As I mentioned in a previous column, relationships can be tricky when managing a condition like sarcoidosis. Unfortunately, not everyone can adjust to the challenges of a chronic health condition. But I’ve found that pets are a different story.
Before I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, my husband and I had two golden retrievers who spent countless hours with me each day. They were both good dogs, but our male, Max, seemed to have an innate sense of my disease. I struggled to fall asleep most nights because of my irritating symptoms. I often found myself sighing, tossing and turning, and even shedding a few tears before actually falling asleep.
Max made it his mission to see me through many endless nights. Without any encouragement, he would jump on the bed and sit beside me. When he sensed I was getting restless, he would gently nudge his head beneath my hand, encouraging me to pet him. If I stopped, he would nudge me again. We continued like this for most of the night, side by side.
I assume we fell asleep in the wee hours of the night. The only real evidence I have is waking up each morning to find that Max was still by my side.
Max was with us for 14 years and remained an obedient and loyal dog. I’ll be eternally thankful for his help in getting me through such a difficult time in my life.
In my opinion, no dog ever replaces another. However, the 12-year-old we currently share our home with is pretty spectacular, too. Like his predecessor, Eli is quite in tune with me and often spends his days sleeping by my side.
I have been a dog lover since I was a kid. I can’t imagine life without my dogs, especially considering my health challenges. My loyal companions have been great company over the years, providing joy and lighthearted fun on the worst of days.
Some people wonder if pets are a good idea for those with health challenges. Pets can be costly. They require care and can add stress to a household schedule. However, according to this report, pets can have an overall positive effect on health. For instance, pets may help decrease stress and improve heart health. Owning a pet may help you become more active, and sharing your home with a pet may help to relieve depression and chronic pain.
There are things to consider before you decide to bring a pet into your home. This is especially true for people with chronic illness. But I can’t imagine life without my canine companions. I cannot put a price tag on the joy, energy, and happiness they bring to our home.
Note: Sarcoidosis News 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 Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.