By Devin O’Branagan
Tyler is indeed an amazing service and therapy dog. He’s also a cancer survivor, and his tale is inspiring.
Australian Shepherd Tyler, who belongs to Valorie Marks, has been her service dog for eight years. She reports, “I have Tourette’s syndrome, and one of my muscle tics makes me fall. Tyler can help me get up or he can go get help and bring them back. He can also get the phone if I am hurt so I can call for help.”
Because he is such a wonderful dog and loves everyone, Valorie had him certified as a therapy dog. He works with children and adults with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities. His favorite type of work is with the Paws’itive Teams organization assisting military personnel with PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Tyler also assists Valorie in classes she holds to help therapy dogs learn more skills to use in their own therapy work.
Tyler’s most impressive accomplishment is the way he has faced his illness. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphatic cancer in March 2013, Tyler underwent an initial six month round of chemo that put the cancer into remission. In October of 2014 the cancer returned, and he began chemotherapy therapy again. Despite these challenges, Tyler has always remained eager to work with and help others. He expanded his therapeutic reach to cancer patients, keeping them company while they endure their own chemo treatments. Many say that his love and joy uplifts their spirits and gives them hope.
The oncologist describes Tyler as a miracle dog. From the very beginning, he said Tyler was the healthiest sick dog he had ever seen. Indeed, his cancer is once again in remission, although it really is a day-to-day journey. Valorie and Tyler cherish every moment they have together.
Tyler’s celebrity resulted in many people donating money for his medical care, which would have been impossible otherwise. Valorie is still utterly astonished by the generosity offered Tyler during this life challenge:
“He is my heart dog and I love him so much, but I’m amazed by how much others love him too. I’ve learned so much from this experience. Tyler taught me to try to enjoy each day and not worry about tomorrow because that is what he does every day … with a great big smile on his face! I, of course, am still a work in progress on that one, but I am so much better at it because of him.”
Please join Tyler on Facebook, where he shares his adventures and uplifts hearts.
Photos courtesy of Valorie Marks and used with permission.
Devin O’Branagan is a bestselling author who writes novels about uncommon heroes. Her genres include fiction about dogs and cats, comic romance, paranormal romance, and paranormal thrillers. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, the Cat Writers’ Association, and many of her writing projects support animal rescue. Her books have been published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books in English, Heyne Verlag in German, and Dogan Egmont in Turkish. They may be found in print, eBook, and audio formats. Visit her website at DevinWrites.com, and check her out on Facebook and Twitter.