Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Healing After a Serious Injury. You Might Just Want To Get a Dog!

This week please meet my guest blogger and friend, writer and researcher, Robin Gould. 

Robin describes how a four-legged friend has brought more comfort to her son than she could ever have imagined and a bonus she never predicted.

Let us know how a pet has been therapy for your family and leave us a message below.

Have a great week
As I head outside, leash in hand, dog in tow, for our ritual morning walk, I notice frost on the grass, the first frost of the year.

It’s 28 degrees outside and I wish I were back in my warm bed. 
It’s mornings like this one that I ask myself,

 “Why did I ever cave into my almost 10-year-old son to get a dog?”
Life was already chaotic with three boys and a husband who traveled frequently. Why did our family - why did I - need a dog to add into the mix of daily responsibilities, especially since the morning walk would fall on MY duty?

We needed a dog precisely because life was chaotic… and because our family was dealing with a new stress.

In December of my oldest son’s junior year, he suffered a concussion during a high school basketball game. 

My smart, energetic, motivated son was now tired all the time, he couldn’t focus, and light and loud noises gave him headaches. But of all the symptoms, the hardest to deal with for him and me was the anger.

Anger over not being allowed to play sports…

Anger over not being allowed to drive…

Anger at the doctors and their tests that prevented him from doing these things.

As a writer and researcher, I poured myself into learning all I could about concussions and went on a crusade to raise concussion awareness at my son’s school. (This was just before all the news started to break about the serious medical problems NFL players suffered as a result of repeated concussions.)

Now my youngest son had wanted a dog from the time he could walk. Fortunately, we had a lot of dogs in our neighborhood so there was always a furry friend he could play with and that kept him happy… up to a point. Then, one by one, all of his friends started to get dogs. And that was all it took to trigger…

Can we get a dog?

This time, though, instead of finding excuses for why we couldn’t get a dog, I was open to start “looking.”

 For me, it was a much-needed distraction… and something new to pour my energy in to.

Instead of medical websites, I now spent hours scouring Petfinder and area animal rescue and shelter websites that posted dogs available for adoption. I researched what breed would be best for our family and how big the dog would be. I researched every aspect and detail of dog care until there seemed nothing more to research.

And during this whole process, an amazing thing happened. The more time I spent looking for a dog, the more my mood improved. I still had to deal with my son’s recovery from the concussion, but I was no longer dwelling on it ALL THE TIME.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, we brought our new 6-month-old puppy home, a black lab mix that had been rescued from a shelter in West Virginia. In a way, it was fitting that this cute furry bundle of energy came into our lives during this solemn period of introspection for us, just hours before the Day of Judgment. It marked a new beginning for our family.

It’s been just over four years since that day. And in those four years, this is what I’ve learned. 

My now 14-year old wanted the dog… I needed the dog… and our whole family has been enriched by having the dog.

Just a few weeks ago, my son who had the concussion, now at the University of Maryland, asked if he could “borrow” the dog for a few days. I didn’t ask why. But I sensed that the workload and stress must’ve spiked, and he needed a little love - like only a lick can bring - from man’s (and woman’s) best friend.

Do you have a dog or cat or other pet that has helped you through a difficult time?

How has a pet changed your life?

Robin would love to hear from you. Leave her a message on this post, share it with your friends or email her at 4robingould@gmail.com

A Little more about Robin....
Robin is a California native who has been living in the Washington, DC area for the past 15 years with her husband, three sons (ages 21, 19, 14) and dog. Upon moving to DC, she traded in her career as a TV news writer/producer/researcher for the job of full time mom/ family manager/ chauffeur/ volunteer. With her two oldest sons away at college and her youngest now a freshman in high school, she is ready to resume her professional career. And she is exploring the world of blogging. 

Please email me at gilly@bringingbooksofcomfort.org or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback. 
Thank you for visiting Brainstorm. If you want to receive future posts by email please enter your address on the right hand side of this post,where it says "RECEIVE BLOG BY EMAIL."  Remember to look for the verification link from Feedburner when it comes into your inbox or hides in your spam folder.

No comments:

Post a Comment