Home > Dog Behavior, Pet Ponderings > A pet’s loyalty: What does your pet do when you are sick?

A pet’s loyalty: What does your pet do when you are sick?


After almost two weeks of searching for Lady and the joyful reunion that brought her home, you would think that I would have been writing up a storm to update everyone on how she is doing. Ahhh! Not so my two-pawed and four-pawed friends.

Instead, I was paid a wonderful visit by something I like the call The Crud. Eeek!!

After several days of doing nothing but sleeping and letting the dogs outside for a bathroom break, I finally feel somewhat human again. Of course, that might have something to do with my steroid inhaler, nebulizer and cough medicine (my new best friends), but at least I am feeling better. 🙂

Throughout this whole ordeal, the one constant at my side was Jasper. When I was shivering uncontrollably and unable to get warm, he would cuddle next to me and share his body heat. When I was feeling miserable, he would lay his head upon lap and give me that endearing look that let me know that he was there for me.

I don’t want anyone to think Daisy and Lady weren’t there providing comfort too. They were most definitely there, but it was Jasper who wouldn’t leave my side and insisted on sleeping next to me every day and night. Is it any wonder why people love their dogs?

When my Dad was recovering from open heart surgery, my first Sheltie, Alicia, was his constant companion. She never left his side, often sleeping on the floor next to his side of the bed. Shelties are a loyal lot, but I am sure that there are many dogs who could claim the same behavior.

I’m curious. Has anyone else has experienced the same thing with their dogs or cats or another beloved pet?

  1. Cindy
    December 8, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Glad your feeling better 🙂 My Sheltie DJ was there by my side all the time. Through tears, sickness & happy times. When we moved back to Minnesota, my Sheltie Cassie was my Mom’s companion. She would bump Mom’s leg @ 2pm every day, then head towards the bedroom to let her know she should lay down and rest. If Mom didn’t head her way, she would look at her and bark until she did. And Riley, my sweetheart, would lay on Duane’s lap unless he had to go out and potty. Wondered what was up and less than 2 weeks later Duane had a heart attack. I still to this day, I think he did that to keep Duane from doing too much. So when I head off to work now, it’s Riley that I leave in charge. And if you knew Riley, you’d scratch your head. Shelties, are to me anyway, about as loyal as they get. They sure want nothing more than to please you. Glad Jasper made your road to recovery so comforting.

  2. Martie
    December 8, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    I was also visited by the crud the first of the week. As the first day progressed I was feeling worse by the minute so at 3pm I finally got some chicken noodle soup down, fed my 2 dogs and went to bed after giving them a potty break and putting them in their crates. One of them, a Lab mix, shy/anxious girl, is happy in her crate. The other girl, a long-legged Doxie mix, is a whirlwind of activity from morning to night. The both remained quiet and still for hours while I tried to sleep off my miserableness, and even though they are in the room where I sleep, and through my frequent bathroom trips, they didn’t stir. I couldn’t believe my luck that they were allowing me to get the rest that I needed to fight this thing. They missed their supper and for some odd reason did not need to potty. At 5am the next morning I got them up and fed them first thing (their last night’s supper). They must have sensed that they needed to be in hibernation for awhile.

  3. December 8, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Lucy,Sally & Marcie(Chihuahuas) all kept looking for me during my recent hospital stay when my right foot was amputated,according to my sister who cared for the gals.After I got home,all three will not hardly let me out of their sight.Even now.Sally is in my lap watching me type this.Those 3 worry over me now like 3 mother hens.They know I am very ill & they are gonna be right there

  4. Sam
    December 8, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Sam is my constant companion when I’m not well. I’d be willing to bet you had a reaction from being so stressed for so long – your body needed you to rest and voila! The crud!

    Sam

  5. December 8, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    My rescue cat Molly is always by my side. I have been sick for over a year now with an on-going (albeit healing) medical situation. Molly sleeps on my side of the bed, gently puts herself in the crook of my knees (if I’m side sleeping) and will even lay on my pillow above my head and purr. She is very skittish, and although not diagnosed, I believe she suffers from PTSD. She lets me pet her and massage her on occasion, but mostly just loves to be petted and have conversations. If I don’t pet her quick enough, she will place her paw on my hand and if I still don’t pay attention, she will slowly, but gently, put her claws into my flesh. I even have her conditioned to sit on the step stool in order to be petted. It’s really wonderful how pets condition themselves to certain activities.

  6. December 9, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    I’m glad to hear you are on the mend now.

    I think if either of the dogs were to coddle me it would be Sampson. One time when I came home from work with a migraine, he just stayed next to me on the bed and let me sleep.

  7. December 9, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Hope you’re feeling better! I have had that experience with pups too – Bella always seems to be there for a snuggle when I’m sick (although she does get a bit restless), but when I was a kid my dog Scotti wouldn’t leave my side for a second.

  8. December 9, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Milly always seems to know when I’m feeling sick or even a bit down in the dumps, she’s such a great kitty and is always by my side…even now she’s clawing at me, but this time it’s only to get my seat 🙂 So glad you are feeling better, have a wonderful weekend!

  9. December 9, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    What a sweetie! I hope you’re feeling better soon.

  10. Dena
    December 9, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Your story reminded me of when I was living in tiny apartment with a host family when I was in the Peace Corps in Estonia. They had an Airedale Terrier who didn’t really like me (actually she gave me fleas so I should be the one complaining… I genuinely sympathize when I see dogs scratching now). The family went away one weekend and left me with the dog who tried to attack neighbors when I took her outside (after she had dragged me down the stairs and pushed open the door herself with her front paw). Later, when the doorbell rang, I answered it and the dog stepped on the phone and disconnected the person I was talking to, jumped up and barked on my guest, and wet all over the floor – all at the same time. I had only been in country for a few months and it was November and the sun came up at 9:30 and set at 3:30 – I was depressed, alone, itchy from fleas, and missing my family and friends. Later that night I was watching MTV Europe and R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” came on and the flood gates opened. I just wept and wept and I looked up and saw Sansi standing in the doorway and didn’t know what she had planned for me. Instead of something vicious, she approached me, actually reached her paw up to my shoulder as I sat on the couch and she just looked at me and then rested her head on my lap. She let me love and pet her for a long time and just cry. The next day we were back to not liking each other but I cherish that moment of comforting. Mel – Please continue to rest and also please let people know (like me) if you need anything – soup, Kleenex, vodka – seriously, Estonians use vodka to cure most things. Got a fever? Soak your socks in vodka to draw it down. So, if you need some vodka socks… I’m here for you!

  11. December 13, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    I hope you are feeling much better now, Mel, and things have calmed down for you!

  12. Karen
    December 17, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    When I am sick, one of my three doxies likes to climb on to my pillow and lay near or on my head or neck. She will sleep like that with me all night and if I try to get up, she will push me back down. She keeps very close monitoring of me like that!

  13. December 17, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    I’m so glad you’re feeling better.

    I’ve never had a dog be the least bit nurturing when I’ve been sick. Maybe that’s why I’ve developed such a strong immune system. It’s pure self-defense.

    I’m glad Jasper was such a kind doggie nurse for you.

  14. September 2, 2017 at 10:11 PM

    I rarely get sick, but this time I am so unwell that I just cannot get out of bed. My mixed-breed cat ‘Kitsel’ has been by my side the entire time. She is such a sweetheart. Perhaps the fact that she was a rescue animal has sharpened her appreciation of us. But it has been a long time–about six years–since we fell in love with the bundle of fluff at the vet. Maybe their gratitude lasts a lifetime.

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