Dogs Put Best Face Forward for Teen with Cancer

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A Facebook page seeking dog photos, like this one of Dusty from Australia, for Anthony Lyons, an Arizona teen with leukemia, went wildly viral. To date, there's been about 1 million photos posted.
A Facebook page seeking dog photos, like this one of Dusty from Australia, for Anthony Lyons, an Arizona teen with leukemia, went wildly viral. To date, there’s been about 1 million photos posted.

Anthony Lyons is a 16-year-old with lymphoblastic leukemia. Once a month, he goes to Phoenix Children’s Hospital to receive chemotherapy and will have to undergo the therapy for three years. After the long period of treatments, the doctors are hopeful for Anthony’s recovery.

Every day Anthony has to spend in the hospital is one more away from his three dogs. He misses them terribly and feels stuck in the hospital. Therapy dogs come visit, and that cheers him up, but they don’t come every day. Roberta Lucero-Keron, a friend of Anthony’s mom Kristen, had a glorious idea. She created the Facebook page “Photo Doggies for Anthony” and invited people to post photos of their dogs to make Anthony smile.

For Anthony
At left is Olive from Seattle posing. Placed beside her — by moi — is a breathtaking hairy vision posted by Shari Grasso Gresham. I’ll call this duo ‘Beauty and the Beast.’

The photo campaign became viral due to a marvelous concoction of people’s love for their dogs, fondness for cute animal photos and a fast-and-easy way to help someone feel better.

JC Baker posted this pic of Mia, his Bichon on the beach.

Anthony, his mom Kristen and Roberta are moved to laughter and tears of happiness daily by the viral inpouring of adorable doggies. The well-wishers span the globe.

On the left is Maddie posted by Dawn Bousson; at right is one of the cutest puppies I’ve ever seen in my life.

Just when my heart was filling up with the thought that people really do care about others, some rat bastid uploaded a hideous photo of a roasted dog. After receiving complaints, Facebook shut the page down. At the time, Anthony posted another Facebook page with the same name, “Photo Doggies for Anthony,” which now has 59,000 “guests.” He also created an Instagram account to show off some of his favorite photos from the original Facebook page.

Norman and Maddie from Parker, Colo., send good wishes to Anthony. I wish I could get my little Buddy to wear booties, but he’s not having it.

Now my faith in humanity is being restored — the original Facebook page is back up, and 1.2 million have joined. I joined in and posted my little doggie in his red winter coat. The barrage of dog pics have bolstered my own spirits and made me smile.

Of course, you know I had to include my Buddy, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who sent his love to Anthony.

In between the millions of doggie photos, some cats, kids and even potbellied pigs and lizards snuck in.

Hey! Wait a minute. How did that ‘Cat in a Hat’ get in there? (It’s actually a wig, but why quibble?)

Now that the original Facebook page is live again, Kristen Lyons posted her joy last night with what she called a “WOOHOO UPDATE.” She also let everybody know that Anthony is smiling joyfully, and Roberta says she can’t stop crying tears of happiness. Awww, good work Team Anthony!

Now let’s let sleeping dogs lie … and grinning dogs grin!

Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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