Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Motivational speaker’s heartwarming story of healing with dog

Courtesy of Caroline Rose

Since her recovery from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Caroline Rose dedicates her life to sharing her story through motivational speaking. Throughout her battle with cancer, Rose found unexpected solace in her four-legged friend, Riley. A common theme among all of her speaking events is her extraordinary bond with Riley, who serves as proof of the impact dogs have on the human spirit.

“I’ve had animals my whole life and have gravitated towards them and as the years passed, I realized that it wasn’t just that I loved them,” Rose said. “It was that they’re so healing.” 

Rose was a student at the McCombs School of Business in 1996, and while she did not graduate from UT, she recently spoke at TEDxUTAustin. There, she conveyed messages of hope and love. Paige Nolan, a close friend of Rose, said she admires the authenticity of Rose’s story.

“How honestly she shares her story can be emotional to hear because it’s about a life and death situation,” Nolan said. “I think the best speakers do this — they open your heart. That feels really tender to be so open.”

Rose said she first began public speaking while receiving cancer treatments. She met with the head of the Speaker’s Bureau, where she got the opportunity to talk to donors.

“I realized quickly my favorite part of (public speaking) was talking to people afterward because, without fail, I’d have people come up and give me a part of their story,” Rose said. “No matter what they’re going through, they felt hopeful, and that gave me confidence to then go deeper into the story.”

Jenna Warnicke, a close friend since childhood, said she admires Rose’s resilience. Warnicke, who works as an oncology nurse, said Rose is the strongest person she knows who embraces all aspects of life. She said Rose’s story inspires many people to hold on to hope.

“She is going to be able to give people so much hope because they can see pictures and hear stories about where she was and what she walked through,” Warnicke said. “I see patients that are suffering going through chemo and I’m thinking, ‘Why would anybody do this?’ and then I think about Caroline.”

Along with speaking, Rose plans to publish a book called “Dear Riley Rose” around summertime. Rose said the idea for the book about Riley’s companionship throughout her cancer journey started as a letter to Riley’s shelter.

“I wrote a letter to the head of the dog rescue just to thank (them),” Rose said. “Riley and I found each other and that letter started circulating around, and it became the basis for the story — this love story between Riley and me.”

Nolan, who helps Rose with the book, said Rose possesses unconditional love for her dog.

“You don’t have to love dogs, but it’s going to be a wonderful story for people who wish to honor the people, the animals and the experiences in their life that helped them to heal,” Nolan said. “This book that Caroline has written about the gift of Riley’s presence and Riley’s unconditional love (is) a reminder that love is the answer for everything.”

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