Friday, May 7, 2010

The Healing Power of Dogs

It hasn't been a good week. Whether it was food poisoning, some new medicine I started, or just a bug I caught, I spent all of Wednesday night and half of Thursday throwing up. I only mention this to get to what I actually want to say -- how healing having a dog nearby can be.
As I was traveling from bed to bathroom all night long, I kept seeing my dog. He would either look up from his bed in my bedroom of poke his head in the door of the bathroom, but he would be a presence. It was comforting not to be alone, even though I don't really expect him to be Lassie and go for help if I collapse on the floor.
But the real effect came on Thursday, when I was still ill, but a little better. First, before I even got out of bed, Teddy came into the bedroom to have the morning play ritual with Nestle. They both lie down and jaw wrestle, with lots of sound. I couldn't even see them, huddled as I was under three layers of blankets, but I could hear them, and it was definitely a pick-me-up.
Later that day, as I was lying on the couch rather than in bed, the dogs came over now and then to give me a lick or just stand nearby. And Teddy did his "I saw something insanely exciting out the front window" act -- he sees our feral cats out the front window and takes off on a high-speed lap around the house while he tries to decide if it's better to stay at the window, where he can see the cat, or go out the dog door, which gets him outside but in the back of the house rather than the front. I couldn't laugh because all my diaphragm muscles hurt too much, but it definitely made me smile.
It's good to have dogs around when you are really in need of a little relief.

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