Today is the day after a rather historic and extremely stressful Presidential election. I began the day reading a number of social media posts but finally had to say…enough. It was getting to me too much and I had to get ready for work and I was already running late after staying up so late to watch the election returns.
A friend texted me while I was reading and was really having a hard time. How do you comfort someone via a text message. That was a hard one. I did what I could. I hope it was enough…but words of encouragement…even heartfelt words aren’t enough sometimes. I thought about that for a moment. How do people comfort themselves in times of stress? Is it food? Wine? Is it by talking to a trusted friend or family member? Or is it taking a walk or going to an exercise class?
I thought back on so many times in the past where I was stressed or hurting what did I do? All of the above – Yes! Those are all things that I’ve used for comfort. Especially the wine…in fact I’m having a glass of wine called “Custard Comfort Wine” as I write this. But the one thing that I go back to so many times when I need comfort? Lucy…my pup.
A lot of research has been done into Pet Therapy and while it may sound like a made up, new age type of treatment, I am a true believer in the benefits of having a pet. More and more I am seeing places that allow owners to bring their dogs and just this weekend met someone with a dog that had a collar stating it was an “ESA – Emotional Support Animal.” That makes me smile because I know already know the benefits of having a pup.
For me, my pup Lucy has become my shadow. She came to us in early 2008. I went to get my haircut and my stylist said to me, “Teresa, you have to take one of my puppies!” I hem-hawed a bit and she gave me a Polaroid picture of the puppy and I said I would think about it. Meanwhile, I went by school to pick up my youngest and while the photo wasn’t in plain sight, Emily spotted it immediately and excitedly said, “are we getting a dog?!” I said I didn’t know and we would need to talk to dad about it. Well, Eddie wasn’t thrilled about the idea and even though I said I wasn’t sure either, apparently I was! I went and got Lucy the next day.
She was “supposed to be” the family dog, but you know how that goes. The kids were old enough to take her for walks and take general care of her but that didn’t happen. Eddie was determined they would take care of her so he refused to help…and when the kids wouldn’t take care of Lucy, who did it fall to? Me! Mom…
This puppy though…she became my joy and comfort. The year we got her was a rather trying year with my aunt going through treatment for ovarian cancer and my mother just finishing up treatment for breast cancer. I was trying to be available to care for them both and it took a toll on all of us. I would come home to Lucy and take her for a walk and she loved me for that. She would sit on the cushion of the sofa behind my head so she could be close to me in the evening. She slept between me and Eddie in our bed and would curl up right next to me every night, eventually moving to her own little bed at the foot of ours.
Lucy will be 9 years old this month. We don’t know what her actual birthdate is so we always say she was a Thanksgiving pup. These days she is attached to me at the hip. She won’t go outside unless I take her and she knows when my garage door opens and is waiting for me at the kitchen door. She barks at me when I sit too long at the kitchen table in the evening and she is ready to sit on the footrest of my recliner with me in it! She is one of my favorite photography models too. She has her own Instagram hashtag – #conversationswithlucy – and she is rather “famous” with many of my friends! Some say she needs her own Instagram page but I’m happy to share mine with her for the time being. I even have friends who tell me they have a voice they use for Lucy with my posts of her. They always begin with her saying “Mama…” – and she goes on to make her statement. That makes me laugh. To me that means she is bringing comfort and joy to others as well.
Sometimes I wonder if she knows how much I need her and how much her devotion means to me? She brings me such comfort and I can’t imagine my life without her. It makes me tear up just to think about this. She’s my puppy love and she knows it…
So for today and other times when I need comfort and a little puppy therapy, I will reach for Lucy, scratch her behind her ears and take her for a walk before we settle in for the evening and cuddle together on my recliner.
Lucy…you are my comfort…