I didn’t have any real pets when I was a kid. At various times I had a hamster, a guinea pig and a fish named Elvis but I am not counting those as “real”. By real, I mean a pet that you can cuddle with and who is able to roam safely and freely around your house. My mom was ailurophobic, which is just a fancy way of saying that she believed she was a mouse in another life, and cats were out of the question. She did like dogs, but did not like the money, mess or work involved with letting your kids have one.
I tried getting around that by kidnapping dogs from time to time and saying they followed me home. The first one REALLY did follow me home, and when it looked like the dog officer wouldn’t be able to find his owner, we almost got to keep him. Since I got close, my nine year old brain figured it was only a matter of time before an owner would not be found and started grabbing dogs by the collar and dragging them home with me. What I didn’t figure out is that their collars had their owners name on them and thus, never got to keep them.
Too bad too, as a pet could really come in handy now. My rental does not allow pets and so I am still petless. But all the smart people on the web say that pets can help promote healing. Luckily for me, my portable air conditioner must have read those same websites.
During a miserable heat wave in my area, when I really needed healing, my ac came through. It wasn’t only that it helped me cool down, it took to staying by my side as if it felt the need to cuddle. I don’t think the fact that I was staying glued to its cold little body had anything to do with it. My ac seemed to want to bond too.
With my MS comes the annoying symptom of having to pee constantly. The heat and humidity didn’t help as I needed to drink more water, which meant I needed to pee even more. Here is where the bonding came in. Suddenly, my little ac had a small bladder. The hotter it got, the more it had to pee as well.
Technically, the ac actually had a small basin that collected water droplets and needed to be emptied frequently, especially in the humidity. But how else do you explain it when I got up in the middle of the night and my ac had shut down, looking pathetic and in major need. I emptied myself, and emptied my ac. It really had to go and actually had an accident on my bedroom floor. But water free, we both settled down to try to rest.
Two hours later, I was up again. Getting out of bed, I saw my ac looking agitated and miserable. It was almost as though it was saying “Yvonne, wait for me! I have to go too, really, really bad!” This continued throughout the heat wave; relieve myself, relieve the ac, rest briefly, repeat.
During that horrible week my ac and I grew closer than I ever thought possible with any of the dogs I tried to drag home. And with the comfort it offered when I was an achy, miserable mess, I realized the experts are right. Pets do help promote healing!
About the author: Yvonne deSousa was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis in 2009. Yvonne created her blog designed to help those with chronic illness laugh amid tears. Yvonne also enjoys writing about Cape Cod history and has been published on Cape Women Online and in the Provincetown Banner, and Cape Cod Times. Visit Yvonne online at YvonnedeSousa.com or Yvonne deSousa on Facebook.