Destry Ramey’s son’s pugs have stayed by her side through three bouts of cancer

By Helin Jung
Updated May 17, 2010 09:00 PM

Destry Ramey was first diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 34. Doctors told her then that she had a year to live, that she wouldn’t see her son’s 10th birthday.

Now she’s 66, and the former pediatric nurse practitioner has gone through three other cancers, including surgery last week to remove the latest, an ovarian tumor the size of an apricot. And this time around she has even more to live for: her son’s 13-year-old pugs, Ramona and Hunter (pictured, right), who stuck with her during her previous treatments.

“They never left my side. They were right in the doorway of my room in their little bed,” Ramey tells of her “grand-pugs.” “They were always there.”

Then, oddly, the two dogs were diagnosed with abdominal cancer. “The three of us recuperated together and were each other’s healing energy,” Ramey, a California resident, says. “We cuddled together, I read with them. All three of us went into remission, and I told them I was going to make them famous.”

She’s since written two children’s books about the pugs, and is working on a third in a series called The Adventures of Hunter and Ramona. She hopes eventually to write 10 books.

The first, called What About Me?, tells the story of the pugs’ adoption, while the second, Why Am I Dark?, follows a dark-furred pug – like Hunter and Ramona – who learns that being different is special. Proceeds from the books benefit pug rescue and children’s reading programs.

Vets recently found a cancerous tumor in Hunter’s right paw, and he underwent surgery last week as well. “He may lose a little bit of his paw. I’m going to be losing a few things, too,” Ramey says. “We’re going through this together.”

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