The Mighty Logo

How My Therapy Pet Helps Me Cope With My Crohn’s Disease

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

After being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the young age of 9, I was given two choices: See a psychiatrist or get a therapy pet. At the time, my mom was strictly against all animals, especially animals in the house, so I went to my first appointment with a psychiatrist.

The appointment was a total bust.

I am quiet as it is, and I don’t like to talk about things that upset me, so I didn’t see myself opening up to a psychiatrist. I didn’t get a pet, and I didn’t go back to counseling. I attempted to cope on my own.

Fast forward five years, I wasn’t in remission and was falling deep into depression and overwhelmed with anxiety. I was so overwhelmed and didn’t know how I was going to continue to cope with my disease on my own.

Then I met Nina.

I am beyond thankful that Nina came into my life when she did. Nina is a border collie, and I am convinced she has a motherly instinct when it comes to me. She can sense I am going to have a flare days before it happens. She helps me with daily tasks, such as walking down the steps, she stays at my side, she listens to me when I am upset and she is honestly my best friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better dog.

If I could say anything to friends with a chronic illness, it would be to get a therapy pet. The joy Nina has brought me cannot be matched. She’s increased my physical activity because it’s important for her to walk daily. She helps me cope with my disease, she’s shown me what a true companion is and she’s taught me more about friendship than any friend I’ve ever had.

My therapy pet not only saved my life, but she continues to make my life better.

Originally published: September 19, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home