best friend has one now and had one in the past. If I ever get a dog, that will be the breed I choose. Picture a 100 pound lab dog. A boy and his dog, indeed.

Prayers to and for both of you.

Sent by Carolyn | 8:12 AM | 8-14-2008

Dearest Leroy,
And may Spanky give you the comfort and affection that every good dog gives to hs "boy". G-d bless you and much love to Laurie.

Sent by Janice Goldberg White | 8:16 AM | 8-14-2008

Morning everyone!

Before coffee:
I thought you wrote that you had a new TOY dog (as in size/class of dogs, like toy poodle - and this was some kind of exotic mixed breed) not TOY (as in something you buy at ToysRUs) and I thought your point was that it is never too late to get a dog. I even wrote and almost sent a response to THAT!

After coffee:
My comment is - anything that you find comforting in your bed is a good deal.

Hope my sleeping brain cells have given you a smile. You have no idea how many times I have reread this entry to make sure I got it.

More coffee, please!

Sent by Liz L. | 8:16 AM | 8-14-2008

Spanky for a Burmese Mountain dog? I am trying to picture this. Ok, got it. Nice, I am a dog lover. I had boxer, Mr. Topper (after the TV show) as a kid and absolutely love them. Neat... I hope Spanky is a good dog... well behaved and calm.

Peace to all...

Sent by Sue Chap | 8:29 AM | 8-14-2008

this is in response to sasha and maxine from yesterday! Sasha, please G-d, the new chemo will do what nobody expects and is the miracle that is needed. Prayers go out to you and your husband.

Maxine, I watched the movie and it broke the tears that I keep inside when reading this blog and realizing how lucky I am that I share with leroy and the rest of us on this blog; but I am a voyer, at this time in my life, and as much as I feel, I am lucky so far! G-d bless every one of us.
Love, Jan

Sent by janice goldberg white | 8:30 AM | 8-14-2008

I know Spanky's a lot of comfort to you, Leroy.

On one of the trips to Dallas while Pat was in a clinical trial we had to stay for two weeks. There's just so much you can do in Dallas--we were bored. I saw an ad in the paper for 'white scottish terrier puppies'. Pat said there was no such thing; I called, we had to go look, and came back with the tiniest little wheaten scottie, Murphy. Murphy followed Pat everywhere. When Pat was in the hospital for those last weeks, one of the things he regretted was not being able to see Murphy. Our wonderful oncologist made the arrangements and I was able to sneak Murphy in tucked inside a duffle bag.

A boy and his dog...

Oh, the memories your writing evokes, Leroy. Thanks again for what you've created here. It's very healing.

Hugs and prayers to you both.

Sent by Kathy B. from Michigan | 8:31 AM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy & Laurie,
Puppies! Another great therapy! My sister is a full-on "Berner" devotee and would applaud your choice! They are cuddly and furry and people dogs. I wish you both much happiness with the puppy!!

Sent by Judie in CT | 8:31 AM | 8-14-2008

I love the image of your pal beside you, Leroy.

The name Spanky makes me wonder if you were a Little Rascals fan growing up. Spanky was such a great character. I loved the way those kids made things happen. Adults weren't needed to put on plays or to build clubhouses or cars. Spanky was always the ring leader. I bet you were too.

Sent by Laura | 8:33 AM | 8-14-2008

God bless you Leroy and Laurie. I wish we could see you with your big dog! I have two big dogs myself and suspect that your's is considerably more courteous in the bed than my crazy pups.

Stay comfortable, rested and STRONG! You have had an amazing journey and affected so many of us in the process. Thank you for sharing your life so candidly. Both of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Sent by Merin | 8:49 AM | 8-14-2008

That would be Bernese Mountain dog, with an "e", named after the town of Berne in Switzerland.
But, yes they're nice dogs. They were never that popular so breeding remained in the hands of dedicated breeders and the breed escaped destruction by puppy mills as has happened to so many other breeds.

Sent by Michael K. | 8:52 AM | 8-14-2008

A large, gentle & loveable bred. Perhaps named after the directing character of the "our gang" little rascals? Today's post might need an accompanying Spanky picture....

Hold Fast & ... enjoy your second boyhood with Spanky.

Sent by Don MacLeod | 8:58 AM | 8-14-2008

Pat on the head to "Spanky" from Michigan.

Sent by Deb from Michigan | 9:00 AM | 8-14-2008

It was a boy and his cat, Bubba, with us. Something how the need to hug something helps eh?

God bless you Leroy.


Sent by Judy Voller | 9:01 AM | 8-14-2008

When I was a depressed wife, I bought myself a beautiful stuffed dog. Now I think how pitiful it was that I was that lonely. On the other hand, how nice that I was able to find a friend during a sad time. Hug him tight Leroy. Tell him your secrets.

Sent by Ann | 9:07 AM | 8-14-2008

Toy dogs are even more loyal than real ones, if that is possible. Except they never come when you call.

I hope that you find something wonderful to enjoy about this day, Leroy.

Sent by Art Ritter | 9:11 AM | 8-14-2008

When I was in the Peace Corps, my father sent me a puppy stuffed animal. He thought I looked lonely in the self portraits I sent home. I'm glad you have man's best friend by your side.

Sent by Denise | 9:12 AM | 8-14-2008

Leroy, are we not all stuffed animals in others lives? comforted by the symbolic nature of our presence embodied in inanimate, but lovable 'things' that take on a life of their own. Hospice is a loving hand, extended because comfort trumps suffering, dignity trumps powerlessness, and, finally, what the patient needs and wants, trumps what medical science can no longer (or perhaps ever) could promise. I am confident that you and Laurie will take a deep breath of relief as the new people now entering your lives to care for you both...seriously, for both of you, help you live and thrive. The longevity of our time on this planet is a detail; the quality of our active and conscious loving of each other has more value. In our capitalistic society, we tend to use linear, arithmatic measures...but in the society of the spirit, there is so much more to have.

Cancer has changed all of our lives...and I am not a cancer patient...but it is what makes us wake up to the fact that life never has green lights, only yellow ones. Your acute awareness of this shared on a daily basis has brought me to more fully understand and experience this. I thank you and Laurie for being so transparent in your sharing...


Sent by Susan Mazer | 9:15 AM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy,
After each of my 6 chemo treatments my dog never left my side while I was stuck in bed for a week at a time. It was amazing how she knew I was not well and she was, indeed, my little comfort. I will never forget it and will always be grateful to her for that.

Here's hoping that you have more good days than bad,


Sent by Lianne Friedman | 9:16 AM | 8-14-2008

Well, I suspect that Spanky makes you smile, Leroy. Good for you!
Love and hugs all around,

Sent by Anita Solomon | 9:18 AM | 8-14-2008

so is this a real dog or a toy one you have now ? and whatever I love dogs and think they are great friends - stuffed or real :}

Sent by Jill Curtis | 9:22 AM | 8-14-2008

Leroy: We want a picture of The Boy and HIS DOG!!! We love you and are praying for a miracle. God's Blessings on you!!!!! And Laurie too!!!

Sent by Joanie, Front Royal, Va | 9:23 AM | 8-14-2008

Ahhhh...we're seeing a softer side! Love it!! Enjoy Spanky.

Sent by Susan | 9:34 AM | 8-14-2008

Praying for you today. Hope you have peace and comfort.

Sent by Lori West | 9:35 AM | 8-14-2008

LEROY!!! Remember how I said my mother in law let her dog on her hospital bed!!?? What a joy he will be to you.. Our dog(s) are the best things we have.. They never talk back and look at you with love from above..

Spanky.. I like that.. You will NEVER regret getting him.. You can tell him things that you can't tell ANYONE else at any time of the day or night.. He will listen and lick your face..



Sent by Patsy Elmore | 9:39 AM | 8-14-2008

Good morning, Leroy and Laurie and Spanky! Is Spanky named for a Little Rascal? When I was in graduate school, my roommate had two (real) kittens named Buckwheat and Alfalfa - and I had a (real) puppy named Spanky Sam. Our Little Rascals. Hope your Spanky behaves himself!

Sent by Leslie C | 9:40 AM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy:

You're never too old to receive comfort from a toy animal. I have a toy yellow lab puppy I have named Puppy Luppy who gives me unconditional love and listens to my laments and gazes at me out of soft all-knowing eyes. No, I'm not regressing, and neither are you. Long live Spanky; he will be a constant companion in the hard days to come. Love and hugs, always, to you and Laurie.

Sent by Marsha Hogarth | 9:59 AM | 8-14-2008

It always amazes me that when we get through all the noise how simple things can be. You've created a wonderful visual. Thank You

Sent by Kathy B. | 10:07 AM | 8-14-2008


Sometimes the simple things give us great comfort when we are sick. My sister had two stuffed animals when she was ill, one was named Tasha and the other Si. She would squeeze onto them when she was in pain or was getting a needle. They were her greatest companions. When she passed away this June we decided to bury them with her. I wish you all the best, you and Laurie are always in my prayers.

God Bless

Sent by Linda | 10:12 AM | 8-14-2008

My sister also had a dog beside her. Her prom date from high school came to visit and didn't want to bring flowers. His mother suggested he take a stuffed animal. The dog was her constant companion, giving relief to the most painful back, shoulder and arm. It seemed to be the only thing that gave her comfort even though she had a bevy of family and two devoted Pomeranians. We weren't able to thank her friend enough.

Sent by Laurie B (Rachel's sister), Water Valley, Mississippi | 10:16 AM | 8-14-2008

Good Morning Leroy! I wonder if "Spanky" realizes what a special bed he is sitting on and just how loved and famous his owner has become.
Now, we are off to the doctor's. My husband is to have Prostate surgery tomorrow morning. Wish us luck. It is rather "touchy" because of his advanced age.
We wish you a good week-end with Laurie.

Sent by J C R | 10:18 AM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy,
Just praying for an easy day for you with some respite from the pain. You're on my mind every day since I started reading your blog at the begging.
Here's a joke for you:
A woman has had 3 husbands. the first ran away, the second beat her, the thrid was lousy in bed. Deciding to be proactive, she places a personal ad:
Widow looking for male companion. Must be good in bed, and not beat me or leave me.'
Several days later, the door bell rings. She opens the door to find a man w/ no arms and no legs.
"You've not arms" he says, "I'll never beat you"
"You've got no legs". he says, "I'll never run away"
"You're supposed to be good in bed"
he says, "How do you think I rang the bell?"
Enjoy this day,

Sent by Valerie Longfellow | 10:23 AM | 8-14-2008

Cuddle up with quiet, soft, Spanky and have a good day. At least with your Spanky you don't have to worry about taking him for a walk. What a lovely sight a boy and his dog!

Sent by Sondra Scott | 10:29 AM | 8-14-2008

They are the best. I'm sure you've created a voice for him. That's a lot of fun.

Sent by Lisa | 10:30 AM | 8-14-2008

Well now, I just HAVE to speak up for cats here! :) Where would I be without Sophie and Gloria? People say cats don't relate to humans - not so. They snuggle with me in bed, lick my face, purr up a storm, fight over who is closest to me, and I know, absolutely know, they love me. Very comforting in times of trial or discouragement. When my daughter moved to Manhattan, she took along a stuffed toy replica of one of our cats, just for comfort. It worked!

Sent by wendy | 10:31 AM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy,
Furry friends are good for our souls....whether they are real or toys. I'm smiling as I picture the "boy and his dog". Take comfort in YOUR furry friend.

Sent by Beth | 10:31 AM | 8-14-2008

Well, Leroy.. I am glad I am not the ONLY one who thought it was a real TOY dog.. Guess I read it too fast!! But this one is even better.. Don't have to have potty trips!! SMILE


Sent by Patsy Elmore | 10:31 AM | 8-14-2008

Even though I was feeling down, you brought a big smile to my face this morning, Leroy, Laurie, and Spanky. Please, please, please please, could we have a picture????

Sent by Tina from Alton, IL | 10:33 AM | 8-14-2008

JCR: Good luck tomorrow.

Sent by Liz L. | 10:39 AM | 8-14-2008

Hi Leroy,
What a happy image for the day! I grew up with a Bernese Mountain Dog. When I packed to leave for college, he went through my open luggage and carefully upacked--testament to the breed's attachment to their people! I'm certain that a living, breathing Spanky would be just as loyal as his toy stand-in.
Happy thoughts,

Sent by Lucy | 10:39 AM | 8-14-2008

Give Spanky a big sloppy kiss from me.
While your at it, one for you and Laurie too.
Hope your day is an easy one.

Sent by Sondra from MT | 10:46 AM | 8-14-2008

I am glad you have Spanky to comfort you. When I was going through CHOP chemo last year a stray cat appeared in my garage. He was in the rafters and meowed and meowed. I being the germaphode insisted my husband get rid of the unwanted guest. My husband would chase him away and the next day he would come back. One day while sitting in my backyard, having a pity party, the noisy interloper appeared. He began to roll around and seem to want to make me laugh. I made the mistake and fed him and then he waited each day for his handout. My husband caught him and took him to the vet and groomer and he became my backyard companion who I named Rafter...LOL. The cat seemed to know when I felt my lowest and tried his best to see me smile with his antics. When I finished my CHOP chemo.....he moved on. I left food and treats hoping he would return but he never did. I think he was sent to me to comfort me while I was going through a really hard time, and then moved on to rescue another soul. I hope Spanky gives you the same comfort. My prayers are with you and Lauri

Sent by Miriam | 10:52 AM | 8-14-2008

Spanky sounds wonderful. Sending peaceful wishes to you, Laurie, and Spanky


Sent by Karen | 10:57 AM | 8-14-2008

I hope Spanky brings you a lot of comfort. It shows that sometimes little things make the most difference.
This summer, when I had surgery, the kids on the swim team I coach all signed a stuffed gator (our mascot). They gave it to me when I returned, but I said if I ever have surgery again, the gator goes with me. Unfortunately the pathology report showed additional cancer, so I will be going in again, and the gator will be with me (as well as the good wishes of our team).

Sent by Margaret | 11:00 AM | 8-14-2008

Man's best friend! Unconditional love.......what more can one ask for.
As always, prayers dear friend.

Sent by sasha | 11:02 AM | 8-14-2008

I will say special prayers for you and your husband...wishing you a peaceful day today!
That was naughty, but so funny!

Sent by Laurie Hirth | 11:09 AM | 8-14-2008

Eva and Elwood would be thrilled to come visit...but I'm sure that you have been utterly flooded with offers for dogs. Eva says "me first, I'mtheclosest!"DAV_0620.JPG

Sent by Elizabeth Grusin | 11:17 AM | 8-14-2008

What a wonderful picture you have drawn for us. Thanks for my first smile of the day!

Sent by Betty O'Connor | 11:23 AM | 8-14-2008

JCR-Wishing you and your husband all the best tomorrow.

Sent by jen | 11:26 AM | 8-14-2008

Welcome to Spanky! At least he won't pout when Laurie wants to crawl into bed too.

Take comfort! Peace to all

Sent by Joan S. | 11:28 AM | 8-14-2008

Love and peace will continue to surround you, Leroy.

Sent by Lucy Groh | 11:30 AM | 8-14-2008

How absolutely neat Leroy, how happy I am for you. Spanky is going to be a loving, devoted companion and confidant for you, 24-7.

Sent by Robert Sheehan | 11:30 AM | 8-14-2008


Something soft and cuddly is always a good thing. It just feels good next to you. When Laurie isn't there, now Spanky will be.


Sent by Diana Kitch | 11:41 AM | 8-14-2008

I love picturing you there with your faithful stuffed dog Spanky close beside you. But I wonder if a short, daily visit from a REAL dog that could lick your face and wag her tail with joy just to see you might be welcome? Surely that could be arranged...and Spanky would understand.

Sent by Doris | 11:42 AM | 8-14-2008

Sally is the name of my husband's dog. he was ever watchful when David was so sick and misses him greatly since he passed away last July due to cancer. Spanky will be great comfort to you. Do not under estimate the happiness that Spanky can give to you at this time.
My prayers have been with you and your family since Day 1.

Sent by Karen from Kevil KY (Karen Mayer) | 11:45 AM | 8-14-2008

To Valerie - good joke. FUN-NY!

To Sasha, I am so sorry for your troubling news. Praying the new chemo will be the ticket to help your husband.

To Don, nice picture of the Bernese. Check out the puppy picture with the rabbit. Priceless!

To Leroy, I can't thank you enough for this outlet you have given us all. I started reading it in July of 2007 and have started every morning with you. I don't think you will ever grasp the gift you have given us all. If only we could return the favor. It's like having an extended family that "gets" what the cancerworld is like and isn't afraid to talk about it. Good, bad or other...

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wishing you a peaceful and pain free day!


Sent by Judy Voller | 11:52 AM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy and Spanky,

As panting, drooling, licking, bedhog dogs, we can tell you a thing or two about the give and take required while on your human companion's bed -- Oh wait, no we can't. We CAN tell you, though, what a difference a cuddling hound (or pffft, a cat) can make in a human's day - whether that critter is the drooling variety or the quieter, cleaner "stuffed" version. Our humans loooooove stroking us and just laying a hand on our soft bodies. Settles 'em right down. (Well, that's until the pesky cats come walking into the room... but we digress.) Wishing you and Spanky a good day's companionship,

Your friends,

Scout (lab mix) and Tippy (border collie mix)

PS to Leroy - I picked up a huge, soft, stuffed polar bear at a local thrift shop, and that big guy rides around in the back seat of my car, keeping me company as I drive to and fro and run errands. He always makes me smile. His name? "Leroy"!

xo, Kim Forester

Sent by Kim Forester | 12:03 PM | 8-14-2008

Over 40 years ago, my mother gave me a stuffed toy dog when I went to the other coast for college. Now retired after a long career and last year's cancer diagnosis, I have been cleaning out the house of old files, old clothes, etc. I ran across that stuffed dog (Poochy) and tears came to my eyes. Goodwill may get him some day, but now he is still a comfort.
Enjoy Spanky.

Sent by Roz | 12:05 PM | 8-14-2008

Hi Leroy! I became a dog lover in my 40s, and they have really added so much to my life. Don't think I'll ever be without one now.

On another note, did you hear that Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories a DAY??? He is a MACHINE.

Have a good day, Leroy. I'm thinking of you often.

Sent by alison Jones | 12:11 PM | 8-14-2008


So I've been thinking about detritus. This strane stream of conciousness was sparked by a passing load of wrecked cars. I found myself thinking they were the detritus of our car culture. I'm on a road trip myself, with lots of time to think. For some reason, I found myself thinking of a painfully embarassing situation I found myself in long ago. It occurred to me that this memory was detritus too . . . something that I needed to clear away, get rid of. There is no purpose in revisiting old humiliations I realized. I found myself wondering whether this was yet another lesson of cancer. I can't really call it self-forgiveness, I think it's maybe more like emotional spring cleaning. Wish I'd gotten to it before August.

Say hi to Spanky for me. If he's like my stuffed animals, he speaks English.

Peggy C.

Sent by Peggy Carey | 12:16 PM | 8-14-2008

Hey good morning Leroy,
Spanky sounds like loads of fun but now that you are not doing a lot of traveling about a "real spanky"? I am a avid dog lover and have 4 babies (yellow lab, beagle, rotweiller mix, mix of some kind). They are wonderful companions and have stayed by my side thru some hard times. Just a little something for you and Laurie to think about. God Bless each one on this blog.

Sent by Teresa in WV | 12:22 PM | 8-14-2008

Too funny. I had a stuffed horse that took up the whole hospital bed! Stuffed or not if it works go for it. At least it doesn't require poop scooping.

Hugs to you both.

Sent by Lori | 12:38 PM | 8-14-2008

Everyone needs the unconditional love that only a dog, real or stuffed, can provide. (For the first 15 years of my marriage, my husband permitted me to have only the stuffed variety.) One of the last sentences my mother spoke before her recent death was "Oh, that's so sweet" when we took my real dog over to her house for a visit. I am a believer in pet therapy! Warm fuzzies to you today!

Sent by Laurie Starr | 12:38 PM | 8-14-2008

Sweet one Kim the image of the polar bear onboard.

Sent by Joan S. | 12:51 PM | 8-14-2008

Just saying hello Leroy. I hope you have found the sweet spot in your nice big bed for you and Spanky :) There is enough Olympic coverage to be mind-numbing but hope you are enjoying it and maybe some cool ones as the athletes sweat.

Sent by Dorothy - Los Angeles | 1:14 PM | 8-14-2008

I remember giving my dad a bull-dog for company. It was a reflection of Dad's spirit!
More recently, I gave a dear friend (1 year in remission) and his oncologist, each a miniature dachshund pup from a litter my "girl" had. I'm not sure which of the three of us is most delighted...

Sent by Norma | 1:30 PM | 8-14-2008


Sent by MAVIS | 1:41 PM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy,

May you enjoy this poem by Kenneth W. Brewer:

"Why Dogs Stopped Flying"

"Before humans,
dogs flew everywhere.
Their wings of silky fur
wrapped hollow bones.
Their tales wagged
like rudders through wind,
their stomachs bare
to the sullen earth.

Out of sorrow
for the first humans--
stumbling, crawling,
helpless and cold--
dogs folded their
great wings into paws
soft enough to walk
beside us forever.

They still weep for us,
pity our small noses,
our unfortunate eyes,
our dull teeth.
They lick our faces clean,
keep us warm at night.
Sometimes they remember flying
and bite our ugly hands."

From Maureen in Arlington, VA

Sent by Maureen Doallas | 1:41 PM | 8-14-2008

Spanky knows all, sees all, delivers all. Without asking. Everybody needs someone in their life that does that.

May you have tons of comfort today, Leroy.

A boy and his dog. Starting over.


Sent by Pika | 1:47 PM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy,

Oh, brother, you're in trouble now. Next thing you know, you'll be talking baby talk to giant Spanky.

But, the beauty part is, he'll never judge you.

Still lifting!!!

Sent by Janice J. , Los Angeles | 1:47 PM | 8-14-2008

I am giggling as I read the comments. I think many people missed that your dog is a stuffed toy and not a toy breed. I think there is nothing wrong with the stuffed version. You don't need to scoop the poop, they won't stand on your sore spots, and they can love you unconditionally regardless.

My favorite kitty died shortly after my first series of chemo. A part of me died that day and I felt I lost my private support. I did end up getting a new real kitty but think a stuffed kitty would have suited the bill just as well.

Give Spanky a squeeze and enjoy your day with your new buddy.

Have a wonderful day Leroy and Laurie.

Sent by Alexis Redmond | 2:15 PM | 8-14-2008

Thank you, thank you, for all the good wishes for my husband's surgery tomorrow. It means so much to us! ~ love~

Sent by J C R | 2:19 PM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy, Laurie and Spanky,

One more thing ... For you, and all of us in our community ...

xoxo, Kim Forester

Sent by Kim Forester | 2:19 PM | 8-14-2008


You couldn't have a better comrade! He will give you so much pleasure and comfort as well as the wonderful warmth as he nestles besides you. Enjoy Spanky as he will enjoy you and Laurie. Blessings to the three of you!


Sent by Pat Doyle | 2:30 PM | 8-14-2008

'Stuffed' friends can help so very much! They listen, love, provide solace, know exactly what you're thinking, and believe in you! AND they have drip-dry or washable shoulders!

During radiation treatment for HPV-induced tonsillar cancer, I had little support and many complications. I thank goodness for my teddy-bear friend, "Sir Bye Bear". SBB was named that, as I imagined us both saying 'good-bye' to the cancer cells in my body during treatments. He was a gift from a friend who had also survived a life-threatening illness. So after we were both back on our feet, SBB's name was changed to "Sir ViBear".

We all have survived many things during our travels in CancerWorld. I am just so thankful for my furry friend's help along the way. And I am thrilled to know that you, too, have a similar friend. May both you and Laurie find solace in him. (Is his furr wonderfully soft?)

Sent by Dr. Lynn | 2:30 PM | 8-14-2008

Berners are the best comfort dogs ever. Shoot, they are just the best dogs ever. Sadly, they are quite often inhabitants of cancer world as well, something I wish neither of you had to experience. Enjoy long snuggles - how lucky that Spanky will never get wiggly and need his own space!

Sent by keri | 2:33 PM | 8-14-2008

Leroy - I'm so touched by your blog. I've not commented before but you need to know that my dog Margot and I will dedicate our walk, a car ride, a little sliver of steak from dinner last night, and a full minute of dancing pretty to you this evening. Imagine a blue-black powder puff with a tongue the color of bologna. I wish so deeply the image would make you smile.

Sent by Cynthia | 2:42 PM | 8-14-2008

A boy and his dog -- what a beautiful thing!

Sent by Sarah | 2:48 PM | 8-14-2008

That is very cool - and so are your entries lately. I don't know how you keep doing what you do...but thank you! I look forward to seeing your thoughts here every single day.

Sent by Nichole in FL | 3:11 PM | 8-14-2008

Spanky - what a great and touching idea. I remember going thru chemo and a divorce at the same time and clutching my stuffed black lab named after my own dog who had been left behind with his "father". Jesse helped pull me through some bad nights. It was very comforting.

Sent by Jeanne Stevens | 3:23 PM | 8-14-2008

I have not read all the postings so someone else may have reminded you of this. Dog is God spelled backwards. I know that without my own dogs, I would have been even more lost after my wife lost her battle with the beast.

Stuffed or otherwise, a dog is still a best friend.

Tim Broussard

Sent by Tim Broussard | 3:28 PM | 8-14-2008

Dear Leroy and Laurie,
Spanky was my beloved little furry companion. I lost him almost a year ago--Sept. 4th--to liver cancer. I plan on seeing him again!
Love to you and Laurie

Sent by Linda Lee | 3:31 PM | 8-14-2008

If ever you want to be slobbered, farted, burped or shed on...I have 2 bad boy 2 yr old Boxers you can borrow....that is if they stop wrestling for 5 minutes. lol
trust me...sometimes I would like to stuff em!

Liz Z

Sent by liz Zimmerman | 3:45 PM | 8-14-2008

Laurie is REAL right? ;)

Sent by liz Zimmerman | 3:52 PM | 8-14-2008

Hi Leroy,

Enjoy Spanky. I know he will be very loving and give you great comfort.

Sasha, I am praying the new chemo works.
I applaud John for trying again. NEVER GIVE UP!

Sent by Marcy in NJ | 4:21 PM | 8-14-2008

No Spanky, but a Sparky! I have four dogs, all rescued, thrown away by others. I've taken them in and given them a home.

They say rescued dogs never forget your kindness in taking them in. I think that is true.

My big dog Bear barks his head off when he hears my car coming home. My wife used to get mad at him for that, but I told her that the sound made me happy, because he was excited and happy to see me.

How many people are so happy and excited to see you at the end of the day?

(PS I have five rescued cats as well. They don't bark but they love, as well.)

Sent by Scott S. | 4:28 PM | 8-14-2008

We actually got a dog, a golden retriever poodle mix. Everyone thought we were crazy because we had so many other things to deal with but she has been the source of unending delight--distracted me from how tired I felt at night, forced me out on walks, lightened my husband's spirits. I can't imagine you with anything but a large floppy dog--and who cares if it's a toy--it evokes the essence of dogness without the nipping, jumping, flea-bitten, barking, house-breaking components! Congrats. Salee

Sent by sajenkins | 4:52 PM | 8-14-2008

Peggy C. That is really, really cool! are a rockin' Stud to have a Bernese Mountian dog named "Spanky"!

Lovin from Sag Harbor


Sent by Graham G. Hawks | 5:00 PM | 8-14-2008

I hope Spanky brings you the kind of peace my Molly and Murphy do, but with half the hair. Sometimes you just need something to hold on to. Remember all of us are holding on tight and praying
for you and Laurie. I have Molly and Murphy send you some warm wet kisses too.

Sent by ellie | 6:06 PM | 8-14-2008

liz Zimmerman, you made me laugh out loud; but then I thought, oh, oh, how much do we REALLY know about Leroy? But no, he told us outright that Spanky is stuffed. Thanks for the laugh. Hopefully Laurie is laughing too.

JCR--prayers go out to you and John for tomorrow.

Sent by Kathy B. from Michigan | 6:17 PM | 8-14-2008

You go, Leroy!

Sent by Susan J. Jordan | 6:25 PM | 8-14-2008

Welcome Spanky! Take good care of Leroy and watch over him. You have one very special dad.

Sent by Rockland Refugee | 6:53 PM | 8-14-2008

One day a few years ago a big yellow lab appeared at our house and we could not find the owner so he became Leon's buddy. He loved to ride in the back of the pick-up with Leon to go over to feed our cows. Lots of days "Yeller" would lay by the gate at the field where the cows were, waiting for his friend to show up.
Now this may be hard to believe but as soon as Leon was buried, that dog would be found lying by the gate of the cementery. Still, 16 months later, when I come in from work, Yeller will be there, laying down. When he sees it is me, he will get up and run with me all the way home (about 1/2 mile). This happens two or three times a week--Is it because he misses him too, or maybe because I let him go with me to "see Dad" pretty often?
Whatever the reason, his dog was his buddy....

Sent by Jane in AR | 8:55 PM | 8-14-2008

Spanky sounds like he has personality despite being stuffed. Pets, whether live or no - make great listeners, especially if you need a non-opinionated ear!

Sent by Marcia | 9:03 PM | 8-14-2008

Boy and his dog...a nice place to be. Thank you for sharing w us every day, love and peace to all from sherri in Texas

Sent by Sherri Eggleston | 11:30 PM | 8-14-2008


Rex, our dog who was run over a week ago Tuesday, was first named Spanky. We didn't know that when we took him in and named him, but when we found his owner, she told us his name. She later gave him back to us for safe keeping (he wouldn't stay home). He was black with white and walked every day with Burge, along with Burge's chocolate Lab we lost last December much the same way.

I think the name Rex fit him better as he was a "trash hound" and liked rolling in cow manure...the fresher the better...and eating horse apples. That's why he was crossing the road when he was hit. He was a poodle/blue healer mix, mix, well, actually, we never did know what he was for sure but he was sweet, lovable and the kindest dog we have ever had.

Glad you have a Spanky..even Burge's cat has given her permission for you to love a dog such as him. :>)

Sasha: My thoughts are with you and John.


Sent by Nikki in Kansas | 12:10 AM | 8-15-2008

I hope Spanky is wearing one of those Keg Collars the old snow rescue dogs (technically St. Bernards) used to carry. If not, we're definitely going to have to get one of those for him.

Sent by Maureen M. | 3:58 AM | 8-15-2008

I've been thinking about your dog. The dog I never had is a giant pyrenees, not unlike the bernese mountain dog. But I did got a chance to spend time with a couple bernese mountain dogs so I got close. I say harness up a couple and let them pull your hospital bed around the neighborhood!

Sent by paula recchia | 2:03 PM | 8-15-2008

My heart is breaking. I am a minute behind in Leroy's situation. The nurse has come next the social worker. I feel I am to late for all of this. I have had my hospital bed already for a few months now. Nice accessory to your room! Pleae accept my prayers and all my love. Is is very, very, very Hard....
God Bleas........Diane

Sent by Diane | 12:27 AM | 8-17-2008

Hey Leroy & Laurie, my children & I had a dog named Spanky too!!! There was never a more loyal friend. Being nothing more than a boy & his dog for a while each day is good medicine.

Sent by Leah | 6:08 AM | 8-17-2008

How appropriate that this should be Leroy's final post. I hope he was holding his little friend as he left this world. He and Spanky can now play together in green fields forever.

Sent by Heather | 9:12 AM | 8-17-2008

Dear Laurie,
I am saddened by the passing of Leroy.That will take a long, long time to grieve.
You mentioned that you have a toy Berniase Monutain dog. When you are ready, why don't you get yourself one and name him Spanky". He would bring you much joy,companionship, and true comfort. Just a thought to think about. I hope you do!
Page - Oregon

Sent by Page Hendryx | 12:33 PM | 8-28-2008

I am not the greatest writer nor will I pretend to be. It took a bit but I now have the courage to say a few words. I envied Leroy. Not because of his disease which took my mother, but his ability to convey that which we fear most. I am writing this because of his August 14, 2008 post which finished "A boy and his dog". My mother said that to me once when I was thirteen as she was taking my picture with our dog Norton. I lost her to cancer three years ago in November. I thank my mom, as I do Leroy, and others who endure and accept this hand and arduous task of embracing death and becoming altruistic lab rats. Thank you mom, thank you Leroy and thank you to those whom are enduring the wrath of treatments and research for the good of humanity.

Sent by Jason Mennino | 10:57 PM | 9-1-2008