A Little Piece of Happiness: Therapy Dogs
Puppy Appreciation Post: There are few things that calm me or make me feel better when my pain exceeds the point of toleration. My dog sensing my pain and distracting me is one of them.
Meet Baylee. We rescued her when I was 13 and fell in love with those sad brown eyes. Right now, she is seven hours away south of Tallahassee and the distance is driving me mad. When I moved back home on medical leave last March from university and began treatment, Baylee spent every minute by my side. It’s so strange (and wonderful) how animals can sense suffering and pain. Her head is always on my shoulder when I’m at my breaking point and am home. Which is why this semester has been so emotionally difficult for me. Nights are hard sometimes. When my pain levels peak and I lay motionless in agony, unable to do anything at all but succumb to the anxiety, fear, pain, and helplessness, I cannot begin to express my longing to have her there. Tonight is one of those nights, so since I can’t have her by my side, I figured I would share my little piece of happiness with you. Her presence always made these nights much more bearable and sleep much easier to come by. She is always an immediate reason to smile, a set of ears to listen, and a comfort.
It has been such a profound emptiness for me since moving back that I have been considering bringing her up here (she is small, trained, and would be fine in an apartment) or adopting an older already trained dog from a shelter. I have looked into service dogs for people with chronic pain and illnesses that pose physical problems like mine do, but the dogs and training are thousands of dollars and require serious fundraising— something I am not sure I am comfortable with or comfortable asking friends/family/strangers for money for my own benefit.
Animals can give people a purpose. Having a responsibility, like taking the dog for regular walks, encourages me to get that little bit of fresh air and exercise, to get up out of bed and the apartment, not to mention combat the isolation and depressive funk I have been fighting off lately. No decisions have been made; a dog is a huge financial responsibility for a disabled college student who is unable to work, but I will keep you updated.
Any dog can be a therapy dog. Just wanted to share a piece of my happiness with you.
Do you find your animal(s) can sense when you’re struggling? How many of you use or are considering a service dog to help you with day to day tasks?
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- taletreader said: I’ve been considering a service dog for about a year now for my RA (mobility) and epilepsy.
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- toomanystarstocount said: My cats are one of my biggest sources of comfort lately. I’ve looked into service dogs for people with PTSD and if I could ever get one it’d be amazing.
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