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This paper aimed to gain insight into and to compare various strategies deployed by parents and owners for coping with both cancer diagnosis and corresponding treatment for both children and dogs. Cross-sectional study of the data collected from parents of children with cancer on chemotherapy at the In-Patient Unit of the Pediatric Oncology Service at Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre and owners of dogs with cancer on chemotherapy at the Oncology Unit of Veterinary Clinics Hospital at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. A semistructured interview was conducted with the 44 subjects on the impact of the diagnosis and treatment. They answered a questionnaire adapted from the Coping Strategies Inventory by Folkman and Lazarus. Data were analyzed using mixed methods, that is, statistical analysis and the content analysis proposed by Bardin. The Inventory scales were analyzed to compare parents and owners. Three of the eight scales showed statistically significant differences: responsibility acceptance (P=0.002), escape-avoidance (P=0.001) and positive reappraisal (P=0.005). The main differences were found in the scales related to emotion, because parents showed both guilt and need to find a way to turn that situation into something positive. The main goal of both parents and owners was patient care and treatment. They set a course of action and pursued it, in spite of the suffering brought by the situation. The ability to reassess the situation positively was observed in both groups, as their discourse after coping with was that of who has learned to appreciate life more.
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