What my dogs do for me

When I came back to write this blog entry, I found both my dogs – the border terrier Kitty and the Chesapeake Bay retriever Trimper – sleeping under my desk. As I approached my chair, they both thumped their tails on the floor, wagging with delight. Just because I was around. If that’s not an ego boost, I don’t know what is.

As it happens, I’d already been having a great day. It was Mother’s Day, and I’d received thoughtful gifts and cards, a new hammock to try out later this afternoon, and the promise of a spareribs-and-corn-on-the-cob dinner, with a fire in the fire-pit afterward. We took Trimper to the river to play with his duck decoy. My husband even gave me little earrings featuring the smiling face of my favorite actor, James Franco.

Lots of people do nice things for me all the time. But sometimes I think my dogs do more than anyone to keep me healthy and happy. First, there’s that tail-wagging thing. On top of that, they give me an excuse to be outside and stay active, to maintain a schedule instead of lapsing into laziness, and help connect me with other people. Just being with them makes me feel calm (well, except when they’re naughty) and relaxed.

As this article suggests, scientists have repeatedly found that having pets can confer all kinds of health benefits on humans. The list is impressive: Pet ownership can help keep kids from developing allergies and grownups from maintaining high blood pressure. Pets can ease depression and stress.

Plus, pets are just plain fun to have around.

Tell me about your pets. Do you think they help keep you healthy?

3 Appreciate this
| Reply

Jennifer LaRue Huget, Blogger

Jennifer LaRue Huget was diagnosed with MS in 2001. A freelance writer and children's book author, she lives in Connecticut with her husband, two teenage kids, and two brown dogs. Her website is www.jenniferlaruehuget.com.

Leave a Comment

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the MSconnection.org community. Please note comments are moderated.


  • nordicma  May 16, 2014 2:21 PM
    I ADORE dogs! Grew up with a German shephard-collie mix. Read long ago of stories of people getting MS from their canine pets! Did you ever hear of this?

  • marsha   May 16, 2014 4:47 PM
    I have had MS for 46 years and always had cats and birds. I live in San Francisco and would love a dog. However, I cannot bend down and pick up their excrement. I ride a mobility scooter and thought I could find a tool that would do it. I haven't as yet. I also cannot take on vet bills and all the responsibilities that go with owning a dog.

    To the woman who has no appetite, there is one easy solution. Smoke marijuana. If you don't want to smoke I understand edibles will give you an appetite. Most neurologists will give you a prescription for medical marijuana. Besides an appetite, the herb will relieve a host of symptoms.
  • Sherry   May 16, 2014 10:28 PM
    Love how you said "tail wagging just because I'm there." I have two small rescues and they bring me more happiness and comfort than anything else in the world. Amazing the love an animal brings to the home. <3
  • Avatar
    refusetoquit  May 17, 2014 8:10 PM
    Jennifer that is great what animals do for our LIVES............i'VE HAD TO MOVE IN WITH MY PARENTS HELP (darn fingers), and added a dog and cat to their already 2 dogs and 4 cats and a parrott. It's great always having an understanding ear. Simplifying life and being 'in the moment' is something animals do well and we can learn around them.Time flies when an animal relies on you and vice versa.
  • Brenda14  May 17, 2014 10:23 PM
    The relationship with my kitty, Queenie, is very special. She allows me to rub her belly and she sleeps with me at night. We live alone together, and are good buddies. I adopted her last year when she was 7 years old. We are spending our retirements together. Have always had dogs and cats. They need us and we need them.
  • LAURIE GARVIN   May 19, 2014 2:29 PM
  • Karen Karas   May 20, 2014 3:26 PM
    I Jennifer, I have a Whippet, Ace, who is a hyper, silly clown that never ceases to amuse us. But my story is not about a dog, but a cat my daughter rescued while arranging a pitbull adoption in NY. This black/white cat "Buck" had been confined to a back room, apparently had attacked the girlfriend. Jamie is a cat lover and took him home to live with her other two cats. Bucky was a strange one..nice one minute..then a bite & scratch the next. He would get jealous whenever the dog or cats were talked to in a high, happy voice. No one talked to Bucky like that because you never knew what his intention was for coming up to you. I wore long sleeves to hide my scars to work. I told another cat lover at work that our pets are in their "forever" homes, and will never be abandoned. I decided to act happy whenever Bucky jumped up on the bed next to me...I petted his head, called him "My Baby" in a high happy voice... It worked, Bucky has decided that "i'm" his person, and follows me all around the house. My daughter fills my BetaSeron syringes for me as I have low vision..he is right by my side each time. She'll take him out of the bedroom & close the door so he won't touch the needle; he will sometimes attack her leg for that..but I let him in as soon as I'm done ( he's lucky she's also a Vet Tech who loves cats). He follows me into the bathroom, jumps on the vanity & purrs & rubs against my face, sometimes licking my face. He can be downstairs in the rec room, but as he hears me walking towards the bathroom, he Zooms like a black streak past me into the room waiting for me to get in. I didn't intend to be a Cat person, always loved dogs..but Bucky is my new Baby boy!
  • Melissa   May 20, 2014 3:26 PM
    My sweet Rosie does. We rescued her in Sept. 2012, she was on the list. She's been abused, found as a stray, but the didn't know for how long. She has some funny little quirks, but we loved her back to health. She always knows when I'm having a bad day and doesn't leave my side except to do her business and then comes right back.
    Like · Reply · 3 mins
  • Mary Lou Everhart   May 20, 2014 3:26 PM
    I loved your article about what your four legged family members give you! I have two cats but now I am at a point of needing a canine companion. My family and doctor both agree. I live alone but have family very close. I dearly love all animals and know a dog with only enrich my life. Thank you for your story!
  • Kelley   May 20, 2014 3:26 PM
    I do not know what I would do with out my fur babies!!! We just had to put down my oldest girl "Moxie" yellow Lab. Had her for the past 15 years and she has been through so much with me! That truly made a difference to have her by side! We have a 9 yr old gold retriever "Max" who I swear can understand every word I say to him! If he could talk ooo boy! Lol he has helped get through the sadness with Moxie, and has also helped me with my recent diagnosis of MS!! He helps me stay grounded and not to get so up set at everything and remember to just enjoy the little things like getting home from work and having that loving face greet you at the door and all those wet kissed! He is rock along side my husband! Max keeps me moving! We get out for walks every day and play in the back yard with his toys! I just wouldn't know how to live without a dog in my life for sure!
  • Judy   May 20, 2014 3:43 PM
    Our dog is a mix breed. His momma was a Snoodle and his daddy was a King Cavalier. He looks more like a poodle. He is very smart in sensing out when we don't feel good. And he quite often is sniffing my head (which of course is where my leisions are). When I am having an off day with my MS, he generally lays around with me. He makes me feel good knowing that he is right there by me! Plus, I can vent about my MS or anything to him and he don't sass back! ;)
  • Dena   May 20, 2014 3:45 PM
    My dog, a border collie never leaves my side. If I sleep late and my kids and husband are up, she will lay with me until I get up. She will not go out and play in the yard unless I go with her.
  • Denise   May 20, 2014 4:45 PM
    My Angel-Puppy, Fred,(he's 8) is my everything❤️ He is always at my side, be it on the couch, in the car, or "sharing" the queen-size bed with me😉.
    He makes ALL the difference....
  • Vadim   May 20, 2014 6:35 PM
    Yes, My basset hound helps me so much when I relapse, and even when I dont. I am 28 successful and single. when I was diagnosed in 2010 It was a really hard time for me. My girlfriend at the time broke it off, had to rent out my newly bought house not to loose it compleatly, and got my drivers license suspended. so all I had left was my family and my pup, and a few close friends It really showed me who was really there for me
  • Kathy Barbas   May 20, 2014 11:44 PM
    My dog Ben has been with me through some pretty awful life events.
    He was my source of joy and inspiration during my year long fight
    with Thyroid cancer. Now he's by my side bringing me love distraction
    and a solid reason to get up and fight my RRMS. Thank God
    for my handsome German Short hair Pointer Ben
    The best friend anyone could ask for.
  • Alexis   May 21, 2014 7:13 AM
    I was diagnosed 12 years ago and have wanted a dog my entire life. I've had and currently have a cat but he is decidedly not a dog.
    I'm still strong, mobile and feeling generally good. But anxiety about the impact on a dog when/if I deteriorate have kept me from getting a dog. After many months and lengthy discussions with my husband, and others close to me, I'm finally going for it. I filled out an adoption application last night. Fingers crossed I will finally get my dog!
  • Christine   May 21, 2014 7:51 AM
    I have a chessie also - I don't know what I'd do without her on the tough days. She makes it easier to enjoy the nice days too. And when it's tough and I want to leave the house - taking the dog for a short walk makes me feel good, it makes her happy, and I feel like I'm still doing my thing.
    Dogs for all!
  • brayman  Jun 28, 2014 2:22 PM
    I have MS live alone and my two dashounds emit and buddy are always there for me on good days and bad thank god for animals