I bought my dog to celebrate getting my first real job out of college. She was a sick puppy when I got her and a vet told me she was going to die and that I shouldn’t get attached. Well, here I am with my feet comfortably resting on her 9 years later. She is my first child. People told me that when I had real children I would love her less. That could not be further than the truth. My children love, hug, kiss, and even try to ride her. She sleeps in the nursery or outside their rooms during naps and at night…..a typical older, protective sister. The biggest thing I love about her is how she watches over me.
There is only one relationship that I have not felt guilty about or that I have neglected because of my disease. It is the relationship with my Golden Retriever. My dog has been a nurse to me for many years. She is by my side and loves me without explanations or apologies. She only requires that we be in the same room and that I cuddle her like the lap dog that she thinks she is. When I am sick in bed, she joins me. She does not sleep in bed with me other than when I have a migraine. She has a sense when I am sick and immediately jumps into bed and spoons me while I lay packed in ice. If I move my fingers she begins wagging her tail and licking them to show me she’s watching me. There have been many days that I laid in bed, all day, with her unmoving. Chronic migraines are isolating and lonely and she gives me companionship and support that not many can give. From the time my husband lets her out in the morning until he returnes at night, she does not leave my side. I would crawl to the door to let her out if I needed to, yet she never asks me to when I am suffering a migraine. If I am laying on the bathroom floor crumpled in pain, she is right there with me. The pressure she lays against me is comforting. When I am unable to open my eyes, I am able to pet and lay on her without having to talk or move. It is the simplest form of love. She’s just there, and that’s exactly what I need.
She received knee surgery and was gated into our family room when I had a migraine quickly rising one particular day. I was laying on the couch and needed to quickly leave the room to retreat to my bedroom. I wanted to escape the light of the family room and knew I needed medication, rest, and space between my children and I. I don’t like my children to see me in pain so when the migraine quickly went from a 5 to an 8 in intensity, I slowly raised from the couch. My dog immediately rose on 3 legs and started whining and crying. My husband followed me up to our room and I asked him if she was hurt, needed pain pills, needed out or what was wrong with my sweet dog. He told me that he checked on her and she was worried about me. We watched her go from sleeping on her bed resting her knee to being worked up about me being sick. She was upset that she couldn’t be with me and knew that I was in pain. She has this sense about her that tells her when I need her. She has never been trained as a therapy dog, but living with me she has become my own personal therapeutic dog and caretaker. She’s amazing and life wouldn’t be the same without her. Do you have a pet that helps you when you are sick?