HIV-Positive Doctor Rob Garofalo Says His Dog Saved His Life

Discovering he was an HIV-positive doctor, Rob Garofalo found himself horrified. He had been helping young AIDS patients deal with their news for years, but the help he gave others was the one thing he needed and couldn’t get.

Charlie Sheen also recently revealed he’s been HIV-positive, leading his ex-fiancee to force an abortion. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, she is suing the veteran actor for hiding his disease, as well as assault.

Rob Garofalo isn’t facing the same problems, but it’s not any easier for him. He had survived kidney cancer, and recently broke up with his long-time partner when he discovered the tragic news. Much like Sheen, but for a very different reason, he’d tried to hide it. His elderly mother knew something was wrong around Christmas 2010, according to the Associated Press.

It wasn’t until Rob was on his way home from his visit to Mom that year that he broke down crying on the plane. After this, the HIV-positive doctor had decided to get a dog. A dog was the only way he knew he could receive anything close to the emotional support he was so used to helping his young patients with.

Dogs are known for their loyalty, even in the face of danger. The popular canine companions tend to be excited just to see you come home or just spend time with them, and can be trained in ways that other pets are less likely to be taught. They will even attempt to thwart people from breaking into your home, barking enough to make burglars think twice.

Mostly, as long as you take care of them, dogs show you love no matter what happens.

The dog that HIV-positive doctor Rob Garofalo adopted was a Yorkshire terrier, a small dog which might not be scary to intruders, but is big enough to warm his heart. According to Yahoo News, that was exactly what Rob said he needed, having considered suicide after his diagnosis, “I’m not exaggerating when I say that he saved my life.”

Through the dog (whom he’d named Fred), Rob had earned enough support to finally come out of isolation in his small apartment. It mostly started when he had to leave just to buy food for his new friend, and in his travels he’d stop to talk to people while they’d pet Fred.

It wasn’t long before the HIV-positive doctor had recovered from the shock enough to tell his friends and family about his diagnosis. Rob was finally feeling the support he needed, and even used Fred’s image for charities where he’d raised money to help others. He came to an amazing revelation when he discovered he wasn’t the only one whose pet had helped with some dark periods in their lives.

Rob Garofalo’s fluffy new friend was helping him not only find the emotional strength he needed, but inspiring him to take his support further for others.

On Tuesday, November 1, World AIDS Day had come along and Rob had collaborated with photographer Jesse Freidin and writer Zach Stafford for a Chicago project called “When Dogs Heal.” Also taking place in New York two days later, it told the stories of others who’d suffered from HIV and got help from their pets.

Among those featured were a man who’d been gang-raped, and a young Los Angeles mother who had been born HIV-positive. Doctor Rob Garofalo still doesn’t know how he’d contracted the virus, but it coincides with a time when he’d been sexually assaulted in 2009, visiting Washington, D.C..

The message has now outweighed the tragedy and Rob Garofalo says he owes it all to Fred. The dog turned him from a man isolated from the world to the HIV-positive doctor looking to help others once more.

It is truly amazing what a dog can do.

[Image via Yevgen Romanenko / Shutterstock (Image ID: 300271973)]