Living with an owner who has MS - a dog's perspective
How did you meet Al?
I first met Al when I was only eight weeks old. He drove for four hours to meet me and my siblings, and I made sure he would choose me to take home.
So I said goodbye to my brothers and sisters and had my first ever trip in a car.
Describe a normal day in your life
Sleeping takes up a lot of my time, and it’s something I’m particularly good at. When I’m not napping, I’m an avid TV fan, and never miss an episode of Dogtor Who, Collie-nation Street or Game of Bones.
But I’m also a bit of an action dog and I love to get out and about.
When did you first find out about Al’s MS?
I knew that he was slowing down since I first met him in March 2015. He was officially diagnosed with primary progressive MS in July 2017.
How do you think Al’s MS affects him on a day-to-day basis?
We spend more time at home than we used to, especially in this cold weather. While Al is always happy, I do notice he is much slower in moving and his balance is an issue.
In summer we go on bike rides - he finds that his balance isn’t such a big issue when he’s cycling. And last week we went on a car trip to pick up a used folding electric wheelchair. This means I get long walks again!
How do you help Al when he’s having a particularly bad day?
I’m just there for him. Cuddles are good too, as they release endorphins. (I’m not sure what endorphins are but I think they’re like small dolphins).
What difficulties come with having an owner with MS?
No two days are the same, so I just play it by ear. Al calls the shots, and I’m always on standby, ready when he is.
But he’s very determined. I know he has been campaigning with others within the MS Society to get NICE to approve ocrelizumab for primary progressive MS.
I just wish they’d hurry up and approve this. If he starts on this treatment, it would be so much better for him and it would make me so much happier knowing we would have a better future together.
What’s the best thing about living with someone who has MS?
The best thing is that I get to spend lots and lots of time with him.
What’s your favourite meal?
The best scraps come from Rach, as Al changed his diet to help his MS. But the dog treats he buys me are the best.
I tried to make my own meal once, but I made a complete dog's dinner of it.
What’s your view on cats?
I’ve never managed to get that close to one, as they can run faster than me! I only have very short legs.
Who’s a good boy?
That's really a deep philosophical question which requires a great deal of thought...only joking, it's me, I'm a good boy. Me.