How Lucy the Dog Changed My Life
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.
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