[RA & Pets] The Rewards of Pet Parenthood

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By: Missy Chauvin


I’ve had RA for 42 years and for all those years I’ve also had pets because I absolutely love animals. Plus when you’re sore and in pain from the RA & the only thing you can do is rest on the couch, there’s nothing better than a furry friend to cuddle up with you. For the majority of my life I’ve had miniature daschunds (wiener dogs). They are the perfect pet for people with RA because they’re little & easy to carry if you need to and when they get older 90% of the time they get arthritis in their back (as they have such a long spine) so the two of you can comfort each other! Throughout the years I’ve been blessed with Tuffy, T.J. (Tuffy Junior), Penny, Oscar, O.J. (Oscar Junior), and now Molly (all mini wiener dogs). Molly is now 14 years old. She is light brown and although she can’t hear or see very well anymore, she knows the sound of my voice and whenever she hears me come home her little tail wiggles so fast that sometimes I think she might take off like a helicopter. She loves to give me kisses and she always knows when I need someone to hug or snuggle with when I’m feeling blue! She suffers from arthritis too and when she gets up in the morning, the two of us stretch and then try to walk to the stairs to go upstairs for breakfast. This is quite a task for the two of us as we both have a lot of morning stiffness. I’m sure we’d make quite the “You Tube video” on our crazy early morning routines. She somehow knows when I need comforting from the pain of my RA and I return the favor by comforting her when I see that she’s in pain too! We are the perfect pair! Sometimes in the winter when I’m so cold and my joints are very sore I’ll snuggle under a warm blanket with a heating pad and Molly will be right by my side too. In the fall when it’s damp and cold, Molly has a hard time going up and down the stairs, it’s then that I carry her and I know on the days that I’m so sore that I can barely do the stairs that she’d carry me too if she could! Instead she waits for me patiently at the top of the stairs and when I finally get there she gives me a reward by licking my face as if congratulating me for achieving such a hard task. I know that I won’t have too many years left with her because daschunds usually don’t live much longer than 16 years old. When Molly is gone I know that I will have a deep hole in my heart because I will have not only lost a dear friend but also someone who’s shared the ups and downs of my daily life with RA. It’s hard enough to find such incredible human friends but it’s even harder to find such remarkable furry friends that bond with you for a lifetime. I know that I’ll probably get another dog because my life just wouldn’t be complete without a pet in it but I don’t think I’ll ever find another “Molly.” I’m sure there are many people out there that have special pets in their lives too and you can relate to the closeness you can feel with a dog like Molly. For now I will cherish each and every day and all the special moments that I have left with Molly because I know our time together is limited. I only hope that when she does pass away that she’ll remember all the good times we had together not the pain that her arthritis caused her. I hope and pray for the same thing for myself! I want to remember all the good times, people and pets in my life (the important things) not the RA that weakened my body but not my soul!

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