CancerCare’s Pet Assistance and Wellness (PAW) Program

First, let me set the scene…

Whether you know someone who had cancer, or you had it yourself, cancer is an unfortunate reality in many people’s lives. I’ve personally known (too) many people with cancer – my sister, my parents, my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and several friends.

First, I want to share a personal story about my journey with cats and cancer. I’ll keep it brief. When my sister had cancer in 2014, it affected so many people: her husband, her kids, her friends, her family – and her pets. Shortly after she started treatment, she was hospitalized from complications. I took custody of her senior cat, Elaine, to allow her to focus on her grueling treatment and the subsequent healing process.

Elaine had late-stage kidney disease and required a lot of care. And there was no way I was giving up on Elaine – she had been a constant companion to my sister – by her side for 17 years. My sister made it through her arduous cancer journey and I thank God every day for her.

Where Elaine was concerned, my sister was lucky. Not everyone has someone that they can count on to help their pet while they are battling for their life. Many times, pets are relinquished to shelters – an enormous blow to the person who needs them most and obviously the pets, who are confused as to why they were abandoned.

“It affected so many people: her husband, her kids, her friends, her family – and her pets.”

So, when I was approached by Trish Goldsmith, CEO of CancerCare about their Pet Assistance & Wellness (PAW) Program, I wanted to know more. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Trish to chat about our shared experiences and her groundbreaking program. Interesting to note – Trish is herself, a cancer survivor.

Please take a moment to read about this innovative program including snippets of my interview with Trish. Why? Because CancerCare’s PAW Program changes lives. And frankly, everyone should know about it.

First, Meet Franklin. Admiral Franklin.

Franklin Ginger Tabby- Fumiko - CancerCare (3)

Trish, the CEO of CancerCare, shared so many stories with me that literally had me choked up and in tears – both happy and sad. One such story was of a woman named Fumiko, whose husband, Andrew, was undergoing cancer treatment. Andrew was insistent that they adopt a cat while he was in treatment. Fumiko wasn’t too keen on the idea because the timing wasn’t ideal. Andrew insisted. So they adopted their cat, Franklin. Fumiko says that Franklin saved her life and when you watch the video, you’ll see why.

Watch Fumiko and Franklin’s story below…trust me, you don’t want to miss this.

Andrew, Fumiko and Franklin – CancerCare’s Pet Assistance & Wellness (PAW) Program

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Sadly, it seems like cancer is everywhere. Some of us have had cancer. Many of us have been a caretaker for someone with cancer…and even more of us know someone who had to fight cancer. Let’s ensure that everyone who might need a precious resource like CancerCare’s PAW Program knows about it.



What is CancerCare?

CancerCare has been helping people affected by cancer since 1944. Over the last 78 years, “Our mission has never changed and that is to provide help and hope to anyone who’s been impacted by a diagnosis of cancer,” says Trish.

What is CancerCare’s Paw Program?

The program was started in the last few years for people with pets who are affected by cancer to help ensure that they can keep their pet while undergoing treatment for cancer. CancerCare’s Paw Program supports people with education, case management, psychosocial support and financial assistance for qualified individuals.

Why is the CancerCare Paw Program so important?

The short answer is, there is no other national program like it. According to Trish, “I knew there were some organizations that provide support for dogs who have cancer, but look as I might, there was no organization that provided support for individuals who themselves had cancer and were struggling to maintain their pet. Thankfully the stars aligned a few years ago and we were able to launch this critical program.”

In fact, one-third of CancerCare’s PAW program financial assistance clients have no other human being at home. And the added benefit is that the program helps keep pets out of shelters.

Where is CancerCare’s PAW Program available?

CancerCare’s PAW Program is available nationwide. Anyone who is affected by cancer can reach out to the program for assistance through CancerCare’s “Hopeline” at 800-813-HOPE (4673). And you should meet Fred too…

Fred is Trish Goldsmith’s cat. Fred is a handsome ginger tabby that helped Trish through her cancer journey. And now she’s CancerCare’s CEO.

And This Is Fred…


Thousands have been helped by the CancerCare PAW Program

During its several years of existence, the PAW Program has assisted more than 1,400 people who have been affected by cancer in some way or another. “Not only does CancerCare include people affected by every single type of cancer, but we work with anyone who’s been impacted by that diagnosis. The caregiver. The bereaved. The child of a parent…and the parent of a child,” says Trish.

“We work with anyone who’s been impacted by that diagnosis. The caregiver. The bereaved. The child of a parent…and the parent of a child”

3 Easy-Peasy Ways You Can Help: