Having a lovable, furry friend in the household has proven time and again to be good for our health. They can lower our stress levels, help stave off feelings of loneliness and depression (particularly when you're sick and stuck in bed), and encourage us to get the requisite amount of physical activity we need each day to stay well.
Of course, I've known this for years. Being a pug owner even before I was diagnosed with lupus, it was evident that my pugs were going to be instrumental in seeing me through the best and worst of my days with lupus. I mean, wouldn't you be a happier, healthier patient if you saw this adorable face staring back at you each morning?
I ran across two articles recently that echo these sentiments - one from the LFA DMV, illustrating just how beneficial it can be to have a pet, and another from Guidepost Magazine, specifically about the special relationship a lupus patient has with her beloved dog.
For years, Darwin (and his brother, Henry, may he rest in peace) have proven to be this lupite's best companion. Pugs love to sleep, they prefer to saunter, and they love to snuggle. Everything a flaring lupus patient needs! I've blogged about this subject before, but I recently came across another aspect of my life with lupus where Darwin has stepped in to ease the pain - hair loss.
Much to my dismay, I've started another round of lupus hair loss. I knew it was coming, but expecting to lose your hair doesn't diminish the fact that you're still losing your hair. So far, it's been very gradual. Thankfully, no one can tell that I'm losing strands by the hour, but that time may come. And that's where Darwin stepped in to help.
He's been shedding a ton lately, so about a week ago, I decided to give him a good, thorough grooming. And the hair literally just fell right off. It came off in little tuffs, then big puffs, and before you knew it, he and I were surrounded by pug hair. It made my daily hair loss look somewhat reasonable by comparison, and I have to say, it made me feel better about my situation.
And you should see his face as he's being brushed. He loves the attention, and the massaging techniques I use to rustle up those loose hairs must feel wonderful, because he simply can't get enough. Again, it forces me to think of my hair loss as more of a final cathartic cleansing - symbolizing the end of my flare, rather than a traumatic loss of self. I'm not happy about it, of course, but a grooming session with Dar sure helped to soften the blow.