Anyone who knows me knows my deep love and appreciation for animals; specifically dogs. I have an adorable Golden Retriever rescue, Abby, who is the light of my life. Not only does she bring me much happiness, she soothes my soul when I feel troubled and truly inspires me to persevere when fighting the myriad of side effects MS brings.
What is it about animals that is so therapeutic, so spiritually and physically quenching? I truly believe it is their sheer desire to live for our pleasure. Their innocence and dependence on is gives us no choice but to rise to the occasion, regardless of our physical or emotional state. I may experience troubling side effects from the inability to walk without assistance to general malaise but Abby still needs to be walked, fed and loved. My capabilities are mutually exclusive from her needs therefore making her my number one priority.
Having said this, not everyone is able to care for a dog, especially a large breed such as, Abby. There are so many breeds suitable to varying capabilities; however, it is vital you go into owning a dog with the ability to meet their needs. On the days I cannot walk, Abby, I hire a walker or rely on the kindness of neighbors who also own Goldens. I am extremely grateful to have amazing neighbors who, after every infusion, walk, Abby, for as many days as it takes for me to get back on my feet. As well, we have a large yard so I can toss the ball for her and exercise her at home should I not be able to walk. If you cannot own a dog, perhaps look into a cat whose needs are met much more independently and require far less space.
In the event you cannot adopt an animal, look into local rescues that are looking for volunteers to feed and love on their animals. I volunteer for the Golden Rescue and although I cannot walk the dogs, I can do paperwork, home studies etc. Just knowing I am helping dogs in dire need of a home is therapeutic in and of itself.
If you do find yourself wanting an animal, please consider rescues. Contrary to popular belief, you can get amazingly loving and well adjusted purebreds. In our rescue, akin to most others, we try to match the personality of the dog with that of the potential owner. We take into consideration every variable possible to ensue a successful adoption. When we rescued, Abby, we put down criteria important to us and met several dogs before choosing, Abby. We made a conscious decision to adopt her as she was severely underweight, malnourished, a bit skittish, and full of mange and physically unrecognizable to most Golden Retrievers. A little over a year later she is a robust, well adjusted happy and healthy dog. It is amazing what a little nourishment and a whole lot of love can do.
People frequently commend me on rescuing her and I always look at them quizzically and simply state that it is I who was rescued.
Does anyone else in your family have MS?