Once a homeless dog living in a shelter, Stella is now an important part of a loving family. The one-year-old Boxer mix was at Best Friends Animal Society in Salt Lake City desperately waiting to be adopted when Jeneanne Lock and her two children walked through the door. Stella’s exuberant personality and joyful demeanor instantly attracted the family, and what was supposed to be a trip to “just look” turned into a loving family connection.
Battling stage 4 breast cancer and stage 1 thyroid cancer, Lock was determined to do everything she could to help her family make it through their difficult situation. Ruby, 9, and Andres, 6, had been wanting a dog for months, and after seeing therapy dogs in the hospital and talking to her brother who was also a cancer survivor, Lock knew there was no better time to welcome a furry friend into the family. She wanted a dog that would help ease the stress that was affecting both her and her children, and Stella turned out to be the perfect match.
From the first day after Stella’s adoption, the energetic dog seemed to know exactly what the family needed. She was a constant playmate for the two children, but she was also calm and quiet around Lock. She was always ready to go on a walk, and she also loved to settle down with her people for a cuddle session. When Lock was struggling with the emotions and mental aspect of being a cancer patient, Stella was there to provide comfort and support. And when she needed to get out of the house to clear her head and exercise, taking Stella on a walk was the best medicine.
After enduring eight months of chemotherapy, daily radiation, and a double mastectomy surgery, Stella’s presence was enough to improve Lock’s mood and give her more energy. She knew adopting the dog had been the right decision for her recovery, but Stella’s impact spread to the entire family. Watching their mother struggle with two aggressive forms of cancer was never easy on Ruby and Andres. Stella turned into their constant companion and support system.
Now cancer-free, Lock knows she wouldn’t be in the positive place she is without Stella’s help. She went to the shelter to rescue a dog in need, but it’s hard to tell who has helped whom more. Their relationship is based on love and loyalty, and Lock and her children look forward to many more healthy years with their beloved Stella.