When My Dog Comforts Me on the Rough Days With My Lyme Disease


This morning I sat outside for a few minutes, enjoying the gentle breeze and shade on the steps outside my backdoor. My dog, Tooka, was loving every minute. She busily pranced around the yard, trying to breathe in all of the scents and sounds of the simple backyard world around us.

This pup has brought so much sunshine to my life since we brought her home over a year ago. Our friendship seemed meant to be. She spent long days home alone after her previous owner passed suddenly. I was home alone fighting illness and navigating my own loss of normalcy and health in life. Now we spend our days together, often sharing the couch on my harder days.

As we both sat outside enjoying a few minutes of fresh air and a bird singing nearby, I watched her simple contentedness. Sniffing the air and everything around the yard, she pranced back and forth along the walkway, and then back to lie next to me on the steps. Oh to be a pup, where life is all about play, sleep and eat, am I right?

Dog sitting and looking happy at home

Yet, in the midst of the simplicity, I see in her life as a dog, she is unwavering in her role as companion. It’s really not all about play, sleep and eat for her. If I’m having a worse-than-normal day with this disease, she can usually be found within a foot of me at all times. “Shadow” is one of her many nicknames, as is “nurse Tooka.”

On my way to the bathroom? She’ll wait outside the door. Moving from couch to bed? She relocates, too. Filling my glass with water? She follows, though I think in this case she’s actually hoping for some food to fall from the refrigerator… minor details.

Then there are the moments when my emotions and the weight of living with Lyme disease become too much and a meltdown occurs. My voice cracks, tears begin to flow and within seconds she is up from her bed and right over to comfort, even if just to sit at my feet. Or lick them. Or lay her head in my lap. Anything that involves being close enough to be touching me so I know: she’s there.

I know not everyone is a dog person, or an animal person for that matter. I get that some might not be able to understand why I love this furry four-legged cutie so much. Or post as many photos of her as I do on Instagram. Yet, next to my husband, she’s become my “person” at home and a regular dose of therapy for me.

She’s my snuggle buddy on the rough days and weeks when Lyme keeps me bedridden.

Dog lying on yellow, blue and white blanket

My comforter when words won’t cut it.

Dog laying head on owner's lap

A never-ending source of humor. This dog’s personality is the best. She can always make me smile.

Woman lying on floor with her dog nuzzling her cheek

So here’s to Tooka and the many other pets who have stood patiently by their owners as they’ve fought disease and the weight of the hard in this life. The comfort, laughter and joy they bring to our darkest days don’t go unnoticed.

Follow this journey on Living Grace.

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