A disabled Chihuahua puppy brings comfort and joy to an Arizona man who was recently told his brain cancer was terminal, as do many pets for those with health issues that leave them with pain, mental anguish, anxiety and much more.
In November, Andrew Kuzyk underwent surgery to try to remove the brain tumor discovered in August, but his wife told KSAZ-TV that doctors were unable to remove it entirely because she was ” wrapped around his memory”.
Two months ago, Kuzyk and his wife’s dog gave birth to their second litter of puppies. According to his wife, Pamela Anderson, his dog Claire became pregnant after waiting too long to spay their other dog Charlie.
Champ, a six-month-old white Chihuahua with a brown ear and a brown patch over one eye, was one of the puppies in the litter but was born without both of his front legs. When Kuzyk and his wife Anderson saw the little pup, they knew they had to keep him to themselves.
“His front legs are missing, so I said we won’t get rid of him because I don’t want anyone to hurt him,” Anderson told KSAZ-TV.
The couple said Claire initially rejected Champ and feared he might not survive, the East Valley Grandstand reported. Kuzyk said he felt the pup looked “very similar” to him and decided to take him “under his wing”.
A few weeks ago, the couple were told that Kuzyk’s radiation and chemotherapy were no longer working, and Champ is now taking on the role of comfort and companionship.
“He’s such a joy for us,” Anderson told the East Valley Grandstand. “I just feel like he’s here for a reason for us.”
Research has proven that animal-assisted therapy provides numerous physical and mental benefits, including the release of serotonin and lower blood pressure.
UCLA People-Animal Connection (PAC) also states that animal-assisted therapy can reduce pain, reduce the number of medications an individual might need, and reduce anxiety, among other benefits.
In addition to these health benefits, many cancer patients report feeling less alone when around dogs.
While Champ is able to use his front elbows to run, the couple said they want to invest in a wheelchair to help Champ with his overall mobility. Anderson told KSAZ-TV his back was starting to bow and they didn’t want him to break.
The couple are currently raising money through a Facebook fundraiser to buy the front leg wheelchair that Champ needs. The total goal is $350.
Newsweek contacted Pamela Anderson and the UCLA People-Animal Connection but did not receive a response in time for publication.