How Having a Dog Has Helped Me Manage the Fire of Erythromelalgia


For months I had been searching for a dog. I already knew that I was going to name her “Mimis.” In Spanish, this is a term that translates to “nap” or “naptime.” I have always loved and cherished taking naps, and I thought it was the cutest little name. But, in 2016 I was diagnosed with a rare disease known as erythromelalgia (EM). This is a debilitating neurovascular disorder that usually causes burning and stinging pain in ones extremities. Before my diagnosis, I was debating whether to get a dog, but once I started feeling this horrible pain I thought, “I can’t even walk to the mailbox without crying. How would I walk a dog?”

Mimis wearing a flannel jacket and smiling

After experimenting with different medications, I finally found something that suppressed the pain. A month later, I got my new best friend, Mimis the Maltipoo.

Mimis is almost two years old and she has been a consistent joy and support in my life. She goes everywhere with me — she even went to work with me at my last job. My employer thought it would be a good idea to bring her to help manage my stress because stress can often lead to a flare. Little did I know that Mimis would actually help my co-workers more than me. I had co-workers come into my office and close the door and say I just need some Mimis time. She would sit in their lap and often try to lick their face or just stare at them with her big brown eyes. After a few moments of puppy therapy they would be smiling and say something like, “You make everything better, Mimis.”

Mimis loves to play fetch and run around, but when I am not feeling well she just sits with me. It is amazing how she knows how I am feeling and exactly how to comfort me. In the darkness of my thoughts she always finds me and brings me to the light. I have experienced depression, loneliness, and isolation, but Mimis always provides me with company when I am lonely, and always makes me smile when I am sad.

A dog’s unconditional love has helped me more than any medication on the market. I am truly writing this blog today just to say thanks to my little fur child, Mimis.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Erythromelalgia

Group of five peoples silhouettes in sunset light

The Young Warriors Who Live With Erythromelalgia

By Melissa Bogner EM advocate and blogger Imagine being told by a doctor that your child has a horrific syndrome – one that you have never heard of and one that will leave your child feeling  like they have been set on fire and  then left with second-degree burns. Where do you, the parent, begin? Can [...]
red feet

I Will Not Let Erythromelalgia Control My Life

By Kathy Duke Ritchie “While erythromelalgia is debilitating, I have learned to live with it!” I advocate for erythromelalgia A member of The EM Warriors Network Being born with mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) and lupus (SLE), I have lived with chronic pain all my life. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the agony [...]

To the Man Who Made Me Feel Beautiful Despite My Insecurities About My Rare Disease

It was about a year ago that I wrote my first article for The Mighty called “The Hardest Part of Dating With a Rare Disease.” The piece expressed my thoughts on the struggles of finding a significant other when you have a rare disease. Little did I know, just 12 months later, I would come across someone [...]
An long exposed photo, blurring a woman's face.

Why I Believe People With Rare Diseases Are So Easily Forgotten

When I was diagnosed with a rare disease called erythromelalgia (EM), I felt like my world as I knew it had ended… and to some degree, that is true. The condition causes painful, reddened skin that burns like a blazing fire – particularly in the hands and feet in my case. It’s brought on by anything [...]