Lately I have been thinking it might be nice to have a furry companion around to take for brief walks, keep me company, and train to do tricks. I have researched several breeds and currently have my sights set on a cute Shiba Inu puppy like the one pictured above. Ideally I want a dog small enough to pick up with a good temperament that doesn't bark much. Shiba Inus are described as a very fastidious breed, meaning they like to stay clean and are easily housebroken, which is also a major bonus for me.
I know a lot of dysautonomia patients have really benefited from having pets in the home. Not just for the company, but also because animals are intuitive and often capable of acting in a service capacity to alert their owner when something's wrong. Check out this video of one dysautonomia patient's fainting spells caught on tape:
Although he doesn't alert her in quite enough time, Sarah's dog Walburg clearly recognizes that his owner is about to faint. Another obvious advantage of having a larger dog by your side is that if you happen to pass out in a public place, people probably won't mess with you while you're down.
Although I am not looking for a service dog, I would expect my future dog to be in tune to how I'm feeling. Even dogs that I don't know very well seem to instinctively seek me out and come sit on my lap when I'm not feeling well. There could be ten other people sitting around in the room and if there are dogs around, they will always come sit by me. To be honest it freaks me out a little bit. Dogs did not always flock to me like this. But since developing POTS I've noticed that animals have taken a liking to me.
So maybe that's a sign that it's time to get a pet. At this point it would be a whole lot easier than dealing with a needy boyfriend. Most of my friends are in the midst of getting married, getting a house, getting kids, and here I am contemplating getting a dog. For most of my old friends, getting a dog isn't even a big enough milestone to make it onto their Facebook newsfeed. They have bigger and better things going on in their lives. But to me, getting a dog is a big deal and an even bigger decision. I need to be sure I can adequately care for an animal and provide them with enough exercise to stay healthy. I need to be 100% sure I can give them the care they deserve or it would be rather selfish of me to get one.
Then again, getting a dog may help me feel better in many ways. Maybe it's the power of unconditional love or maybe it's just pure coincidence, but pet owners are said to have better health overall and recover more quickly from surgeries and injuries than non pet owners. Resilience is something all POTS patients could definitely use an extra dose of.
In January, a litter of Shiba Inu puppies from a local breeder are coming to town. So I have a little more time to mull this decision over. Any feedback from pet owners and non pet owners alike would be much appreciated.