Month: June 2010

Puppy Love

Ellie our new pup is so soft, her coat feels like you are running your fingers under  water.   She’s so wiggly it’s like tustling with a 1 year old who wants to get down and walk all the time.   Her nails are like scissors – check out my shredded duvet.  She ‘digs’ into it to make her special space.  She finds ‘anything’ that is a no no.  From shoes, of course, to pen tops, from my thyroid meds to my daughter’s $1800 hearing aid (not covered by insurance).  She adores her big brother,  another Portugese Water Dog and follows him around like the idolizing younger sister that she is.    But no matter ‘how’ naughty she is, I can’t get mad at her.  Because, did you know that when you stroke a dog it releases the same chemicals that you release when you are in love?  Don’t we all need a little love?   Here are more facts you should know about pets…..

They Improve Your Mood:  A recent study found that men with AIDS were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet. (According to a study men with AIDS who did not own a pet were about three times more likely to report symptoms of depression than men who did not have AIDS. But men with AIDS who had pets were only about 50 percent more likely to report symptoms of depression, as compared to men in the study who did not have AIDS.)

They Control Blood Pressure Better Than Drugs:  While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, a groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets!

They Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love:
Pets can be there for you in ways that people can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and bring physical peace.  

They Are Better At Reducing Stress Than People:  Research shows that when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present!   Sources: Evenson RJ, Simon RW. Clarifying the Relationship Between Parenthood and Depression. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. December 2005. Siegel JM, Angulo FJ, Detels R, Wesch J, Mullen A. AIDS diagnosis and depression in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study: the ameliorating impact of pet ownership. AIDS Care. April 1999.

Monty and Ellie.  You don’t judge me, you just love me.  What a lesson I  can learn from you!

PS  Pets are family.   Comfort a friend who has lost a pet  http://www.healingbaskets.com/pet-sympathy-gifts.htm

An unexpected Love Story

It was a favor really.  Just to fill in for the usual lady who did Fridays.  Would I sit with a lady in her 90’s who had extreme dementia amongst other issues for a morning?  Sure, I could do that.   I wasn’t to worry about her noisy breathing.  She was comfortable and it didn’t mean she was in distress.   It would be from 8am to 12.00.

It was a sunny morning, and I arrived as requested at 8am.  I was greeted by a energetic and friendly lady who met me at the door and welcomed me into her home.  “Let’s meet my Mom”.  We went straight upstairs.  I prepared myself.

We walked into a white room, with two windows ajar.  A warm summer breeze moved through the room and lace curtains stirred.  A radio gently played classical music.   There was no anticipated odor.   I took in an angelic scene.

A beautiful lady slept cocooned in white crisp linens covered in a soft blanket in a hospital bed in the middle of the room.  Her shining gray hair brushed to one side.  Her beautiful skin quite radiant.  We were introduced although there was no reaction.   She stroked her Mom’s head.  “Mom, this is Caroline, she is going to be downstairs while I go to work this morning”. 

And then the love story unfolded.   This lady had been in this state for eight years.  Looked after by her husband until he passed three years before.  Then the daughter moved into the home and has been caring for her Mother full time for 3 years.  Her Mom hasn’t uttered a word in those three years.  But there had been a finger squeeze.  Her eyes sometimes opened.

With not a glint of resentment, or exhaustion the lady told me about her routine of waking her mom, feeding her and changing her.  She worked five mornings a week and with the help of hospice and a sitter her Mom was well cared for during these hours.  “My Mom never wanted to go into a home.  And I know this is the very best care she can get.”  Not one bed sore in eight bedridden years….

I asked her what does she do for herself.  “Myself?  I’ve travelled, I’ve eaten in the best  restaurants,  I mean how many fancy meals can you eat?   She told me that every time she brushed her Moms hair, every time she bathed her or gave her apple sauce it was a way she could absolutely give her Mom pure love…. 

I’ll never forget that morning.   I’ve always felt that what life really comes down to is giving and receiving love….And as I go about my crazy days filled to the brim, this mother and daughter were living it right here and now.  Down my street.  Behind these doors.   That morning I learned about and saw true love.