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Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

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Old 12-14-2007, 02:13 AM   #1
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Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

How many of you out there have pets and how do they help you deal with your pain?

I grew up with lots of animals. My mom would bring home every stray she could find.... my mom...and let me keep any critter I found outside(bugs and snakes and all) in my room. That was the best genetic trait she passed down to me! It wasn't long before my siblings and I were old enough to start bringing home the strays so she didn't have to.

When my hubby and I were first married we had at least three cats and two or three dogs and a ferret sleeping in bed with us every night. He grew up in a family that raised bunnies for meat. There was no such thing as a 'pet'. The dog was chained outside and was there to bark at intruders to the property and the cat was there to kill mice. They had to work for their food and god forbid one of them ever set foot inside the house!!!! My point here is my hubby was converted!! He soon found out this was one point I could not compromise on!!!

I was without a dog once for two years when we moved to the area we're in now. We had to move for work and had to give up my beautiful Dalmatian show dog and my obedience and herding tested sheltie. I'm going to cry just talking about it. Anyway, we were renting pets.
We moved after 9/11 and I didn't realize how depressed I was until my hubby bought me a new sheltie puppy. He's a moose! We call him a 'shollie' because he looks like a sheltie but he's the size of a collie. He is so loyal. He is definitely MY dog. I can't even go to the bathroom alone! But, he is also so easy to train. That's one reason I've always liked herding dogs...they're easy to teach and they love to have 'jobs'.

I've always had big dogs and never really like little dogs...yippy, yappy...etc.
Then my hubby bought me two chihuahua puppies last winter. He always knows when I'm depressed before I do. We are now total chi converts. It's so funny to see my 200lb. huge hubby with my little, tiny, 3lb Daisy!!! And it's hilarious to see him talk "baby talk" to her.

OK NOW TO THE WHOLE POINT OF MY POST!!! Sorry, it took so long to get here but, you know, it's almost 2am and I can't sleep so I'l ramble on and on...

Do you guys have pets and do they help with your pain and/or depression??
My hubby had a bass in our fish tank and he loved that fish to death and said that it relaxed him and relieved stress just to sit and watch him swim back and forth in that tank. Now we have our dogs to cheer us. I've read articles about how pets lower your blood hubby has this problem, too.
I do know that when I'm sick and they curl up in bed with me I instantly feel a little bit better. My sheltie always seems to know when I'm not feeling well and is extra gentle with me and the chihuahua's make me laugh and cheer me up. My little Daisy has the cutest little bark you can't help to laugh when she growls or barks because she thinks she is so tough when, in fact, she is afraid of her own shadow....literally...she has run from her shadow!!!!!

If nothing else I have found that pets are a great distraction...they can take your mind away from your pain for a brief moment. When your pain is above a 5 on the pain scale any brief moment is a blessing. Right??

Please share your pet stories as this will distract us from the stress of the hoiday season... if only for a moment. Sorry for the length of this post...if you're still with me thanks for your input. Take care.~Mush
undiagnosed lung and back pain after pneumonia in '03, tmj, migraines,(two failed surgeries for) Kienbock's disease

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Old 12-14-2007, 03:19 AM   #2
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

*claps* Mush, I am so HAPPY you posted this topic. I have a doxi puppy that is now almost 9 months old. I got him on mother's day from Hubby. We too have a 14 year old sheltie. Both are the best pets you could ask for.

The reason I got my doxi is becuase I had an emergency 2 Level fusion L5/S1 and L3/L4 on March 9th after my original surgery collapsed inward causing CES. Went in at 7pm that night for the surgery. Got out on my daughter's 21st birthday on the 13th. Well, we (daughter, mom and I) were supposed to go to Las Vegas for Spring Break (I teach College, and she is in College). My spring break happend the week after my were bought, and it was her 21st birthday present. Needless to say that trip was postponed...LOL. Anyhoo, my daughter had been wanting to get a "guard dog" for when she moved "AWAY, AWAY" to college...she had been living in a dorm at Comm. College about 45 min from home and would be moving into an apt when she moved off to go to University.

Hubbs and I caved and let her pick out her "guard dog". She picked a doxi, and not only that she picked the runt of the litter. Because she was still finishing up the Semester, of course Mom had to take care of the pup. OMg, I fell in love with him. When I realized, and my hubbs realized how much I loved him, and that DD was moving and taking the puppy with her, (THE NERVE...LOL) he got one for me for Mother's day.

Those two puppies spent the entire Summer in the bed with me recovering. I know what you mean about not being able to go to the bathroom alone...cuz I can't either.

I really believe that the pups helped in my recovery....I walked them faithfully, sometimes too much. My puppy is DEDICATED to ME.... The sheltie no longer sleeps with us because she is too arthritic and can no longer jump up and down from the bed, but there was a time when it was the hubbs, two doxies, and a Sheltie in my bed! LOL....

Now it's just me and the hubbs and my Beau the doxie!! My doxie has such a personality too. He loves his clothes.... and if he is not wearing SOMETHING, anything, he will go find something to put's hilarious. Yes, call me crazy, but when they were small, they were both SO tiny, and doxies are prone to get cold, so I put doggie shirts and sweaters on them...

We also have two snakes and two turtles that we hatched (hubbs found the eggs in the compost pile) and a cat that has recently adopted us, though we make her stay outside...... so our family sounds a LOT like yours.

When shopping this year for Christmas...the pets were on the list, just like the rest of my family!!

Sorry for the LONG read...but it makes me feel SO GOOD talking about my pets!! Thanks for starting this thread!!

PS: Just got new tens unit I'm getting used to that and I think I like it!!! So far!!
\lm/ = "I Love You" in Sign Language

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06-07 In Pain Mgmt. trying to deal
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:15 AM   #3
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

Yes, I have a cat that I took in when she was a kitten. She has no tail and is small, I think she was the runt, and someone left her out in the cold beside my brothers dog pen. My sister-in-law asked me if I would take her in because she has a bird. She was scared that when she got older she would get after the bird. I have had her for 2 yrs now and love her to death and she keeps me company while my husband works and my daughter is in school. She loves the Christmas tree and plays in it all the time and lays underneath to get a nap. She is full of life and loves to chase bubble gum, the super bubble kind, she will run and jump up in the air to catch it. She is just so playful and loves for you to play with her. She also like to chase pixie sticks and open them up and spill out the contents. I would be lost without her.

Old 12-14-2007, 10:08 AM   #4
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

Hi All,

I have 3 cats and they are part of the family!! I've always grown up with pets. My pain and surgeries started when I was 9 yrs. old. So, guess who was home with me most of the time during the day while my parents pets!! I always had dogs when I was young. They were and still are so much comfort to me.

Now, I have cats. My cats literally lay on my blanket that I'm covered up with when I'm feeling especially bad. Somehow, they know I don't feel well. They are so comforting to me!! Just hearing them purr (and boy, can they purr loudly) eases my anxiety and depression. I'm here all day by myself, except for my pets, because my husband works all day. They really are like our children, since we can't have any kids. I had a total hysterectomy at age 18, now 36.

Just thinking about their little faces and the fur balls that they are, just makes me grin from ear to ear!! What a great post!!

I do have a bit of a funny story to tell real quick. When we got our latest cat (kitten back then we rescued) she's a himalayan (big fur ball with stunning blue eyes) I had here wrapped in a blanket. Well, we stopped by the store and I brought her in wrapped up like a baby.

This nice woman came over to see the "baby" and when I unwrapped her, the woman about fell over in shock!! She wasn't expecting a kitten in the blanket. It was soooo funny!! Guess you just had to be there. I will never forget that and that was almost 6 years ago. Take care and bye for now!!

Last edited by friendly_one; 12-14-2007 at 10:10 AM. Reason: add info

Old 12-14-2007, 11:07 AM   #5
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

What a great idea for a post!
I have a mutt (sheltie or Australian shepherd mix) that I got as a puppy right before my ankle fusion. He and I bonded right away as I was home for 3 months.
He used to lay on the floor right by the couch and would always be between me and whoever else was in the room. Also whenever I would get up and walk with my crutches he would escort me wherever I was going.
He is the greatest distraction when I am hurting. He always knows when it is the worste. That is when he snuggles up again just like he did when he was a puppy. He also knows when to be super careful around my leg/foot. I don't even have to tell him. He just stays away from that part of my body when I am on the couch.
He also helped me last year by keeping my little girl busy. They play together very well. As a matter of fact, last night I could hear someone singing off in the distance. I looked into the dining room and saw my daughter with the dog laying underneath the buffet. She was singing Silent Night to him just like she was singing a baby to sleep. The dog couldn't help, but start to doze... It was just too cute!
I have been known to say - What did I ever do before kids and pets???? They are both such a great way to get your mind off your troubles. I am very grateful I have such a great dog as a part of my wonderful family.
Thanks for starting this post!

Old 12-14-2007, 12:40 PM   #6
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

I gave in to my son and some friends after my wife passed away and got a Jack Russel terrorist. I figured rescuing a 9 yr. old wouldn't be so bad, already house broke etc. I can say he's been a distraction. But, he has also cost me hundreds of dollars in vet bills. The back yard is all torn up, he digs after moles but never catches any. My house is constantly covered with dog hair. He doesn't give a hoot if my pain is a 2 or 8. He still wants to be catered to. I'm just thankfull he already spent most his life, just a few to go then no more pets! Fred

Old 12-14-2007, 01:53 PM   #7
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

I can say that my pets have been a wonderful distraction. I recently lost my one cat who was a Burmese/Siamese. I never figured out which one and possibly he was a mix. He was around 11 years old. I have another cat (Jasmine) and she is a Siamese. She just turned 12 years old. She has really been a joy and comfort to me. I would have to say that if it were not for my two cats that I probably would not be here. They were all that I had a couple of years ago after my wife left me and I was going through multiple surgeries on my foot. It really tore me up when Simon died but at least I got to be there and the vet allowed me to hold him when she gave him the injection. I am starting to tear up just thinking about it.

My ex-girlfriend rescued a mini fox terrier and left me with him. I didn't really like him at all in the beginning but he has grown on me and I am glad that I have him now. At least I have to get out of the house even when I am super depressed and hurting to walk him. I did get a chain but he hates to be on it and I guess hates to be alone. So every night him and Jasmine are in bed with me and they both get along pretty well. They both know when I am hurting bad although Jasmine is a bit more sympathetic and gentle. Jake is extermely hyper and a big spas but I love him anyways. I think its wonderful that our pets love us unconditionally no matter what. I am glad that God created animals to give us great joy and comfort.


Old 12-14-2007, 02:16 PM   #8
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

Thanks again for the great topic although as I am writing this Dr. Phil is talking to a lady who thinks her dog is a person. We have no children so our dogs are like our children although yes, we know they are dogs. I was raised with boxers and we have kept with the breed. Right now we have 4. 2 of them we raised from puppies and 2 we took in from Boxer Rescue. I have always loved my dogs, but since I have been on disability and home all day, these guys are my best friends. They always know when I am not feeling good and cuddle up with me on those days. As one of them is just over a year old, we laugh at her antics. Two of the females get to playing together and they can play for hours and we watch and laugh.

They have also helped me to stay active. They have to go out so even if I feel horribe I have to take them out and then I usually run into a neighbor even if it's just to wave hello, I feel better for having socialized.

I can't even imagine not having them and they have helped me tremendously.


Old 12-14-2007, 02:42 PM   #9
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

I agree that this is a wonderful topic! I have never had a pet that was not a stray. I used to get in soooo much trouble as little girl for bringing them home! I live with my mother-in-law until I and my fiancee close on a house. Well....I found a stray cat. My MIL was NOT happy, but I vowed to keep her "the cat" from bothering her. She is an outside cat and loves to hunt. I actually like it when it's cold because I get a good excuse to bring her inside. She has been with us for over a year and she still doesn't have a name! She's just "Cat." I love her. When I am upset, she sits on my lap and just petting her and hearing her purr makes me happy and calm.

I'm letting her in tonight!

Great thread! Thanks so much!


Old 12-14-2007, 03:21 PM   #10
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

Hi Mush & others - Great Topic!! I was raised with larger dogs...mostly German Shepards, a Collie and a Newfoundland (not all at the same time!). But when my daughter was little and we were living in rental properties we weren't allowed to have dogs and we really weren't supposed to have cats either. But I would somehow find a way to sneak a kitty into whatever place we were living in at the time and I quickly became a cat person. Currently I have 2 cats. I had 3 but my oldest cat died a few years ago. I can honestly say that since I've been a chronic pain sufferer (for about 10 years now) I find great comfort in my kitties. The more isolated I've become because of my illness, the less contact I have with people. I find myself carrying on most of my daily conversations with my cats!! Of course, they don't answer so I'm not totally wacky yet! The cats also serve another purpose - they are one of the main reasons that I "show up for life" on a daily basis. My husband could and would feed them and change their litter if I absolutely couldn't, but because I know they need me to take care of them I get up and out of bed each morning. Just writing that last sentence makes me realize what a sad life I have and how depressed I am lately. Anyway, just petting my cats and interacting with them makes me feel better. I don't know if it lowers my pain scores but it does have a calming effect on me. Lately I've been debating about getting another kitty - I'd love to have a Maine Coon cat, but the realization that I'm 52 years old with some serious disease processes going on makes me uncertain about bringing another animal into the house. My last cat lived for 16 years! If any of my cats live for more than 10 years from today, they may end up living longer than I do. How can I even think about leaving them behind? So for now I'm just going to love the 2 that I have. Thanks for the topic Mush!! Memere (K'Mac)

Old 12-15-2007, 12:09 AM   #11
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

For some reason there seems to be a ton of stray cats in my neighborhood. I leave food and water out for them, one of them walked right into my house once when I went out to check the mail. I am so that cat lady! I had to buy a collar with a bell for my own cat so I could tell it was her outside and not some random stray. Her name is Miss Kitty Fantastico, she comes in and out as she pleases. I've had her since I was like 13 she is sooooo sweet and snuggly and has infinate patience when my son is poking at her because he loves his "kit cat" I've never seen a more protective cat, she runs into the room when he cries and rubs her head on his. There is just something about having a furry little creature that loves you unconditionally snuggle up to you that can just change your mood and make you feel so much better.

Old 12-15-2007, 09:20 PM   #12
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

Animals - don't you love the fact that they don't talk back to you??

I have two Bichon Fries and let's just say that my Angel is definitely my dog. She is by my side 24/7. When I had surgery recently and was at the hospital she laid on the back of the couch looking out the picture window from morning til night looking for me. She did not eat for 4 days and when I came home she did nothing but bark at me and jumped up on the bed to lay down next to me. She has been at my side since for the last 2 weeks and only leaves my side to go outside. She is one amazing dog and I could not imagine not having her next to me and waking up to that tail wagging and hitting my side. I swear she smiles at me!!

And then I have Beau who is the remainder of the famiilies dog until it is bedtime then he snuggles up next to me until the family wakes up in the morning then he is ready to play and eat that tiny crumb the children drop on the floor.

I thank GOD everyday for my animals and you my cyber friends. I don't know how I could make it without you both -- this chronic pain is very depressing and lonely.

Old 12-15-2007, 10:36 PM   #13
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

WOW! Reading all of your posts just brought the biggest smile to my face!
Step, my sheltie does the same thing...lays at my feet and between me and everyone else. I'm constantly stepping on him when I get up off the couch.
You'd think that I'd remember he was there.

As I write this my little Daisy is on my lap. She just came into heat for the first time and is not enjoying her little denim diaper. The things we put up with.
My sister in law actually told my brother that she was worried about my hubby and I...we have little dogs and next comes the matching track suits!!!

I wish we could post pictures so I could see all of your family members.

I once had a cat named Tink that was a stray. She was the most beautiful dilute calico. A week after we moved to the country she was kicked in the face by a horse. She had a severely broken jaw. When the vet saw me hobble in on crutches(had torn ligaments in my ankle) blubbering about how I was a poor college student he wired her jaw shut and hand fed her at his house for a month FOR FREE until she was well enough to come home. She lived the rest of her life with only one eye open and her ears sticking straight out from the sides of her head! She was hard of hearing and had petit mal seizures but to me she was the most beautiful and special cat in the whole world!!
None of the cats I've had since have even come close.

Sorry to keep rambling but nothing distracts me from my pain like the love of my pets.

Please keep the stories coming....Mush
undiagnosed lung and back pain after pneumonia in '03, tmj, migraines,(two failed surgeries for) Kienbock's disease

Old 12-17-2007, 07:58 PM   #14
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

I grew up with a stray cat we got in Scotland! then it was a weiner dog for 16 years. then came my adult life, back problems and my cats!! AT my house ther is Magic cat ( love, love, love him ), owen aka owie: Found him 6 weeks after L4 -S1 fusion. He was a bag of bones and sooo scared! Now he looks like a tank! Number 3, another stray ( who adopted me ) 3 months ago!!! Don't know what I am going to do here!! I really did not want all these animals ( bending is not my strong point ) but all these guys have is just me!! And I won't be putting them out ( like others did ). They love me no matter how I feel, or what I look like, or even how bad my attitude is that day!! I never sleep alone, I always have someone to talk too, someone to comfort me, most of all always be there. I just love these little guys!! Even though I complain about them, would not trade them. Just my 2 cents.

Old 12-18-2007, 06:40 PM   #15
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Re: Do you have pets and do they help with your pain?

My black lab Emmett is my constant companion. He always knows when I am having a bad day, and he lays his head in my lap and sighs, I think he knows when I am in pain and he wants to make sure he's always there to comfort me.

Pets are so great for pain patients, they help with depression, high blood pressure, and can get us out of the house for a while when nothing else would.

Great thread, so nice to hear about everyone's fur babies!

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