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

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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.

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Originally published: January 17, 2018
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