I cannot extol enough the wonders of doggy therapy for all kinds of ills! I grew up with dogs in the house, we always adopted our pooches, as dad didn’t believe in buying a dog when there are so many out there abandoned and in need of a decent home.
Well, now I have my own pooch. Lucy is the loveliest, gentlest doggy I have ever known, and she is all mine. It is a different responsibility when one is the sole carer and sole companion. And a different relationship too.
I thought, at first, I was doing her a favour, taking her away from the horrible world of dog racing, and giving her a decent, loving home. But now, with time, I realise that she is a gift of Divine Providence to me. And she does more for me than I for her.
I have been having high anxiety spells a lot lately, for one reason and another, and the interplay between too many things happening all at the same time, or one after another. Strangely enough, Lucy has also become more and more comforting to me: she has been more proactively cuddling up to me, seeking and offering affection. One new development lately has been her wanting to sleep very near or touching me at nights, sometimes she even lies with half her body on mine! It helps me to sleep better somehow, her presence, the heat emanating from her body, reaching out to stroke her, and even her smell are all comforting. And I do sense she watches me more nowadays, because I wake up in the night many times and seen her eyes looking attentively at me, as if alert to my every movement. It makes me chuckle at the thought that I cannot bear a human body at such close proximity during sleep (I used to say to my former boyfriend that sleep is sacred and I prefer to sleep alone or at least without being disturbed by anyone invading my space!), but here I am, enjoying and being comforted by a big black doggy in my bed!
That dogs are wonderful companions is nothing new – humans have had dogs as pets for a very very long time. Pet therapy is now a well documented practice that has been proven effective for helping in emotional recovery. Studies have even revealed the calming effect on the heart rate of stroking a dog, or even just having a loving dog nearby during stressful treatment or procedures. I do know that many of Lucy’s human friends in the neighbourhood derive great pleasure in hugging and stroking her too! It goes without saying, then, that dogs can be of special benefit to people with peculiar and particular needs, like hypersensitivity and autism. Where the intrusive nature of human interaction is not welcome, dogs are able to bring great sensory, emotional and physical comfort to autistic people. Like myself.
Does my Lucy sense my anxiety and need? I often wonder about that. One reads about so many dogs who are such great help and support to their owners, and I do know as fact that dogs are able to sense things that humans are not well tuned enough to do, and that is part of the reason they are so good for hypersensitive autistic individuals. But my Lucy didn’t behave the way most dogs usually do. She is a Princess, regal and always so elegant, she can be sweet natured and even funny at times too, but she has always been very independent and a tad reserved emotionally, and only recently begun to show real affection. Maybe she is now developing a strong bond with me. Or perhaps she senses my anxiety? Well, it could even be a combination of both. I am no dog expert in this area. I am just grateful to have her with me.
Oh, and she has taken to poking her nose at me when I am labouring for too long at the computer, or putting her head on my lap when I am reading in bed in the afternoons, working on my research. Little gestures that are so calming when coming from Lucy, but which would trigger rage if it were a human being doing the same things. She is definitely my very own emotional assistance doggy. And I am now hoping to be allowed to bring her with me to the new art studio when I have to begin working on the installations for my upcoming exhibition. This is the first time I am having to work for extended hours on intensely private creative activity outside of my own space – i.e. in a public space accessible by others. It is an issue that has already begun to trigger considerable anxiety in my mind, the very thought of it sends cold waves shooting through my body. I do hope the authorities would let me take Lucy along and let me choose a quiet space, as far away from human traffic as possible. I know I will deal with it when it comes my way, as I have always done, but I would appreciate all and any help I can get. I mustn’t be afraid to ask. And so I am asking. Wish me good luck!
Yummy food and loving pooches. The best combination to quell the screaming of the crows hovering around one’s headspace.