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Dogs keep her from rolling over Kate Davies | Sat, Nov 27 2010 12:00 PM

Owning five dogs is not easy. It's not just the cost of the food, or the cost of the medical care, it's knowing that five lives are completely dependent on me for everything. And I have been more thankful for them over the last month than ever before.

Just over a month ago I lost my job. A week ago I lost my relationship. Getting out of bed has been the hardest thing I have had to do for a long time, and if it wasn't for my dogs, I probably wouldn't have made it out at all. They need to be fed, they need to be walked, and they need my attention. It's impossible to pull the covers over my head and pretend the world doesn't exist when there is a doggy tummy growling a foot away from me.

Boscoe does not get along with the other dogs, so they have their own room. I switch them out twice a day and it is exhausting, and far from ideal, but it's how it has to be. At the end of the day, Boscoe did not choose me, I chose him, and I will not let him down or even consider giving any of them up. Darcy has a tumor on her elbow which means that she has no use of her front leg. I have to monitor almost every movement she makes because a fall could be disastrous. Viola got sick a couple of days ago and was diagnosed with an infection in her wrist, which means that she can't walk well either, so I have to watch every move she makes too. I'm tired, but so grateful to them for giving me something else to think about. I have to concentrate on them and what they need from me, rather than sinking into melancholy and negative thoughts, such as never getting a job or being alone for the rest of my life.

Sometimes I grumble, because having to switch them means that I can't stay out late at night, or stay over at someone else's house. But, they have gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life. They don't care whether I wear sweat pants for three days at a time, or whether I wash my hair. They don't care that occasionally I have to force myself to get off the couch, or that sometimes I don't want to leave the house. They don't care that sometimes the last thing in the world I want to do is go for a walk. They need me, and they love me, and they rely on me.

Last night, everything seemed to get on top of me, and I couldn't think how I was going to make it through. I had a great job that helped me to pay my bills, feed my dogs and occasionally go out to dinner with friends. I had a relationship with a man that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

Both of those are lost to me. As I sat there with my head in my hands, I felt a soft pressure on my knee. I looked down, and Mordecai had his head in my lap, drooling gently, and looking up at me with his adoring brown eyes. Without my saying anything, he crawled up onto the couch, lay down and put his head in my lap. And sighed. It was exactly what I needed - the love of my dog. It made everything suddenly feel better and not so insurmountable.

My dogs are my family, and they make everything worthwhile.

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