Our Caring Canine Companions
Several years ago, I read an article in Dog Fancy magazine about a woman who was receiving chemotherapy. Every day she came home from her session and went to bed, too fatigued to jump back into her routine.
While she slept, her dogwould get all his tennis balls and gently place them around her body, careful never to wake her. Tennis balls were his favorite toy and he must have figured she was in need of some comfort. He’d then lay nearby until she woke up. This routine was repeated throughout the weeks of her chemo sessions.
When Dog Owners Are Under the Weather
Last week started like any other except I had been slightly under the weather. I had caught a mild cold. Nothing serious. I took Misha for a walk as usual. I felt fine except for the faucet nose.
Something happened between “mild cold” Monday and Tuesday morning. I woke up feeling like hell. I had to go back to bed after going to the bathroom because I thought I was going to throw up.
The episode passed. I felt fatigued, but none worse for the wear. As the day wore on, I felt more fatigued and lightheaded. This was the start of two days of lightheadedness and barely being able to walk around the house. I was fatigued, hot, nauseous, and had no appetite. My head felt foggy.
No Extra Treats for My Dog Today
Misha seemed to understand as I was unable to take her for a walk or get her carrots. She stayed nearby keeping an eye on me at all times. She was quiet and reserved, unusual for a Jack Russell Terrier.
She even understood when I called off our usual bedtime hide n’ seek treat game. She went to bed as if she’d had all the exercise she needed.
This went on until midday Thursday. As I rested, Misha would be right at my hip covered with the quilt. She’d get up if I got up making sure I came back to the room. In the morning she stayed in bed she waited for me to get up before she roused. She seemed to know I was in slow motion.
On the Mend
Though Thursday didn’t start well, I definitely felt better. By noon, I was starting to feel like a human being. Many of my odd symptoms left. In the afternoon, I actually ate some lunch. Misha got her baby carrots which made her happy. By evening I was back on the computer.
I have no idea what this added bonus episode was about…the flu, dehydration, an arthritis flare? No clue. Almost my entire family has been ill and no one has gone through anything similar. I’m just glad it is over!
My Dog was a Real Trooper
Normally, if we don’t take our daily dog walk, I’m in big trouble. All of Misha’s Jack Russell energy bounces off the walls. She becomes a 4 legged stalker following me everywhere. She is bratty and plays too rough as if all that Jack Russellness can’t stand being bottled up.
But for 3 days, Misha was the best dog she could be. Just like the dog in the Dog Fancy story, it was as if she knew I was not well. She wanted to be on or near me at all times.
Friday, I felt a lot better. My weird 3 day episode was over. I again felt like I had a very mild cold, though I was still weak. 3 days lying around and arthritis don’t go well together, for the record. My joints felt like I was in my 80s instead of my 50s.
But, to give Misha a reward, I put on my jacket and scarf and got the leash. Misha began jumping up and down. You’d think I had peanut butter! She was so excited to go out front.
I took her for a very short walk for being a good trooper through all the rain and my illness. We walked to the corner and back making sure to hit all the bushes along the way.
It wasn’t a long walk, but all I could handle. Misha was satisfied though. She got to go out front and read the news. We came home, she peed, then went to bed. She was content.
Do Dogs Know When We’re Ill?
I don’t know how much dogs sense about illness. I’m sure they smell the changes in body odor. A person sick for 3 days can’t smell very good, if you ask me! Maybe it’s the change in behavior…walking around the house slow, lying around, not passing treats under the table. If the routine changes, dogs know it.
Whatever it is, Misha knew I wasn’t well and she adapted. She was on her best behavior, something I rarely see.
Who better to keep your pillow warm when you aren’t well than your best four legged friend? Yeah…like, everyone wants a warm pillow. LOL