My dog has cancer. Crocheting = Coping.

About a week ago, I found out that my dog, Gravy, has cancer. He’s five years old and is a Boston terrier mutt mix. He’s the dog love of my life.

Gravy has had a pretty dramatic life. I adopted him from a shelter in 2011. He had extreme separation anxiety issues and destroyed the carpet in my apartment on many occasions. He even jumped out my second story window a couple of times and I had to break him out of doggy jail at the animal shelter.

What a pain in the ass, right? He totally is. But look at this face. Could you be mad at this?

Gravy dressed up for Christmas 2013

The thing is that he’s so freaking sweet when he’s with me. He loves to cuddle and give sweet doggy kisses anytime my face is within reach. You would never think that he would turn into a destructive demon dog as soon as I left the house.

Gravy loves to lie in the cool grass on a hot summer day

Gravy loves to lie in the cool grass on a hot summer day

After two years of dealing with his anxiety problems with doggy Xanax and behavior training, I realized that I couldn’t meet his needs. I worked 10 hour days and couldn’t afford doggy day care. He was just alone for too many hours a day and couldn’t cope. On Valentine's Day, he destroyed the air conditioning unit in my apartment. And I knew that I had to do something different. So, I asked my parents if he could live with them on the ranch in Montana.


Living on the ranch has been the perfect solution for Gravy. My parents have a puggle named Mabel who is his best friend. (See video of them playing at the end of this post.) They do everything together and she keeps his anxiety at bay. Plus, he’s free to run and run as far as he wants.

I miss Gravy every day, but I do get to see him when I go home to see my parents. And I know that I did the right thing by sending him to Montana because he is sooooo happy there. Case in point, check out his incredible energy in the video below!

How does this relate to crochet? I’m getting there.

About a month ago, my mom sent me this picture of a strange growth on Gravy’s torso, under his left leg.

The vet tried to treat it with antibiotics but they didn’t help. So, they had to do surgery and remove the growth for biopsy. Turns out, it’s cancer.

The prognosis is hopeful because the vet thinks that she got it all. Some dogs have these cancerous growths, then get treatment and they never come back. Others have more cancerous growths and have to keep getting them removed. In the worst case scenario, the cancer would move from his skin inside to his lungs or heart.

Gravy's strange growth

What’s a girl to do when receiving news about her doggy soul mate having cancer? Crochet! I must admit, I’ve been extremely productive with my crochet work since I found out about Gravy’s cancer.

I’m really not sure how to handle my emotions about Gravy’s health. He’s so far away from me that I can’t really see him or find out about how he’s doing. My parents assure me that he seems fine and full of energy. There’s hope that this won’t be a problem going forward, but then there’s the worry that it will get much worse. Crocheting really helps me to cope with these conflicting emotions.

Crocheting keeps my hands and mind just busy enough that I can’t sit and fret and worry about the future health of my pooch. It makes me feel productive. Like I’m doing something. Even though I can’t do anything for Gravy right now. The act of crocheting helps me feel more peaceful, even though the activity that I'm doing doesn't relate directly to my problem at hand. Plus the repetitive motion of creating stitch after stitch soothes my body and mind.

When I crochet, I have greater perspective on the situation. I know that Gravy is happy and will enjoy his life in Montana, no matter how much longer he has to live. He spends every day with his best friend, Mabel. I know that I did the right thing by rescuing him and sending him to live with my parents. I look forward to seeing him this summer for some fun camping trips with my family. And I think about him being happy and energetic like he was in this video that my brother took last winter.

What a goofball! I love my Gravy boy, and I when I crochet, I know that he'll be alright.

Working on my crochet projects has helped me cope with various challenges and struggles in my life, and I know it’ll help me get through whatever happens to Gravy.

What about you? Have you ever used crochet as a coping mechanism during a hard time? Tell us the story in the comments below!