We’re human beings, we have responsibilities – they extend beyond our health. We work, we have families, friends, hobbies, and obligations. We have lives outside of cystic fibrosis.

My newest responsibility is my puppy, Blink. Blink is a Jack Russell Terrier (or so we think), and she’s absolutely taken over the house. We have another Jack, Beanie, but Blink is my dog. At least that’s what everyone tells me anyway.

My girlfriend, mom and sister conspired behind my back to surprise me with a dog for my birthday. To be clear I was not consulted in any way about the addition to our family.

But we love Blink! She’s full of energy, personality and love. She, like any dog, is the perfect distraction from the stresses of life and health.

Sure we’ve had dogs for as long as I can remember, and everyone helps care for her, but I’ve felt the responsibility of her care more than I have for our other dogs – since she’ll be coming with us when I move out in a few months.

A responsibility I initially fought – I wasn’t sure we really needed another dog – but have since come to love.

She more than anything else has sprung me even further into adulthood, like the other day when I pulled a poop out of her mouth. That moment, as far as I’m concerned, was probably the most adult thing I have ever done in my life. There’s no chance 26-year old Gunnar would have considered doing anything quite as drastic.


Blinky is one of my many responsibilities I have aside from my health. Part of living successfully with CF is living beyond the illness. Sure, CF isn’t something we can totally leave behind us, but it’s not something that should completely consume us. I think it’s incredibly important to have something to live for aside from conquering our illness. That something (or those somethings) can be as big or small as your heart desires – from starting a family, pursuing a promotion and accomplishing a life long goal all the way to staying consistent with an exercise program.

There must be more to life than CF. The will to survive and succeed in the face of adversity stems from the opportunities that life grants to all of us! Right now my puppy is the newest responsibility on my growing list of responsibilities… and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Beanie and Blink!