Pets as a Source of Healing

Retha De Wet avatar

by Retha De Wet |

Share this article:

Share article via email
pet therapy

(Photo By Retha De Wet)

I purchased two hand-reared, peach-faced lovebirds during my first round of IV Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) treatment. Recovery from that treatment can be quite rough. Honestly, I just needed something to distract me from the horror I was facing at that time. And that is what these birds did. I fell in love with them, and they certainly saved my sanity.

I named them Indica and Sativa, as this was around the time I started using cannabis to find some relief from all the side effects of all my treatments, including insomnia and severe pain, among others. Just like cannabis, these birds were giving me some daily relief from the harsh reality I was battling at that time.

During the 12 months of receiving Cytoxan infusions every four weeks, I was incredibly weak and mostly stayed bed-bound. The only friends I saw were the ones who came to visit me and my caring boyfriend (who basically moved in for that time just to take care of me). I spent a lot of my time without much human company, but it certainly was not missed.

My two lovebirds were there to nurse my soul, one kiss at a time. Some days, I would be too weak to get out of bed, and they would just kiss my fingers through the wires of their cage. Author Robert Brault said, “The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.” I could not agree more. They were there for me while I was at my weakest; they were there for me when I did not want to show the world my droopy-eyed, drooling face; and they are there for me when I wake up every morning. They always seem just as happy as I am that I am alive.

I cannot communicate with these two creatures, as we do not speak the same language. Yet, they have shown me more compassion, care, loyalty, and love than most humans. They made me feel less isolated even though I was trapped inside my apartment for days on end.

Pets can be such a wonderful part of recovery. Mine add plenty to my life. They are something that I must take care of. They are sometimes my reason to get out of bed, even if it is just for 10 minutes. They are still my favorite dose of serotonin, even though they are a bit naughtier and cheekier now that they are older. Life is beautiful — never stop fighting.


Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

2021 Myasthenia Gravis Survey Results

BioNews Survey Infographic

Myasthenia Gravis News conducted a survey from Feb. 11-March 28 to gain greater insight into the characteristics of the MG community and disease management. Results of the survey have now been published. Click on the image to view the infographic, and click here to read the story.