This is a picture of Mumzie, a border collie mix my wife talked me into adopting at our local Petsmart in May 2004.  That particular day, our 16 year old son was teasing my wife relentlessly calling her “mumzie” with a British accent.   It was a weekend and we generally would spend the days window shopping at the local malls.  We ended up at the Petsmart to buy cat food.  The local SPCA was holding it’s pet adoption that day and were camped out front of the store with about 20 dogs.  The kids and my wife stopped to admire them while I went into the store to buy the “cat” food.   Although reluctant, I agreed to this little bundled my wife presented to me in her hands in the middle of the store.  But agreed I did and with amusement, my son suggested MUMZIE for her name.  I have had dogs all my life and actually spent 3 years as a K-9 officer with our local police department.  It had been about 3 years between our last family dog and that day.  (Our beagle “bandit” who had died 3 years earlier is a whole other story)  Mumzie, immediately took to me and would follow me everywhere.  Although she was only 6-7 weeks old, she didn’t need any house breaking.  She took to her kennel without any trouble and never once, whined or cried.  She instantly got along with our cats, who adopted her as well.  I knew she was special.
I never knew how much she would mean to me, which is the rest of the story.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was suffering from a bone marrow condition.  The aches and pains, fatigue and general malaise, I contributed to just getting old. By June 2004, one month later, I was in the hospital with a life threatening and career ending platelet count under 5000.   After a week of treatment and blood transfusions, I was stable enough to go home but with instructions “not to do anything”, even drive in a car.  The risk of any kinds of trauma was still too great.  Any injury could kill me.   Needless to say, I was in a deep depression, while at the same time, thankful to be alive.  Mumzie was a big part of that.  While the wife worked and the kids were at school, Mumzie was my constant companion.  She never left my side,  (a still doesn’t) and made the hours spent at home bearable.  Friends and family really don’t know how to act in those types of situation and although they would  willingly come to help, it is stressful to be “fussed” over.  I would actually sneak out the house to take her for her walks. (against doctor’s order no less) To this day (8 years later) we walk every day, twice a day.  We are a regular fixture in our neighborhood.  I am convinced the walks saved my life.  Not just for the physical exercise but also for what would took place in July 2005.    At that point, doctors were discussing the necessity of a bone marrow transplant since the ordinary treatments being tried were not working effectively.  That transplant would require three months of seclusion in the hospital’s clean rooms since I would have to undergo total body radiation that would kill my immune system.  After all of the prep work was completed, I was to meet with the doctor to schedule the actual transplant.  In the course of that meeting, the doctor felt impelled to remind me that there was only a 50/50 chance this would work, but he also wanted me to understand that after the 3 months, I would still have to go home to a “sterile” house which meant no pets.   I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t abandoned Mumzie!  After much deliberation, I postponed the transplant indefinitely.  That was July 2005.  One month later, August 28, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit, flooding the very hospital I was scheduled to be secluded in.  The very hospital that hospital staff abandoned patients to die.  That is a true story!   Thankfully, with a lot of prays, exercise, dieting and mega doses of a vitamin formula I found, I am in remission.  In 2007, after 22 years of marriage, my wife and I separated and later divorced,  She readily admits part of the reason was because of Mumzie.  Be that as it may, no one will ever understand what Mumzie means to me.  It goes beyond simply her being  a man’s best friend and companion.  Don’t know how to explain it.  I am tearing up as I write this.  She means that much to me!  I hope my story will inspire someone to take home their “special” companion.

— Conan from New Orleans, LA