There are two people in my medical team who feel I'd do better with a small dog as a service animal. For several months this has been on my mind. Weighing my options, assessing my needs and considering my financial situation, I've decided against getting a dog.
I'm a dog person. I love their noses and their wagging tails. I love their fierce loyalty and the look they give you with those big browns. They celebrate every time you come home. They're constantly happy and are all around good company. I'm first and foremost a dog person, but honestly, I'm not in the situation to get one.
What's the next best thing? A Maine Coon. In the state of Indiana, a service animal can be a cat or a dog. I've heard of doctors writing letters to a landlord expressing the therapeutic value of birds. My next cat will hold the same legally protected status as a service animal. No pet fees, no extra charge on rent.
I think a lot about the qualities of my Maine Coon mix and see the best of both worlds. Last night's hell solidified the decision not to get a dog but to get an MC that sleeps above my head and purrs in my ear as I try to survive the night. At one point she moved to my side and snuggled close. It did hurt, but so did everything else. It was soothing and helped me cope better with the knowledge I wasn't alone.
I am terrified of the pain my body goes through. It'll spasm hard for maybe 30 seconds then gradually let go. It sometimes partially spasms as it lets go then it'll totally release only to restart 5 or 6 minutes later. The muscles quiver and spam. I try to remember to breathe with my diaphragm. I was instructed to inhale and fill my stomach, hold just a few seconds then slowly exhale. I've been fortunate in having so much physical therapy bc I've taken bits and pieces to add to what is now a wealth of coping skills for physical pain. Despite being terrified, I have a sense of control by knowing and using coping skills specific to my needs. ...continue reading "Dogs, cats, frogs. Working with what I’ve got."