It’s been a little serious around here lately, so I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there to tell you…wait, where was I? (If you didn’t catch that last one, you are clearly not a child of the 90s. It saddens me, but I forgive you!) For real though, they say laughter is the best medicine, so let’s lighten it up a bit. Here are the 10 reasons life with chronic illness/pain is better with pets (brought to you by Kitteh and The Monster).
- You are NEVER alone
Seriously….my dog even wants to come to the bathroom with me. I will totally take this overbearing excitement about what I’m doing at every moment in return for a companion on those days when I’m just not getting out of bed or off the couch.
- They Make You Laugh!
I’ve tried really hard to take life over-seriously. Trust me, it’s just about impossible when your puppy is carrying around your underwear, or your cat is joining your FaceTime (see item 1).
- They Give You Trivial Things to be Mad About!
Ok, you’re in a funk. Not even your pet’s latest antics can make you crack. I get it, I have those days too, when it’s all too much. At least your dog ate your iPhone cord. You think I’m kidding but I’m not. I’d much rather be mad because the dog ate the iPhone cord or because the cat refuses to move than focus on the fact that I’m probably really just frustrated about the way I feel. Not particularly healthy, but sometimes you just have to go with what works in the moment.
- They Make You Get Outside.
Even on those days where I feel like I am glued to the couch, I will take my dog out if she asks nicely (by which I mean being totally obnoxious). It’s true, I’ve fallen while taking the dog out before, but I ALWAYS enjoy the brief exposure to sunlight and cool breeze on a nice day. For me, that’s worth the risk. It also leads into the next item…
- They Make You Stop and Appreciate the Little Things
My dog is intrigued by bugs, and for my cat hair ties may as well be a form of currency. When I see The Monster chasing down yet another bug, her tail the picture of happy, or when I find Kitteh’s latest stash, it always makes me smile. More than that though, it reminds me that it doesn’t take a lot to make a person (or a furry animal) happy.
- This Should Probably Go Without Saying – They are Cute!
Sometimes the cuteness of my pets is overwhelming. It’s a great distraction from the pain.
- They Encourage You to Talk to Others.
So, I don’t know about you, but on bad days I get a little bit anti-social. It’s not because I don’t want to talk to people, it’s just that the pain is overwhelming, or I don’t want to have to lie about being okay. I have met a lot more of my neighbors in the time since we got our puppy in September. Even with my husband, J, I talk more often on bad days when the pets are around.
- They Bring Out Your Inner Child.
Like kids, pets need playtime. And they look at you with really pathetic faces if you tell them you’re too sick. They don’t care, and sometimes they make you stop caring too.
- They Give You a Sense of Importance
When you have a chronic illness you often feel guilty about the limited number of things you can do to contribute to the household. Your pets need you to survive and rely on you. Taking care of them can give some sense of purpose on days when you’re feeling a bit worthless.
- They Love You Unconditionally
Your pets do not care about your abilities or disabilities. They do not care whether or not you are able to work. EVERY SINGLE TIME you walk into the room, they are happy to see you. That’s powerful for someone who often feels like they are disappointing others because of their illness or pain. It gives you ALL THE FEELS!