Most Australian’s have pets; usually dogs or cats. Both these animals can become very attached to their owners, as we do to them. I did not expect that my dogs would force me to be coping with trauma after my return from hospital, while I was still weak and fragile. But it did happen….
I have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and a Rag Doll cat. One of the Cav’s (named Cameo) is a Blenheim (red and white) female aged thirteen and is now deaf. The other is a tricolor (black and white with red markings above the eyes and on the tail feathering) six year old male, named Cooper. Unfortunately Cooper has an anxiety problem and does not like me out of his site.
I have trained Cooper for TV work and photo shoots. He is marvelous to train as he loves it and will do anything to please me. The worry is though, that he gets quite distressed when I am away from him. But he has learned to cope when I do the shopping etc and am away for a couple of hours as he has always had my Mum at home to be with him.
When I had to go into hospital I was not too worried as Mum was still at home and Peter (my husband) was there of a morning (he visited me each afternoon). But one day I rang Pete and thought I could hear Cooper crying. “Is that Cooper I can hear” I asked?
Pete hesitated and then said “Yes; each day he sits at the back door for about an hour, looking out for you and crying.” That made me so sad – but there was nothing much I could do about it. They were so happy to see me when I came home. Both dogs and the cat hopped onto my lap and settled down (as shown in the photo)…it was quite a crush!
A couple of weeks into my recovery I had an awful experience where I thought I had killed Cameo! She got caught under my easy chair and I could not get her out. All the time she was screaming in fear and pain…..I think this shock was the greatest I experienced during the whole ordeal of me having to cope with the trauma of a stroke and the removal of a brain tumour. You can read the chapter in my book, ‘Thank God I Had a Stroke’ to see just what happened and how Cameo and I coped!
Hints and Tips
When an unexpected illness takes over your life, it is not only your human family that concerns you; it also your pets. You have to arrange for friends, family or a boarding kennel to take over the responsibility of looking after them. But you also have to remember that they are after all, animals and you must try not to fret too much. Animals are much better at coping with a change in circumstances than you are. Think of how great it will be when you are all back together again!