The Health Benefits of My Stogie

Posted by: | September 30, 2011

I love the title of this blog post- I hope you get the joke!

Last Saturday, if you were at the Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology Conference, Creating Connections 2.0, you would have seen me presenting. I also hope that you wouldn’t have known that I was in emotional turmoil.  I think I did a fairly good job of presenting my workshop on “Healthy Women Engineers,” which I did as a volunteer because I believe in supporting women in science and technology.  People seemed pleased, but you just never quite know if they are being polite!

I walked away from that workshop astounded at my ability to pull it together. I had used everything in my toolbox to help quickly cope and put on my bright, professional face before the workshop: called a friend and talked about my feelings, cried my little eyes out, did deep breathing exercises to calm me, listened to music to energize me, had a cup of coffee to garner further energy, ate some food to spike my blood sugar and did positive self-talk along with some quick visualizations about how good the workshop would be.

You see, my Saturday morning had been spent crying because my main man broke his leg. In case you don’t know about my main man, his name is Stogie and he is my best friend.   He is 10 years old now, still looks like a 2 year old, and I have had him in my life for 7 years.  He is who I have, for 7 straight years, said goodnight to in the evenings and good morning to in the mornings.  This may sound a little sad to some of you who don’t own pets (it isn’t sad to me), but he is the only consistent presence in my daily life.  Soon after he entered my life, I actually quit smoking for him- that’s where he got his name (I declared him my new addiction).  So when he couldn’t walk on all four legs on Thursday, I was worried like you would be if he were your best friend.  On Saturday morning, I discovered that he did not have a pinched a nerve in his hips (as I had imagined and assumed, and thus hadn’t taken him to the vet).  Instead, I discovered that he must have chipped a bone in his leg at least a week prior, and I had been letting him deal with all of that pain because I was too cheap to want to drop in for a vet visit.

So on Saturday, I drove down to the city in emotional tatters, having had to leave Stogie at the vet to be sedated and casted.  My friend would pick him up for me, since the vet office would close before I returned from the presentation.

Normally, a much happier buddy, this is Stogie with his new bright yellow cast.

I know that I have been a dog lover all of my life, having grown up with numerous cats and dogs (and frogs and snakes), but I never understood how strong the emotional bond would be between Stogie and I.  Putting that emotional bond aside, even the CDC has recognized the numerous health benefits from having pets.  While the evidence grows on those health benefits, it is disappointing to me that I still struggle to explain to

people how it is that my dog is so important to me.  People accept that you might take time off if you lose a family member, or to care for a sick family member, but I find a lot of mockery involved when people talk about others really being upset about their sick dog or cat.

Stogie, my main man, has a cast on his leg for four weeks, at the very least. It takes a toll on my health- I have to carry him sometimes outside, it takes me longer to get ready for work in the morning (so I have to get up earlier) and there’s a definitely financial toll which impacts me emotionally. Fortunately, this time, Stogie will recover, and so will I.


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One Response to “The Health Benefits of My Stogie”

  1. Kirsten says:

    Hi Suzanne, Thanks for a touching article about your sweet Stogie. He’s a lovely, healthy-looking boy and I’m sure he’ll be back in fine form before too long! I completely understand the way you felt about the injury to your dog, and applaud you for writing an article about the bond between us great apes and our pets, that we (or at least I) often feel shy about expressing.
    All the best,
    Kirsten Cameron

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