We welcome Selkie who has written this blog about her life & how dogs have become her companions & helpers. This is part one of a three part blog. Thank you Selkie for sharing with us.
Although we have had the pleasure of doggy companions for many years, we had we two of our own dogs when the disease struck my daughter and I and turned into chronic illness.
Pre illness I was able to take the dogs for long walks etc., as the illness progressed, so did my difficulties. From the dogs’ point of view, lack of exercise would have been a problem, (my husband was working abroad a lot) but I was lucky enough to have a young friend who also owned a dog and would take all three out for runs. The ‘girls’ (our own dogs) were elderly by then and though they no longer needed long walks, they still needed exercising. The time came when the friend moved away, I then tracked down a dog walking service, which was expensive and the dogs were not at all happy. I would have been in great difficulty at this point; had not a lovely young neighbour taken on the role, and for several years took them to run in the fields for me.
Getting dogs to a Vet I found to be much harder than cats as my dogs didn’t like vets and didn’t like travelling – so finding someone to take them was very difficult.
From a purely selfish point of view, I adored my ‘old girls’, and their company, their acceptance of me pre-illness and during – also their intelligence saved me from many a mishap!! (For example the one evening – I ‘thought’ I was alert enough to make some toast…wrong…I got distracted…the next thing I was aware of, the ‘girls’, running back and forth, whining and shepherding me into the kitchen, full of smoke and a flame licking out from the grill!!
They also made an instant judgement of my ‘condition’ at any particular time, if I’m having zombie phase, they looked at me and stayed in their beds (and went back to sleep), if the next time I pass them I’m looking alert – then I received a welcome and they jumped up for pats and cuddles (I allow them to jump up, firstly because I enjoy the welcome and secondly – it’s an energy saving/balance saving ploy – because I didn’t have to bend down to pat them. Also during ‘zombie’ phases I could use hand signals with the girls which was extremely useful.
They thoroughly enjoyed snuggling up during ‘splat’ phases, reminded me to give them their breakfast if they haven’t been fed, reminded me it’s treat time at 3 pm, reminded me to eat in the evening, if I had forgotten they whined and stood by the table. Great company and faithful friends, however I am very aware that there were times when I am physically unable to let them out into the garden (for ‘you know what’) – were it not for my husband. We have a wipe clean list on the kitchen wall, and tick off when one of us has fed the dogs, let them out etc.,
Next time: Read how our ‘girl’ trained the newbie in how to welcome “mum” when mum was mobile etc