How Lucy the Dog Changed My Life

Jessie Ace avatar

by Jessie Ace |

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A pet is the most loyal companion a person can have. 

I’m currently sitting in my dad’s home office and typing away on my laptop. It’s nice to have a change of scenery. I brought my tiny dog, Lucy, with me as usual. Lucy is more than my dog. She’s my shadow, and she never, ever leaves my side. 

She’s currently curled up on the floor in the bed I brought, toys littered everywhere. It’s a good thing my dad is at work and can’t see the mess she’s making. She likes to jump up for cuddles and makes sure I take breaks to play with her regularly. 

The truth is that I could not be without her. She’s been there through my painful injections, sees the emotional side of living with a health condition that no one else does, and doesn’t laugh at me when my words come out funny. When I tell her I’m tired, she never replies, “I’m tired, too” but rather gives me a look that says, “Well, then, let’s sleep!” 

In many ways, it’s easier to have a pet as a companion than a person. 

I found Lucy in 2014 just after my husband and I moved into our own house. She is a dachshund crossed with a papillon and is completely adorable. Lucy was saved from a Romanian kill pen by a U.K. charity called One Paw at a Time. I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her photo, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. 

Don’t get me wrong, she can be a complete pain at times. Because she was in a kill pen where food was often scarce, she’s very nervous around other dogs, including when she hears barking from next door. It has been hard trying to train that out of her, especially because she’s allergic to all foods except medicated kibbles. The other annoying thing is that she starts being noisy when I go to record any vocals, either for my podcast or the MS News Today flash briefings. I’ve started putting her toys on the rug and on her bed next to me so you don’t hear her claws on the wood floor, making sure she is as quiet as possible. 

Lucy helped me overcome my fear of exercising after my neurologist told me it could cause a relapse. She forces me to take her for a walk every day, rain or shine. I learned the hard way that lunchtime is not the best time to take her, because that is when my Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) side effects kick in and I feel drained.

Lucy was there for me when I started my running journey. She insisted on coming with me on every run, even on the hottest July days at 6 a.m. — before she usually gets out of bed. The support she provides feels far more beneficial than any gym membership.

On anxious days, she’s there for endless snuggles. 

On sad days, she throws a toy in the air and misses it, causing me to laugh hysterically with watery eyes.

On happy days, she joins in on the fun. 

She has this way of telling me exactly what she wants. The other day, my husband and I took her in the car, and she kept crying and whining until I told him to put the radio on. She has to have things her way.  

She says so much for an animal that can’t speak!

I dedicate this column to you, Lucy-Lou. Thank you for providing constant support. 

Do you have an emotional support pet? Share what they are like in the comments below.

A fluffy black papshund dog next to a bright orange fluffy monster toy sat on a cream rug

Lucy the dog. (Photo by Jessie Ace)

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

Alexa avatar

Alexa

My 13 years old dog was euthanized last week (she had methastatic cancer and had trouble breathing during the last days). I still haven't recovered from her lost and it feels that I never will. Its just so sad that I feel like my heart had been ripped out of my chest, leaving a big hole instead. I though about having another dog, but I still think no dog will ever replace her :( Ive been crying every day and it has been quite difficult to find any distractions. Will this sadness last forever?

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Jessie Ace avatar

Jessie Ace

So sorry to hear that Alexa, I can't begin to imagine that pain :(

Reply
Susan Youngbuck avatar

Susan Youngbuck

Hi Alexa - I have felt the heart wrenching pain of losing a beloved dog more than once. To answer your question, your sadness will not last forever, but it will take time. Feeling the love from a pet and companion is such a strong bond! Of course you won’t be able to get over the sadness of losing her immediately.
One thing that has helped me is knowing in my heart that I will see them all again in Heaven. I truly believe that! So I feel like goodbye is not forever. When I think of my babies now I smile at the memories, even if those memories are sometimes bittersweet.
Although you will never “replace” your beloved girl, in time you may decide to allow the love of another dog in your life. Some people think they can’t go through the heartache of losing another pet, but I have decided it’s worth having the love and joy of a dog for the short time we are allowed on this earth.
There is a time for weeping and sorrow, but joy comes in the morning!
Blessings, Susan

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LISA jACKSON avatar

LISA jACKSON

No-it won/t last forever. Save another soul when you are ready. Another pet won't replace the one you lost, but it will succeed it. You will love it differently, yes, but you will love it. Hugs!

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Cynthia avatar

Cynthia

I know exactly how you feel. I had my 8 lb. hairless Chinese Crested (a rescue ) for 10 years. He died in June. I didn't fully realize until he was gone , that everything he did was to make me happy.
He was "velcro "attached to my lap . He didn't like toys , but liked to play , running around like the Tasmanian devil !
I used to tell him he had a "kissy neck"because he loved to snuggle.
He smelled like maple syrup.
I miss him so much.
I would love to get another little dog , but I live alone , and am not sure I could look after one.
Thanks for your post.

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Jessie Ace avatar

Jessie Ace

Aww, Cynthia, I'm so sorry, he sounds beautiful :(

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Charles Lumia avatar

Charles Lumia

Nice story! Dogs are the best!

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Claire avatar

Claire

My thoughts go out to you Alexa and Cynthia, our fur family and the bond we build are more than special to us.
I feel very fortunate and like to tell you about my lovely lad. I have a gorgeous 7yr old kelpie x NZ hunterway dog which we've had since he was 6mnths old. I have self-trained him as my assistance dog and he is my bestest buddy you could ever ask for. My walking isnt v good at all due to PPMS and even worse in hot weather, so I ride my horse out early mornings and my lovely dog is my happy offsider. He comes with me whether it is a dressage lesson or hacking out in the bushland alone. If i drop anything he will pick it up and give it back to me (sometimes shaking it violently to make sure it hasn't collected any creepy crawlies! haha). Only this morning, when I stopped to try and take a video of some cockatoos on my ride, I accidently dropped both my glove and then my riding whip!! Argh! I could not get off as I cannot remount without my partners help. I hadn't dropped anything for ages, so was unsure if he'd understand what I had taught him to do a few years ago. Well he was an absolute champion. On command he picked it up and then (after shaking and throwing my glove around a bit, haha!) he handed it back up to me on my tall horse. My riding whip by this time was buried under a lot sand my horse had kicked over it, so i had to ask him to find it, which he did by digging down a bit and he then cleverly was able to negotiate handing it back up to me. What an absolute champion!
At home, if I a need my house boots, i just ask him to go and get my 'slippers' and the next minute he charges off into the bedroom, he finds and brings them back to me one by one.
I absolutely love this boy, he loves to learn and I know how lucky I am that he's part of my family

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