Pet therapy is a well known concept and I wanted to talk about how it has had a place in my life and to introduce my new dog Kobe! So I have worked in health care in a variety of settings for all my adult life and I have seen first hand how this kind of therapy can help many people be distracted from the pain they are in.
Around the time that I started getting sick my parents got our dog Maxie she was a much loved little tart who loved a belly rub; she was never going to be a good guard dog although being a yorkshire terrier cross jack russell she knew how to bark. She used to spend hours sat by my feet when I was on the toilet struggling with the constipation I endured with ulcerative colitis (thank hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome for that)
Inbetween her and our newfoundland Jenson – who I will get to shortly 00Steve and I have had many pets but only one who was as close to a therapy pet as we could get.
- Ollie – green amazon parrot (00Steve’s)
- Tabs – my grey cat who was a very loving cat and now lives in Florida!
- Saffron and Sarsprallia – fire bellied toads
- Butterz and Mercutio – corn snakes
- Rocket and Chomper – leopard geckos
- Seymour – chameleon
- Monty and Shadow – hamsters
- Floppsy and Moppsy – rabbits
- Fatty – stink pot turtle – we still have my grumpy bum turtle and her tank is near my chair
- Numerous fish which I loved and called things like : Dracula, Vlad, Blad and Ivan, Thing and Thing 2, Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s monster. I think you get the drift!
Jenson was our family dog and we devastatingly rehomed him due to the complete uncertainty of my heath at the time; which irritatingly if we had waited 6 more months we would have found out would have become stable after surgery. However it would not have been fair for him to not get the attention he had been getting. We are very lucky that he is with parents of a family friend and get frequent updates and know that he is loved unconditionally like we love him. He spent hours laid on the floor with me whilst I was in agony or half out of it from the morphine. It is the one big thing I feel my health has taken from me is not having Jenson and it has taken four and a half years to get to the stage where my overall health is stable enough (when the hospitals start allowing my infusions) to get another dog.
Our house felt like it was missing something after Jenson left and although the hole in our life he had left will never be filled, our new labrador Kobe has definitely made it smaller and more bareable. He has once again made our family feel complete and has already been on a run with me. Okay because he is 8 months old we started Pup-2-5K and he is a faster runner than me! I am struggling with pain but that should hopefully ease when I can get my infusion. A dog is most certainly for life and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t wish we could have had them both.
How has having a pet helped you with your ill health be it physical or mental?
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