In my adult life, I have had two dogs, Patchs and Honey.

Patchs was a solid white boxer and American bulldog mix with a blue grey patch over her eye. She literally walked into my co-worker’s life.

Ron’s three daughters were playing outside when Patchs walked up to play. Since she looked like she had some pit bull in her, Ron’s wife didn’t want to keep the puppy.

At the time, I still lived in Bryan and worked with Ron at private company. The next day, Ron started talking about the puppy that showed up. Before I knew it, Patchs was in my life. And, I had her up until I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

My mom was terrified of Patchs and couldn’t physically handle taking care of Patchs while I was undergoing treatment. Since I didn’t know how bad the treatments were going to affect me, I knew I couldn’t keep Patchs. With the help of a friend, we found a couple who lived on a ranch who was willing to give her a new home.

I was heartbroken. It was bad enough I was just diagnosed with cancer, but I had to give up my dog because of it.

When I was diagnosed, I was six months into my new job, which came with 40 mile commute. Needless to say, working and treatments didn’t get along — so I spent the next eight months of treatment at home.

To keep from going insane from staying home, I tried my best to get out as much as possible. My mom, who was living with me during treatment, accompanied me on my outings. From trips to Michael’s to the mall, we spent several hours walking around.

One of the stops while at the mall was The Puppy Store. We always checked on the puppies just to pass the time. Each time, I kept thinking about Patchs and how much I missed her.

One trip, I saw this pair of beagle puppies. They were just so cute cuddled next to each other. After that stop, I began checking up on them each trip we made to the mall.

One day, I finally decided to hold one of the puppies. I thought the female puppy was just the cutest so I asked to hold her.

After that moment, I went by to hold her and she started to recognize me. Before long, she started jumping against the crate when she saw me walk in.

I remember the day when they moved the beagles. I was so heartbroken that she was gone until my mom found them. That was the day I noticed her price had significantly dropped.

I mentioned to my mom, “Well, it won’t be long until someone buys her.” And, not missing a beat she offered to pay for her.

It was one of the best days I had since getting diagnosed —only topped by meeting Rachel Ray.

From that day, the little puppy I went to visit became Honey.

Honey was a good distraction during the worst part of my life. I wonder everyday how I was so lucky to find her.

Amanda Leija’s column is published on the Lifestyles section in the Brownwood Bulletin each Sunday. She may be reached at