Author: Teresa Rhyne
Publisher: Sourcebooks
ISBN: 978-1-4022-7172-4

The Bible states in I Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” In Teresa J. Rhyne’s memoir, The Dog Lived (and So Will I), this verse about God’s love can be brought to mind when one deals with cancer within one’s own body or beloved pet.

With two hundred and seventy-three pages, this paperback book has a photograph of an adorable beagle with a pink cancer ribbon on his chest, looking upward on the front cover and two paragraphs about the book’s contents, four reviews and a photograph of the author with her favored canine on the back cover. It has a mild amount of profanity but no overtly sexual scenes so would be suitable for the young mature teenager through adult age group. Due to its topic about cancer in both humans and animals, those who have dealt or are dealing with either can readily relate to its content.

Rhyne writes in first person about her own experiences, feelings and thoughts while she not only has to deal with her beloved pet’s cancer, but her own discovery, treatment and progress of her aggressive breast cancer. Her writing style is charming, witty, sometimes sarcastic and self-admonishing but heartfelt, honest and blunt. At times, she appears to be knowingly self-absorbed at times yet altruistic and overly preoccupied, not mentioning any spiritual needs or prayers to God.

The forty-something year old, twice divorced female lawyer and author tells the sad story how she discovered her adopted dog, Seamus, had a cancerous tumor and had
to go through the tumult of surgery, chemotherapy, white cell crashing, and remission. She describes her spoiled pet’s antics and mannerisms to the tee of the beagle breed including the baying, the obsession with food and desperate need for daily exercise. Heartbreaking details, emotional reasoning and researched decisions regarding each step of her own surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are helpful to anyone dealing with the same challenges. The heroes in the book are not only her dog and herself but her loving, understanding and over a decade younger boyfriend, Chris. The stormy relationship with Chris’s mother shows how people can change when faced with life-threatening diseases.

Kudos to the writer for honestly divulging her sometimes unfettered fears, tearful thoughts and comical reactions to the big “C” word that infiltrates so many of our lives. This reader related so much to the book due to also having a precocious beagle (thankfully without cancer) and herself having reoccurring melanoma skin cancer. Even when we or our pets have diseases, we need to remember God cares for us and we should look at it as humorously as possible.

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