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Why My Pet Does What No Pill Can Do for My Chronic Pain

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Depression is common among those who struggle with various chronic pain disorders. In my case, with Dercum’s disease, pain care doesn’t help me. I’m always with a pain level of 7 — at least. While pets can be comforting, I am unable to enjoy even a small lap dog, because the weight of even the tiniest dog is too much. It seems like more and more, people with chronic pain and depression or anxiety are finding comfort in aviaries and bird ownership.

Taz and the author near a christmas tree

So, after doing my homework (since different species are best for different circumstances), I decided to get Taz, my one-year-old Goffin’s cockatoo. His presence is such a comfort and helps me calm my nerves and feel joy again. Taz is so light weight, it doesn’t hurt when he’s on me. Loving and caring for him gives my life loose structure. When the rest of world doesn’t understand who I am as a person, under all this pain, he does. No pill can do that for me. So when the pain is hitting a pain level of 9, he sits on my shoulder with his head against my face and I stroke his head as he snuggles. Suddenly, my pulse slows down, my breathing regulates, and some of the edge of the pain is removed as I find a quiet spot in my head. Again, no pill can do that for me.

The point is, chronic rare disorders like Dercum’s disease, as well as some more common diagnoses, require we think outside the box in any legal way possible in order to find comfort. As a reminder, if it involves an animal, please be aware they deserve a happy life as well. You have to be in it together for each other.  Below is a poem I wrote, expressing what bird therapy has done for me. close-up of Taz, the cockatoo

Feathered Wings Give What I Seek

My gentle bird, a Goffin be,
With a trust unspoken gently
He leans for comfort and some sleep
He  finds my pain they can not treat
And dulls it with his gentle beak.
The rhythm of our shared breaths.
Brings me peace away from death.

Doctors can’t always find their way
with pills or more bills I pay.
Inside my head I go so deep
on feathers and a caring beak.
It’s then I live above the pain.
The pain is dulled and I refrain
from panic and a worried mind.

I suffer less and it reminds
me of days when life had ease.
No pains knife or “the beast”
The pain is there but seems less.
I find joy and why I’m blessed..
As I care for Taz, pain refused.
No despair, but life renewed.
And twinkle twinkle little babe.
You make me laugh every day.
A clown, you are the smile I have.
My life seems better, not as sad.

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Getty Images photo via fona2

Originally published: January 4, 2018
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