Last Summer with Oscar: An Adventurous True Story of Love and Courage by Jan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Jan and her husband, owners of a loving nine-year-old Golden Retriever named Oscar, were delivered a terrible shock one day when they learned that their loyal dog had been diagnosed with cancer. Shortly thereafter, Oscar’s illness made itself apparent, both in changes to his daily behaviors – lack of appetite and energy – and physical changes to his body. His owners were asked if they would like to go ahead with surgery or chemotherapy, but they elected instead to enjoy Oscar’s last days as a family by just helping him to feel as loved as they could. Then, on a walk through the woods, Oscar stopped to snack on some young Slippery Elm seedlings; it soon became her favorite treat. Not only that, but the plants seemed to be having a healing effect on Oscar’s cancer! This discovery led Jan to do some research of her own, delving into the Slippery Elm’s biology and history and leading her in the direction of other natural cancer cures. Over the course of a year, Oscar’s owners showered him with love and affection and searched for any medicine that might ease the dog’s pain. The Golden Retriever’s hopeful and indomitable spirit helped inspire friends and neighbors as well, encouraging many of them to help find a cure for Oscar’s cancer. Sadly, Oscar passed on just one short year after his diagnosis, but Oscar’s story remains as a testament to his positive response in the face of cancer.
Last Summer with Oscar is both insightful and warmly written, and Schwartz’s text radiates love for her dog. The author was inspired to write Last Summer with Oscar because she wanted to share what she had learned from Oscar, including the possibility of using natural remedies, like Slippery Elm, to treat cancer. Today, cancer is the cause of death for about 1 in 4 dogs, which means that countless canine lives are being cut short each year. For anyone whose pet is currently sick, or who is still coping with the recent loss of the family pet, Last Summer with Oscar offers comfort, wisdom, and hope in the tradition of books like Marley & Me and Dewey the Library Cat.
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