Posts Tagged ‘dogs help people’

Who deserves more credit?

a dog that deserves more credit than he gets

One of the topics in The Daily Post “PostAWeek”  challenge is, “Who deserves more credit than they get?”

I couldn’t decide between bloggers, dishwashers or dogs, because they all deserve more credit than they get.

Dogs deserve more credit than they get for giving people companionship and unconditional love.  Dogs are particularly important to people living with chronic illness or a disability that has caused isolation and often alienation from family, friends, community and society.

Many people I know who live with chronic illness have a dog.  They are our four-legged friends who are there for us no matter what.  A dog can make us smile when we are in pain.  They’ll get up with us in the wee hours of the mornings when everyone else is sleeping.  They give us a reason to take walks or get outside for fresh air.  Their fur is soft and petting them calms us.  Their spirits are overflowing with sweetness.  Dogs give.  That’s what they do.  They give and they keep on giving.

Sometimes, and this is one of the greatest gifts that I get from the love of a dog, they offer a reason to keep on living.

“They can’t be nurses, doctors or teachers!” a desk attendant working at a hospital said to me one time.  We had struck up a conversation while I was waiting on a relative.  She became upset when I told her about my dog who was receiving medical care for bone cancer.

“There are children starving!  I can’t believe people spend money on a dog’s health care, while there are children who do not have the things they need,” she said.

I wondered how many of the nurses or doctors had dogs.  I knew the woman wouldn’t understand about spending money on a sick dog no matter what I said so I changed the subject.

Personally, I think dogs can help people be better nurses, doctors or teachers.  Plus, mine are all that and more.   Dogs can also make these jobs easier by giving love and companionship to patients and students.

I’ve been pretty sick for the past six months.  Recently, there have been times when I thought I would have to call for emergency help.  My dogs have been vigilant caretakers.  The older dog hasn’t left my side in over two months.  If I get up at 3am, so does he.  He knows I’m not well.  He is simply amazing.  I’ll be thinking the worst thoughts and he gets as close to my body as he can.  He doesn’t usually give kisses but lately, out of the blue, he’ll give me a quick little kiss as if to remind me they are here.

My dogs love me and they need me.  In this way, they literally save my life, over and over.

We hear about enormous amounts of money some people spend on their pets.  It’s true that veterinarian bills are expensive, but that isn’t the same thing as extravagant amounts of money spent for things like diamond covered collars, fur coats and all sorts of weird things a dog certainly doesn’t need and likely doesn’t care about.

I’d rather pay for a dog to get medical care than pay for my hair to be colored, manicures, an expensive car or the expensive things plenty of people spend money on.  This is a personal choice and comparably, I must admit, I think a dog is a heck of a lot more fun than what non-dog owners spend money on.

I don’t think it makes sense to criticize pet owners for spending money on pets, while people are in debt because they wanted a big screen television in every room of their house.

I’ve been judged and criticized for spending money on a dog and I find this pretty absurd.

A landlord I called once about an apartment got so angry when I told her that I live on a fixed income and have a dog, that I thought she was going to have a heart attack.  No joke.  She was ready to rent me the sweetest little cottage in the mountains.  She was praising me for raising a son alone and going to college.  I was all this and that, until I told her about my dog.  She started screaming at me over the telephone about how she was paying for my dog’s food via her taxes.

“I can’t believe you have a dog!” the woman shouted.   “It ought to be against the law for people who get help to have a dog.  I can’t believe it!”

I told the woman how little the dog’s food cost, but that didn’t matter.  I hung up on her because she wouldn’t stop screaming at me.

Magically, the next day I met the greatest landlord a dog owner could hope for.  She kept asking if I was sure the place was good enough for my dog.  We ended up being nice friends.

Fortunately and just as magically, the landlords I rent from now are wonderful and love my dogs.  I was afraid they wouldn’t allow me to have the bigger dog but when they saw him one of them said, “You are lucky to have him.  He’ll protect you out here.”

My family used to make remarks about how I could have a better place to live if I didn’t have dogs or that I would be free to come visit them since they won’t allow dogs in their homes.  After years gone by, I believe they recognize more the value of my dogs, but they still don’t let my dogs come inside and as a result, I hardly ever get to visit them.

Dogs help people in so many ways.  Being there for a sick person when everyone else is waiting on her to feel better is a great deed.

Their companionship and love make people feel happy.  I read once where being lonely is the number one reason for suicide.  I believe the love of a dog can help prevent this.

As I write, my son is visiting for the holiday.  He hasn’t felt so great lately either.   He has some serious health challenges in life.  After dinner this evening he suddenly got the biggest smile on his face.  His dog was lying on his back with his short legs up in the air.  He rests like that (he’s part Basset Hound) and he looks very funny when he does it.

My son went over and lied down beside him to rub his belly.  I guess most dogs like to have their belly rubbed.  Our younger dog was in on the scene shortly after.  It was such a wonderful moment.  My son looked happy and this made me feel good.  Both dogs were smothering him with love.

I asked him how he felt around his dog.  I like to use words to express my feelings and experience.  I think it’s good to have a way to talk about things.

He could barely talk without laughing when he tried to respond.  “Loyal, he’s so loyal.”

My son continued on, “He’s my protector.  Awww.  He loves me.  Look at him,” and he laughed again while he rubbed his best friend’s soft belly.  “He wants me to hug him.  Awww.  He’s so sweet!”  My son let out a deep breath of air.  He looked content and lied back on the sofa to rest.  I’ve always said, and definitely believe, that dogs are good medicine.

Earlier today the dog jumped from the back seat to the front and was out of the car as soon as the door opened when I arrived at my son’s apartment.  The dog is getting old, but so far this hasn’t slowed him down when he sees his true master.

This dog is a very special dog.  He has saved my son’s life several times.  He definitely deserves more credit than he gets.

Some people used to remark that this dog is a burden to me.  He is stronger than I am, which makes walking him a creative and carefully planned task.  He has seizures that break my heart, but not so many that they lessen his quality of life.  He is no burden.  He is a gift, a blessing and like all dogs, a teacher.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

dogkisses.


 

Fibromyalgia HURTS!

“How often do you wake up in pain,” my good nurse asked.

“Pretty much every day lately,” I told her.

Her question was the first thing that came to my mind today as I was waking up. 

I lied there for the first few minutes,  as my brain processed how much pain I was feeling.  I thought about my medication and how it was only steps away.

Having overslept, I was an hour late with my dose and when I woke up, there it was!  Severe Pain all over my body. 

It’s hard to know how much pain to accept, tolerate or live with, when you live in a certain amount of pain all the time.  It’s also hard to recognize when pain has worsened until it eases up and I think wow — I was hurting a lot!

I decided about three years ago to take medication for widespread ongoing pain.  

“Pain and Living,” is one of my posts in this blog, which was written about the time when I decided that enough was enough.  I could only tolerate so much pain.  I had met my limit.

I wanted a chance at living my life.  I began to notice a difference in the quality of my life right away after going on medication for pain.

I was doing well with the medication.  This means the level of pain I was experiencing was much lower and at times, managed well enough that I could do things I hadn’t been able to do in a long time.

Things were going pretty good and then came life.  Regular ordinary life.

For me, regular ordinary life includes intermittent crises.

Stress triggers fibromyalgia and fibromyalgia is stressful.

My most recent stress is that I took a hard fall from my magic bike.  

Within a ten-day span, I went from having a very sore elbow, shoulder and back, to waking up with severe back pain and finally feeling pain in every place in my body that has tissue.

Fibromyalgia covers a lot of ground.

Yesterday I was able to do some house chores.  Some days I wake up and realize I’m able.  I know I’m supposed to pace myself, but when I get these able days I try to catch up on things, especially dishes and bathroom chores.

Laundry is the hardest because of lifting clothes, out of the washer – into the dryer – out of the dryer – then folding them.  Standing in one spot is hard too, which makes cooking and doing dishes a painful and/or fatiguing experience.

My sweet dog, a great insect hunter, barely brushed against my femur bone when I lied down after my chores and it felt like I was kicked in an already bruised spot.  Fibromyalgia pain sometimes feels like my whole body is bruised.

My insect hunter, along with our other 4-legged relative, have been lying as close to my body as they can get over the past two weeks since I fell.  They’ve literally had me locked down on the sofa a couple of times.  The big one lying across my feet and the little one, only 45 pounds, likes to get anywhere she can and if that means on top of a leg or an arm, then that is where she gets.

Last night, after my day of chores, I woke up about 9pm on the sofa.  Both dogs around me.  My body was hurting all over.  Moving was a struggle.  I budged one of the dogs and she didn’t move.  They were sleeping good.

I had overdone it with the laundry for sure!  I’m not very good at giving in to rest.  I truly needed to have that as my top priority.

By the end of today I cried some.  I had walked the dogs.  Not as far as they needed to be walked, but it was nice and we got a little sunshine.  I let them smell where their little noses wanted to go.  Lots of people just walk their dogs, but I let mine stop and smell.  I once read where it’s good for a dog’s olfactory system to smell things every day.  That made sense to me and I like things that make sense.

Dogs have what the native Americans call good medicine.  Their medicine is loyalty.  They give.  This is what they do.  They give.  They are wonderful nurses!

Pain is stressful.  It is tiring.  Living with it all the time is depressing.  It just is.

“How often do you wake up in pain?”  My nurse’s question lingers in my mind.

How often is too often?


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