Sherry McAllister and her husband have always loved dogs, and over the years, several of their dogs had become therapy dogs as well.
They just knew their next dog would be destined to be another wonderful therapy dog that would help many people. They set out to find the perfect pup and decided to adopt a large dog named Sherman. McAllister knew they had made the right choice when the loving, supportive pooch was there for her after her breast cancer diagnosis.
McAllister and her 230-lb English Mastiff are very close.
My First Mammogram Saved My Life This is very hard for me to admit, but it's just too important to not share. My doctor bugged me every stinkin' year about getting a mammogram. Every year! I'd brush it off and do the "Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know, I know." Did I ever go? Nope. Every appointment was the same old crap. Have you scheduled your mammogram, yet? Gah, so irritating, right? I did self exams regularly… I'd never felt anything. So, I would let year after year pass. Then, at the age off 44, I caved. This was just to finally shut everyone up. I finally went in for my FIRST mammogram. About two weeks later, after a ton of tests, a man I did not know sat me down and told me I had breast cancer. What the? What? Yeah, right. Wait. What? But I never felt any lumps. How in the world? Huh? Of course it had to be one of the super speedy assholes of breast cancers… HER2 triple positive, and it was already invasive. Then, that same man who had given me the worst news of my life said the most amazing thing, "It looks like we've caught it relatively early." What? Early? How? After so much neglect? Early? 15 months of treatment and I am still here. My first mammogram absolutely saved my life. Did you read that? I'll say it again…. My first mammogram absolutely saved my life. Please share this with your sister, your daughter, your mother, your cousin, your niece, your aunt, your best friend, your grandmother, your granddaughter, even the men in your life. #killthecancer #imstillhere #getthatmammogram #mammogramssavelives #pleasedontwait #breastcancerawarenessmonth #iusedtohatepink #mengetbreastcancertoo
Sherman loves interacting with anyone who seems to need their spirits lifted, and McAllister shares her experiences on her social media accounts watching first-hand how he helps people with his comforting presence. One experience however stands out quite a bit for McAllister.
It all started while being stuck in traffic.
“We were stuck in a huge traffic jam for about 15 minutes, without moving, when my phone rang,” McAllister wrote in an Instagram post. “Since we obviously weren’t going anywhere, I answered.”
“On the other end of the phone was a soft spoken man who introduced himself as Andy.”
This boy had officially stolen his mom's heart…. He fell asleep holding his favorite toy. pic.twitter.com/PvJw39OcKK
— Sherman Therapy Dog (@ShermanTherapy) June 13, 2015
Speaking with the man, Andy explained that he was actually in the same traffic that McAllister was in and saw them driving by. Having once been an owner of a dog himself, he decided to give them a call using the number he spotted on a decal on her car.
“He told us he had just returned home after a 3+ month stay in a nursing home facility,” McAllister continued. “He was recovering from the most recent of multiple back surgeries. It’s because of this stay in the nursing home and his failing health that he had to rehome his large breed dog.”
“He is, sadly, unable to care for him any longer.”
— Sherman Therapy Dog (@ShermanTherapy) May 28, 2015
Being separated from his dog had taken a toll on Andy’s morale. He went on to share a specific request he had for McAllister and Sherman.
“This decision clearly broke his heart as we could hear him choking up as he spoke,” McAllister said. “He asked if we could meet up sometime so he could just pet Sherman.”
Mulling over the request, McAllister agreed to meet up with Andy the same day at a Walmart for a quick meeting.
The encounter would have a strong impact on McAllister.
— Sherman Therapy Dog (@ShermanTherapy) May 28, 2015
“When we met him in the parking lot, he slowly got out of his vehicle using a cane,” McAllister shared. “After proper introductions, we opened the side door of the suburban and told him he was welcome to sit inside the door to visit with Sherman.”
The connection between Sherman and Andy was clear right away.
Roadside Therapy: We were stuck in a huge traffic jam for about 15 minutes, without moving, when my phone rang. Since we obviously weren't going anywhere, I answered. On the other end of the phone was a soft spoken man who introduced himself as Andy. He explained he was a few cars back from us and saw Sherman stick his big ol head out the window so he called the number on our decal(we have a huge decal on three sides of the suburban with a picture of Sherman head, his name, and our contact number). He told us he had just returned home after a 3+ month stay in a nursing home facility. He was recovering from the most recent of multiple back surgeries. It's because of this stay in the nursing home and his failing health that he had to rehome his large breed dog. He is, sadly, unable to care for him any longer. This decision clearly broke his heart as we could hear him choking up as he spoke. He asked if we could meet up some time so he could just pet Sherman. Of course, we told him we would love to set a time meet up with him . He thanked us and we said our goodbyes, with a promise to set something up in the next few days. As we sat there in traffic, I couldn't get Andy's sad voice out of my head. we decided to call him back and ask if he would like to turn off into the Wal-Mart parking lot to say hello to Sherman real quick. We could hear his voice cracking over the phone when he said "yes!". When we met him in the parking lot, he slowly got out of his vehicle using a cane. After proper introductions, we opened the side door of the suburban and told him he was welcome to sit inside the door to visit with Sherman. As soon as he sat down Sherman came right over and started nuzzling into him. The tears started almost immediately and Andy sobbed into Sherman's neck. Sherman just sat there, letting him hug him, hold him, and kiss him. It wasn't long before we were all pretty teary eyed, as he told Sherman all about his dog he had to let go. You're a good boy, Sherman. ❤ #mastiffs #mastiffsofinstagram #mastiff #englishmastiffsofinstagram #englishmastifflife #englishmastiff #therapydogsofinstagram #giantbreedlovers #dogsofinstagram #dogsofinstaworld #mansbestfriend
“As soon as he sat down Sherman came right over and started nuzzling into him. The tears started almost immediately and Andy sobbed into Sherman’s neck,” McAllister went on to say. “Sherman just sat there, letting him hug him, hold him, and kiss him.”
Having been dealing with so much trauma, for Andy the experience was a moment to find comfort and release his emotions for a few moments. Though it was fleeting, it clearly gave him an opportunity to properly grieve his lost friend—and connect with another loving, supportive soul.
As for McAllister, the experience moved her to tears and stuck with her. She shared the post hoping that others will take inspiration from the good that can come from such a simple gesture.