I wanted to share this great post on the difference pets can make to people suffering from chronic illnesses. Sometimes they even have their own invisible illnesses that they heal from while they help us heal, like Pup in this post: Does your greatest teacher have fur?
Like Pup, my dog, Archie, is my “therapy dog.” He’s a rescue too and I used to think I found him, but really he found me. He had Parvo as a puppy and almost died, so when I got him he had tons of skin problems, ear infections, and was skin and bones. It took awhile to get him on the right diet and get his skin issues cleared up. He still has some weird skin problems, I’ve learned. I changed his food last fall only to change it right back a few months later when the skin problems came back. He’s back to normal now. He knows when I’m really hurting; he snuggles with me and often positions himself on whichever hip or leg is aching the most to share his body heat with me. He knows when I’ve been sitting too long and annoys me until I get up and play with him or walk him. He motivates me to walk and exercise. I’m going through a divorce now and he’s been amazing. He comes running when I’m sad and licks the tears away. He’ll do something cute that makes me laugh so then he keeps doing it to keep me laughing. He doesn’t like when I cry.
When I was at my worst in February 2012 with my fibromyalgia, he literally knocked me on my butt and made me rethink how I was getting through the days. I let him out on a big leash and he dashed off after a squirrel so fast the leash swept my legs out from under me. I was bruised from my fall but it was the final straw and it led to me taking a 10-week medical leave from work so I could work on my health, nutrition, and emotional wellbeing and start clawing my way back from the sea of pain I was lost in. That leave from work was a huge turning point in my health and he was with me every day for it. He always knows when he can push me to be more active and when he can’t. I don’t know what I would do without him. I know I wouldn’t be in as healthy a place now without him though.