While Underdog is a made-up cartoon character, "Hysterdog" is the real deal, and so is her love.
As well as being a cancer blogger, Laura Yeager is a religious essayist and a mental health blogger. A graduate of The Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, she teaches writing at Kent State University and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Laura survived cancer twice.
If you were born in the 60s like I was, Saturday morning cartoons were an important thing. The Saturday morning block of time was the biggest cartoon viewing opportunity for kids. During those morning-ritual viewing times, we loved to watch “Underdog,” which aired from 1964-1973. This cartoon was about an unassuming superhero dog who saved people from villains and trouble in general.
Well, I have my own version of Underdog – a dog who tries to be helpful in saving the day. She’s Underdog without the costume and the theme song. Her name is Chloe, and she’s a rescue dog—part Scottish terrier and part beagle.
A month ago, I had a hysterectomy to remove some suspicious masses in my uterus that were thought to possibly be cancerous. Everything, including the tubes, ovaries, uterus, cervix and masses (fibroids), were benign, but I still was stuck recovering from major surgery. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve been spending a lot of time in bed.
Here’s where my version of Underdog comes in. Enter Chloe, a mutt whom I call “Hysterdog.”
Since the surgery, Chloe likes to lie directly on my six-inch incision. I think she’s trying to keep it warm. A doctor friend of mine told me that heat is good for this type of incision. Heat helps the wound heal faster and better.
Does Chloe know this? I’d ask her directly if she could talk.
Actually, I think she knows about keeping the incision warm instinctually.
Of course, a 22-pound dog lying on the blanket above my fresh cut is not at all comfortable, so I shoo her away.
But still, she keeps coming back.
Dogs seem to have a sixth sense. They can be trained to know when a human is going to have an epileptic seizure. They lead the blind. Sometimes, they know when a person is near death. I read of one dog that pushed an elderly lady’s “panic button” and barked into it to alert the authorities. There are countless stories of dogs saving human lives.
Chloe is not exactly saving my life, but she is trying to help me. It’s the same dog principle of licking a person’s sore. Dogs love to apply their brand of first aid on cuts and scrapes.
I wouldn’t think anything of Chloe cuddling up next to me, but every time she goes for my incision. Again, I don’t think this is coincidence.
“There’s no need to fear. Hysterdog is here.”
God love Chloe and all pets that enrich our lives, bring us joy and attempt to keep us healthy. They are our little superheroes.