"You may need a companion," Bob said to Anne after he was diagnosed, "a dog."
It took Anne four trips to a house in the country with 12 golden retriever puppies before picking "Molly." The day Molly arrived in their home, Bob was not well.
"She was eight weeks old when we brought her home," Anne said.
The bond grew slowly, especially for Anne. Molly's first four nights at the Clark home were sleepless, as she howled all through the night. Before long, the puppy would traipse through the house, chew up shoes and find a little trouble, such as chewing shrubs down to nothing.
"She gave us something else to think about," Anne said about having Molly as a pet during those difficult times.
A year after Molly became a part of their family, Bob passed away. Anne and Molly grieved together in their own way. Molly would sometimes run off from the house, but always returned to Anne.
"I never felt alone," Anne said of her beloved Molly. "She would be at the door to greet me with a toy after Bob passed."
As her husband suggested, she did need a companion.
Since losing her husband to cancer, Anne has become active with Relay For Life in Putnam County. Molly is not able to attend with her owner because pets are not allowed at the event.
"Due to insurance purposes, we do not allow pets," said Brandi Stewart, a community representative with American Cancer Society. "As a cancer survivor, I can attest to the care giving qualities of dogs. Dogs love you unconditionally; don't care if you are bald from chemo, tired from all the appointments or sick from treatment. They simply want to be with you, near you or on you."
Because dogs play an important role in a patient's life, a group of volunteers in another state invented a fundraiser to include the furry family members.
Bark For Life is a brand new event for pet owners to bring their dog and walk together in a "mini Relay For Life." On April 10 from 3 to 5 p.m., teams can go to the DePauw University Nature Park and enjoy on-site fundraising, entertainment, food, pet-related activities and products. There will be a registration fee for each person and pet. Owners must show current tags for each pet.
"Pets must be leashed and only two dogs are allowed per person," added Stewart.
Individuals without pets will not be excluded from participating. The Putnam County Humane Society will have dogs at the park to "rent" for the day.
"For many people, dogs play an important role during cancer treatment," said Stewart. "They are a constant and pure source of love, playfulness and joy. They remind you that even though you may be sick for the time being, someone needs you to be better. The fight is difficult, but dogs are the one of many reasons to keep going."