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. 

I’m prepared to invite a new Maine Coon in this home. I need her here very shortly after my best girl Mary Jane dies. I will keep a savings fund for the new MC which I hope to have full blooded. I’m looking for a 4 year old female, spayed, litter box trained, not destructive with her claws to live out her days as an inside cat only. The only color objections are full tortoiseshell and solid white.

So I have decided that I will not get a dog but I know plenty of people with dogs that can bring one here, or I can go visit them. But I tell you, there’s wonderful healing as I hold my cat in my arms or on my lap and listen to her purr. I know she’s my best furry buddy as she excitedly walks beside me down the hallway. My girl greets me when I come home. She patiently waits outside the restroom and stays beside me from room to room.

Mary Jane is full of life with a bit of mischief and an abundance of love. Her breed makes her easily trainable. Her breed is the perfect match for a dog lover.

Sadly, two of my firebelly toads have died. I worried about one the day I brought her home. She grew a little but then passed. The Beast hasn’t passed yet but I suspect he will. He’s bloated, more than likely a blockage. I’m giving him warm baths right now in hopes of getting him to use the restroom. I put him in a different enclosure with warmer water in hopes of getting him to use the restroom. The only healthy firebelly I have is the a single female whose name I can never remember. Rice is the tiny one that died. Steve ‘the Beast’ Austin is the big male whose “full of it” and stopped up and may very well pass. Two more females with the surviving female is desirable. 

I’m 100% certain that I will get another Main Coon after Mary Jane passes. Mary Jane is 15 years old with minimal signs of slowing down, but the reality is, she’s a senior. I need to start saving now for my next forever feline prize.


Frogs, ducks, cats and friends make me smile, but not in that order. To complete the upturn, let the steam whistle then pour me a cuppa. 


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