Being a Pet Owner Can Help With Multiple Sclerosis

Pets can help with MS

Is Having A Pet and Positive or Hindrance With Your MS?

I have seen several articles where people have written about the love and strength their pets have given them while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Honestly, my pet, a 2 year old German Shepard named Schultz, does plenty to keep me active and in a positive frame of mind. It is funny that he senses when I’m not doing as well as I would like and his personality takes on a whole new perspective. Normally he is very gentle and never really took an active puppy approach to things like chewing on furniture and being extremely hyper, but on my not so good days, he becomes extremely sedated and loving, wanting to be close by me at all times.

Most days he wakes up excited to see both my husband and me and wants the love right off the bat. Having the same routine each day calms him so we try very hard to do the same things at the same time and order every morning. We take a 2 mile walk by 7 am each day that does us both good by getting the much needed exercise. I use this time to say my morning prayer and meditation which clears my head and puts me a positive frame of mind. It is amazing on the mornings where it is raining or the weather doesn’t permit the walk how my day just doesn’t seem to go as good; and it also affects him and his mood the same way. With it being summer time, walking that early is good before it gets too hot and causing me problems. Some people have said that dogs can’t smile, but if you could see my Schultz after his walk, you would believe that they actually can smile. Of course he keeps a close eye on me during the day keeping himself in the same room which I may be working. Periodically, if I am just sitting around, he will bring his ball and drop it in my lap, then sits and stares at me until I stop what I am doing to play with him. His ball is his favorite toy which is a tennis ball and it lifts his spirits for me to take 2 of them outside and throw them so he can run and catch them. If the weather doesn’t permit this then it becomes a tug of war game. There are times during the day when he will just come put his head in my lap and wants me to love and just plain talk to him.

I am sure all of you who have pets no matter what type they are can share about the same type of stories that I just have. A pet provides unconditional love, relieves stress, knows when you are in a bad mood, and can also pick up on when an illness is present. More often than not, they can put a smile on your face or even make you laugh just by doing simple things. Pets do keep you active just by caring for them and accept you as you are, providing you with companionship around the clock if home bound. They become as important as any friendship and for many of us, ARE family. I have witness people suffering from loneliness and thus worsening from an illness or condition improve when a pet have been given to them to care for. Some dogs have been even carried to hospitals to lift spirits of sick children and to Long Term Facilities to aide with depression in elderly adults. It seems the positive outweighs the negative by being a pet owner. With all great things that a pet can provide I urge you to remember that some pets require a lot more care than others and if you are thinking about becoming an owner to one, that you give a great deal of thought of what type would actually be good for you. There are expenses that come with owning a pet, with some being more expensive than others, so I urge you to consider this when choosing a type. It is important that we provide them the best care we can with all the things that they for us. Hopefully all of you who are pet owners are as lucky as I am by having my sweet 100 pound baby, Schultz.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.