Russell Fleming, Content Manager, ME Association.
We receive a lot of feedback about pets when we talk about them on social media. People with chronic illness especially seem to appreciate having a pet as a companion and this is true of people with M.E.
So, we thought for this month’s survey we’d ask about your pets and what you think are the benefits of having them. How do they help you manage your daily life? Do you need someone to help you with your pets needs?
If you'd like a pet but can't manage to care for one at the moment, or are unable to have one because of your health, then please let us know the kind of pet you wish you could have. You can still join in the conversation.
Please take part if you can and if you are fortunate to have a pet in your life now or have done in the past, share your stories and pet photographs on the ME Association's social media platforms.
We’d really love to hear from you!
I wish I could still have a dog
I wish I could still care for the dogs I used to share my life with. At one point during my 20 years with M.E. I was fortunate enough to spend time with two wonderful dogs – one black and one chocolate Labrador.
They lived in the New Forest where I happened to have been born, and during a period of relatively good convalescence I was able to go on limited walks with Mace and Harry and we had great fun, just generally messing about and getting into trouble.
Mace was the older, more well-trained, retriever. He was big and reliable but still loved playing. Harry arrived as a puppy, was untrainable and a complete but lovable contrast.
There are things you can say and share with dogs that you can’t always do with humans. I got a lot of comfort and understanding from my four-legged friends – we shared both good times and bad.
When times were rough, cuddling and crying with whatever dog happened to be near, or having them up on my bed, helped a great deal.
I have always had dogs in my life from a very young age. My first pet was a Boxer named Amber. She was a puppy when I was four. We spent a whole life together until I was seventeen. She was an amazing friend.
But I have been without my own dog for a very long time. My parents have a terrier, Coco, who visits but I am restricted now to some cold-water fish who swim in circles in a tank in my lounge.
I suppose they give me something to watch, something to do. They help take my mind off things and I can drift away. They’re also a pain to clean at times but I manage, and they seem healthy enough.
I don’t have a garden. I live in a really nice ground-floor flat, but I would want a large dog – a Labrador I think – and it wouldn’t be fair not to have a garden. I also couldn’t take him for walks and that wouldn’t be fair either on both of us I think.
So, for now, at least until my mobility and circumstances improve, I have to be content and spend my time with the fishes 😊
Image copyright: 123RF/Susan Richey-Schmitz/Mirosław Kijewski
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