I’m an animal lover. I’ve got two cats and a dog. They are my kids. I got my dog just before I turned 21 years old. She’s an English Springer Spaniel and I named her Sydney.
She was just a puppy when I got her. I was living alone and just under two years into life with my multiple sclerosis diagnosis. It was still a time of major adjustment for me. She’s provided me with companionship that was so critical when I was on my own. For a long time, Sydney’s was the first face I saw every morning when I woke and the last face I saw when I went to sleep at night.
Pets can provide not only companionship for people, but they also can be therapeutic. Anytime I feel down, there is this loving creature to cheer me up. Pets give us someone to take care of, a responsibility I needed during those years when I struggled through depression trying to find myself after being diagnosed with MS.
Sydney is 14 years old now. Those years have gone by fast. Overall, she’s not had any significant health problems. But she shows her age in her gray hair, a few small fatty tumors, and her hearing problems. The great part is, that despite her age, she still runs around with excitement and is playful. Sometimes it’s like she is still just a young pup.
Lately, she’s having more problems moving around. We can treat that with pain medication and anti-inflammatory medications. But she’s also losing control of her bowels. It’s as if she doesn’t know it’s happening until it’s too late. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot we can do for this problem. The underlying cause could be her mobility issues or it could be neurological. The medications she’s taking may help, but they may not. Being the kind of person I am, I’ve done my own research and found some alternative treatment options like acupuncture and chiropractic. So I’m hopeful.
It’s difficult to watch my friend grow old. It’s hard for me to watch the confusion in her eyes when she realizes she’s gone in the house. She knows it’s wrong, but I suppose her body just won’t listen. And I know how she feels. I know the frustration of knowing what I want my body to do and it not responding. With all Sydney has given me over the years, all the love, companionship, laughs, and joy; what I can try to give her now is understanding. We’ve been through a lot together. Unknowingly, she helped me through some very difficult times in my life. Now, it’s my turn to do the same for her.
Happiness is a warm puppy —Charles M. Schultz