How my Furry Little 4-Legged Family Member is the Best Therapy as I cope with my Migraine Disease
There are definately divided camps when it comes to preferred companions-cats, dogs, fish, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets and even the slimy and sometimes odd ones like snakes and yep even rats, mice, spiders, snakes-yuck. I'm sure I'm missing some but I prefer to stick with the norm. I hate creepy crawly things and the abnormal. Not for me, no sireee Bob. My daughter was a true Tomboy. She had the slimy ones-Salamanders, tree frogs, some freaky spiders that thank God she had when she moved OUT of the house a couple of years ago. But unfortunately she had some of those tree frogs when she still lived at home just out of high school and those things are nocturnal and the noise............. lets just say many a night they almost ended up being flushed down the toilet. Here we are trying to sleep on one side of the house and on the other end this horrible noise from a tiny big mouth frog. During the summer we cannot sleep with the windows open. The noise from those frogs
I cannot remember a time when I was growing up not having a cat or dog, sometimes more than one dog and cat at a time in the house at all times. We were animal loving people. I always had a dog or cat to chase around when I was little and because I was too young to sometimes appreciate how fragile they could sometimes be I would often get paddled on the rump while being told-No Julie, you cannot squeeze the cat or dog until they stop breathing and their eyes bugg out. I eventually learned that lesson to only learn another valuable one-you don't try to fight a dog over a bone. Oh geese, I was still in diapers and my mom tured her back for one second and we all know that's all it takes for a kid to get in trouble. And when your only a couple of years old anything and everything looks pretty appealing to you. Even a dog bone. I didn't get paddled for that one. My mom figured the dog reprimanding me and scaring me was enough punishment. That was a Cocker Spaniel and I cannot remember her name but after that incident I kept my distance when she ate and played with her when she gave me permission. But of course as I grew older through the years and learned more under close supervision how to love and respect our animals we developed close bonds and it broke my heart when they got old and sick and had to pass on. I had always hated that part of having animals when I was younger.
It was when I started getting the migraines when I had dogs of my own when I moved out after getting married and had a child that I started developing really special bonds with them. I remember my yellow lab Willow. When we first got her and two of her liter mates, all three sisters, at first they were all just a bunch of lively loveable dolls that just made the family feel complete and we loved and adored them. I was experiencing migraines at the time and at first I was not really noticing it until my daughter pointed it out to me but Willow would be extra attentive to me and would shadow my every move and would not let me out of her sight. When I would lay on the bathroom floor if I would close the door and not let her in at first she would whine until I'd let her in or my daughter would and she would lie down beside me as close as she could like she was either trying to comfort me or keeping guard over me. She would not leave the bathroom until I would. If I laid in bed with an ice pack she would stay in the bedroom on the floor on my side of the bed. I would call her my babysitter. I loved that dog. She saw me through the passing of my mom, her litter mate both in May 2003 and my dad in March 2005. Then in Jan 2006 she became stricken with acute Pancreatitis. She was so horribly sick. I stayed up with her all through the night and day following her around cleaning up after her. She could not keep anything down. We took her to 2 different vets against my better judgement when I wanted to take her to the one we ultimately took her to finally, but it was too late. She was going into organ failure and I had to have her put down. I held her as they injected her with the medication to put her to sleep and I just bawled my eyes out for what seemed like hours holding her and apologizing for letting her down when she was always there for me when in the end I was not there for her and in the end I let her down. To this day I still miss her and still feel guilty for her getting sick and not listening to my inner voice and taking her to the last vet in the 1st place and being let around by the other vets wasting time and letting it progress to that lethal state. I lost one hellava wonderful friend.
So I went friendless (in a canine way) for a few years and it felt so empty and lonely, especially lying on the cold bathroom floor alone with no cold wet nose to nuzzle me to let me know it will get better soon, or a furry head to rub to feel some form of comfort. I had begged and pleaded with my husband to let me get another dog but he was not giving in. He didn't want to go through the loss of losing another friend. No one does but the longer you let the loss remain the wounds say open and raw and you don't fully heal. So one day he finally relented. My daughter had been working on him too and she'd been bringing her dogs over and one was a Min-Pin mix and he was pretty darn cute and his antics wore down my husbands defense. I had never been one to favor small dogs. I had always liked larger dogs but I could not get another Lab because that would be like trying to replace Willow and she was one of a kind. So on a whim I looked on Craigs List and saw this listing for a male 3 month old tri color Chihuahua. The pictures they had online were so flipping adorable and I could not resist looking further into it. He was just a town down the road from us, about 10 min. So we emailed and set up an appointment to go see him. He was adopted but not working out because he was in a house w/small kids and cats and those kind of dogs don't mix well in that enviroment, so there was a re-adoption fee of $100.00. When we met him face to face it was literally love at 1st site on both sides. I reached for him and it almost seemed like he was reaching out for me. I cuddled him and he just snuggled up to me and nuzzled me like he was saying "hello mommy take me home please". My husband was sold on him. Before he could get the words out "so do you want him" I almost yelled out "yes". We went off to the nearest Wal-Mart to get a crate and bed and all the essentials for him. Not that he stayed in his crate at night for long. It was probably after a couple of weeks he was sleeping in bed with us. He'd burrow under the covers and snuggle up against my back giving me a feeling of comfort.
As he grew up he'd continue to snuggle under the covers at night, curled up against my back giving me comfort. During the day he knows when I don't feel good and he will follow me around. From the bathroom to the kitchen, to the study-where ever I go he's right there where ever I turn. When I sit down he will snuggle in my lap and give me extra attention. If I accidently close the gate to the bedroom door on him and he can't come in he will sit there and whimper until I let him in. I put that gate there to keep the other 2 dogs and cat out (my daughters critters). If I have to lie down during the day he will come in the bedroom and snuggle with me. Now that our daughter has temporarily moved back in with us and brought her 2 dogs and cat, he loves to play with them and snuggle with them. But if he knows I'm ill he will ignore them and come pay attention to me. He will curl up against me and nuzzle me and give me his little kisses on my cheek or chin and lie with me until I get up or until his "daddy" gets home. Then he'll play for a while but if I go lie down again he'll come check on me and he shows his concern. He just turned 2 years old the end of this October 2012 and he's still got a lot of puppy in him and when he plays he plays till he's pooped, but he seems to at times put me 1st.
It's amazing that I have found two dogs in a row that can sense when I'm getting migraines and will go out of their way to comfort me when I'm sick. Now he will act up and bark if someone comes to the door-he has not learned to be quiet yet like Willow did, but he's still young yet. This is the 1st male dog that I have bonded with and have had such a close relationship with. I don't know what I would do without him and don't even what to think about it. I had posted pictures of him on Face Book and had a breeder tell me he's a Deer Chihuahua. I don't care what he is. I know I love him and he loves me, unconditionally both ways. He will never judge, critisize, rant nor rave at me. He will not roll his eyes at me and say in an exasperated voice "what, your sick again-when are you ever going to feel better" or "your always sick". He really is my best friend of the 4-legged kind and he calms me and soothes me and it helps when I'm in pain to feel him there in bed curled up beside me and I can pet him from time to time and get a little sloppy kiss as his way of saying "it's ok I'm here and I won't leave you mommy". He always has time for me as I do for him. He doesn't care when I get up in the morning and my hair looks like a rats nest-no, he keeps a straight face and does not roll over and laugh his tail off at me and tell me how horrible I look. I have to wait until I go into the bathroom and screech in terror and turn to look at him and he's still wagging his tail good naturedly with that look of love and adoration. And that helps release some of the tension knowing I have him to count on. He is so much more than just a dog to me. My Little friend Paco is part of my family and I dare anyone to say otherwise. I love him because he's my best buddy and he's much more than a dog to me.