Amazing Dogs

Coping with Chronic Migraine: My Dog, My Comfort, My Support

How My Dog Helps Me Cope with Migraine | Vanillapup

A chronic migraine is isolating and lonely. Here’s Sarah’s story on how her Golden Retriever became her companion, her comfort, and her support.

My first child

I bought my dog to celebrate getting my first real job out of college. She was a sick puppy and a vet told me that I shouldn’t get attached because she was going to die.

Well, here I am with my feet comfortably resting on her nine years later.

She is my first child. People told me that when I had real children I would love her less.  That could not be further than the truth.

My children love, hug, kiss, and even try to ride her.  She sleeps in the nursery or outside their rooms during naps and at night. Like a typical older, protective sister.  The biggest thing I love about her is how she watches over me.

My comforter in times of pain

There is only one relationship that I never felt guilty about or neglected because of my chronic migraine. It is the relationship with my Golden Retriever.

My dog has been a nurse to me for many years. She is always by my side and loves me unconditionally. She only asks of me to be in the same room and to cuddle her like the lap dog that she thinks she is.

When I am sick in bed, she joins me. She does not sleep in bed with me other than when I have a migraine. She senses it when I am sick and immediately jumps into bed and spoons me while I lay packed in ice.

If I move my fingers she begins wagging her tail and licking them to show me that she’s watching me. There had been many days that I laid in bed, all day, with her unmoving.

A chronic migraine is isolating and lonely. My dog gives me the companionship and support that not many can give.

From the time my husband lets her out in the morning until he returns at night, she does not leave my side. I would crawl to the door to let her out if I needed to, yet she never asks me to when I am suffering a migraine.

If I am laying on the bathroom floor crumpled in pain, she is right there with me. The pressure she lays against me is comforting.  When I am unable to open my eyes, I am able to pet and lay on her without having to talk or move. It is the simplest form of love.  She’s just there and that’s exactly what I need.

My loyal caretaker

There was once she received knee surgery and we gated her into our family room. I was laying on the couch when I had a migraine that intensified quickly.

I wanted to escape the light of the family room and needed medication, rest, and space away from my children – I don’t like them to see me in pain.

So, when my migraine went from a five to an eight in intensity, I slowly rose from the couch to retreat to my bedroom.

My dog immediately got up on three legs and started whining and crying. My husband followed me up to our room and I asked him whether she was hurt, needed painkillers, or needed to go out.

He told me that he checked on her and she was worried about me. We watched her go from sleeping on her bed resting her knee to being worked up about me being sick. She knew that I was in pain and it upset her that she couldn’t be with me.

She seems to have this extra sense that tells her when I need her. We have never trained her to be a therapy dog, but she has become my own personal therapeutic dog and caretaker. She’s amazing and life wouldn’t be the same without her.

Do you have a pet that helps you when you are sick?


My Migraine Life was the first to publish this article.

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Sarah Rathsack
I am a mom, wife, teacher, dog lover, chronic migraine, and daily headache sufferer. My blog is intended to give support, advocate, teach, learn, and spread the word of invisible illnesses. I post about how I live positivity and battle each day, along with health and wellness tips, experiences with my children and dog, migraine stories, and ways to be a part of the migraine community.
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