Seriously, how cute is my dog? (Rhetorical question – of course she’s frickin adorable).
She was not my dog to begin with but she has become my dog since I’ve been with Sean. We have our little bonding time when I get home from work first and take her on a walk around the neighborhood, just the two of us.
The first time I was sick at Sean’s apartment, Lu didn’t leave my side. She stayed in bed with me until I went to the hospital and then immediately cuddled up with me when I got back.
When I was in the hospital for a week earlier this year, she flew threw the air as I got home, wanting to sit on my lap, lick my hand, and cuddle. She instinctively knows when I don’t feel well, knowing when it’s ok to get get close and when to lay just at the foot of the bed.
I’m a little weird in that I’m deathly afraid of thunderstorms (yes I know it’s lame, but growing up in California we don’t have thunderstorms). Lu normally sleeps on a mattress pad in our closet, but as soon as she hears the thunder outside, she springs onto the bed, hops right over Sean and comes to cuddle with me. You know how dogs have thundershirts to calm them down, my dog is my own thundershirt. She’s extremely protective.
Having a dog is great and I truly think her presence helps when I’m sick. Studies have shown just five minutes with a dog lowers your stress level. When lupus flares are triggered by stress, it makes sense that having a puppy around means fewer flares. Petting a dog lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, which is extremely important if you have any sort of kidney problems.
I know it’s hard to stay active when I’m not feeling well, when my energy is low and I’m in pain. But even when I’m in pain I have to take her outside, I have to walk around the parking lot at the very least. It is a way to keep me active. This may seem hard for some people, especially on days you can’t get out of bed (thank god I have help if I need it) but so many chronically ill patients don’t make any attempt at exercise because they think it’s too much. Walking the dog a great way to get a minimal amount of physical activity.
Besides, when you feel horrible what’s better than coming home to a dog who’s incredibly happy to see you. It puts a smile on my face every time.