One of the most important tools to survival with these diseases is having the right support and love with you as you battle the hardest fights that few people will ever appreciate. It is no surprise then that almost all autoimmunes have at least one companion animal, as they are some of the best sources of love and devotion on this planet.
I write this piece in recognition of all the little furry companions that I have ever had in my lifetime, but especially those I have had in my life since becoming deeply ill and disabled.
Their love, devotion, companionship, humour, loyalty, empathy and kindness has been beyond measure. They have given me reason to get up in the morning and reason to keep going year to year, more than anyone else on the planet; with the exception of my husband.
I really don’t know why the Autoimmune soul connects so deeply to our furry children but the answers must surely include the fact that no matter what we do, what we look like or how useless our bodies may feel to us, these furry angels never criticise, judge or stop loving us.
In my pain I have grumbled at them, ignored them and even cried my heart out in front of them but one look in their eyes and I can see that I am still loved by them just as I am; Unlike anyone else on the planet.
I often feel like such a failure as a fur mother because I can not run with them, play with them, exercise with them, groom them or provide them with anything close to a predictable day without the help of others, but from me they will get my last breath and my last penny and I hope that will be enough.
Many of us who are confined to beds or housebound would have very little companionship without the love and devotion of these angels, when almost all human beings have gone and given up on us these little darlings would never leave our side… Perhaps maybe for a moment to look out the window at the postman going past!
Their natures far exceeds that of human beings and I will freely admit that they are far better than I could ever even hope to be. Even when they steal my food or drink my tea!
The way they see the world and look at my husband and I reminds me of how we should all be; inquisitive and genuine.
The one down side to loving these angels is the complete and utter despair of losing them. I don’t think I shall ever overcome the pain of their lose and I don’t think I want to. I close my eyes and recall with absolute clarity each and every fur child I have had and lost. The pain winds it’s way through ever cell in my body. I have never grieved any human being as much as I have grieved these furry angels.
As a child they were my only companions, they were my siblings, they were my confidants. They were my allies and heroes. The period of my life without a companion animal were some of the hardest and loneliest times of my life. It is for this reason that I am adamant that I will never be placed in a care facility where animals are not welcome. Ever.
The current laws about the treatment and recognition of animals are grossly inadequate and I am sickened by a lot of what I see on the internet. However, I am also a member of dozens of animals lovers sites and not a day goes by when I don’t post some picture of my furries on social media and I am sure that all those who know me are well acquainted with my particular brand of animal madness.
My friends are treated to constant pictures or stories of my furries and I am sure even the most loyal friend is well and truly tired of my stories and endless references to my furry tribe. I don’t blame them.
However, like any true animal lover we are unapologetic and will freely admit that we love our furkids more than anything in this world. And it’s true. These are not just expressions or comical statements, I would absolutely die for anyone of them, Much the same way a mother would for her human child. They ARE my children and always will be. The only difference in my eyes is that unlike many other mothers out there I have had to mourn the loss of many of my children and be prepared to take pain of more in my lifetime.
One of my main goals and reasons for living at this point in my life is to be of service and to provide my husband and fur kids with whatever I can for as long as I can. This has seen me go through the hardest of times and the darkest of hours for over a decade now. I shower them with as much love and indulge them as much as I can without hesitation.
Thankfully this is a particular trait or characteristic I shared with my mother and at this time of my life I can recall how we both agreed that little animals give more than they take. I am glad that someone understood me on this level and it came as no surprise to me when she would not go on holidays for fear of leaving her little darlings or when she never left the house without her devoted pup beside her.
I find myself unwilling to entertain the mere idea of going to hospital and leaving my furry ones and even going for a short drive means a car load of furry faces and wagging tails. Even moving towards the door will result in an eruption of barking, crying, tail wagging and panicked dives at the door… which is more than this heart can bear.
My husband has embraced my particular brand of insanity and he is now a card waving member of the furry parent club and has even called home to say hello to the fur kids when out and about. He sleeps with at least three or four fur kids on top of him or curled up beside him and he is a deft hand at retrieving all sorts of objects from mouths and claws. We can even tell who is doing what when we are not in the room!
They have filled my life and renewed my hope more than any job, project, object, career or anything else ever could, and I am more grateful than these few words could ever hope to express. Many people have shaken their heads at me over the years, considered me completely insane and even given up on me as a lost cause when it comes to my love of my fur companions, and animals in general, but I can honestly say, without fear or hesitation, that I couldn’t care less or be less apologetic about anything in my entire life.
If made to choose between someone or something and my fur companions I will choose my fur kids any day, and twice on Sunday. And I encourage anyone else out there who shares a similar disposition to come out and let your flag fly unashamedly. It is only when we do this that animal recognition and rights can be advanced and the world can open its eyes more and more to what an important role they play to human beings, especially those of us who have lost so much through illness and disease.
Companion animals have stepped in where many people have abandoned us and for that reason they are true heroes and always will be.