I want to wish my sweet dogs a very happy birthday today. I truly cannot thank these girls enough for all they have done for me.
April 6, 2011 was the day we got Holli, just three weeks after my chocolate lab Kassie passed. I wasn’t even two months out of my first surgery of the year- my last kock pouch surgery. After spending six weeks following the surgery with a tube in my stomach, I was so looking forward to getting back to my life. But after this surgery, I was different emotionally. I was scared of something going wrong every moment of everyday. I had obviously experienced feelings like this before but this was the first time in the six years of living with a kock pouch that I was genuinely anxious all of the time. I was emotionally the worst I had been since I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in the year 2000. 2011
In addition, the nightmares I always had every once and a while about the recovery room and the hospital no longer only occurred sparatically. I was having those types of dreams every night, and some nights wouldn’t even sleep because of it.
After we got Holli, my parents needed to go away for a few nights for my brother’s college graduation and my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah. I wasn’t really in any position to go so I stayed home with Holli who was absolutely unbelievable. She layed in bed with me all day, resting her head on my chest which helps my anxiety more than meds sometimes. Slept with me every night and began waking me up from my nightmares. Wouldn’t bother me to eat early in the morning. It was amazing how much different I felt having her around. I was less afraid and if I began to feel panicky for some reason, just her being there made those feelings pretty much disappear.
In August 2011, my family and I got Phoebe who was just four months old at the time. This dog was the happiest thing I had ever seen in my entire life. There was no way you could look at her and not crack a smile. (If you check out my instagram, @rissylauren, I post tons of cute pictures/videos of her)
Phoebe provided the hope I so desperately needed after my second surgery of that year; losing my fight against having an ostomy
I was also given a sleep medication that was causing me to feel very suicidal along with other horrible side effects. It took many months before I figured out the reason behind those feelings. I didn’t understand it and to say I was afraid is a huge understatement. I didn’t think I would survive the year. I knew I wasn’t thrilled about what I was dealing with but I didn’t understand why all of a sudden I had no positive thoughts. I would constantly have periods of screaming at the top of my lungs, crying nonstop with no way to control any of my emotions. I would tell my parents all of the time that I felt like there was this black hole in me. The only thing that had a chance of calming me down was holli and phoebe. If there was anything that could reach me during this time, it was them.
As I look back on that period of my life, I honestly don’t know if I would still be here without them.
I know some people think dogs are just pets and humanizing them is pretty silly. I have always loved animals and I always grew up with dogs. It wasn’t until I got these dogs that I realized how essential they are in our lives. They saved my life. No exageration. They absolutely did. And I am so grateful to them.
Happy birthday my furhumans!