I will do anything I can to avoid admitting I’m sick. I take a double dose of my usual allergy medication when my nose gets stuffy. I blame my building’s dry heating system for my scratchy throat. I chalk up my lethargy and malaise to the fact that I spend roughly 14 hours a day on the internet.
The one symptom I cannot ignore, however, is my dog’s tiny head, resting on my leg during a portion of the day when she’s usually ignoring me. When she knows, I can no longer pretend I don’t.
Midge, my 12-pound rescue pup, isn’t the world’s most affectionate dog. We get along great, but she has her own hobbies: horrifically dismembering her cute little plush toys, chewing through her chew-proof bed. But as soon as even a mild head cold starts to take hold of me, my dog is transformed. She’s no longer her usual self, jabbing a dagger paw into my ribs to prod me into throwing her ball. Instead, she’s Doctor Midge, Medicine Chihuahua, ready to nurse me back to health by cuddling up against me (or on top of me) at all times.
Although I’m of the firm belief that my dog is a unique and special angel, it’s easy to find tales of other pets comforting or guarding their people during times of illness or injury. I was sick last week, and as Midge was glued to my side, friends told me about their own pets attending to them around the clock after everything from surgery to stomach troubles. (For the record, Midge didn’t care when I sliced my hand open while washing dishes last month.)