CaringBridge and my Dog, Halo, Have Been My Godsend-By Cyteria Knight, CaringBridge User
A fluffy rescue-turned-service dog named Halo has helped me heal after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm and stroke in my daughter Raquanza’s kitchen in January 2017.
Excellent doctors and nurses in Charlotte, NC, got me back on me feet, so that Halo, a Pom-Chi (Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix) named for Beyonce’s song “Halo,” could take over. And so could my partner of 35 years, Susan Miller. She has supported me through finally quitting smoking, eating better and adding exercise to my daily routine.
People always say, "Oh, I appreciate life so much more after what I’ve been through." But it’s God’s truth: I feel thankful for every day above ground at this point.
While I was still in intensive care, Susan was able to arrange for Halo to spend some time with me at the hospital. The people at the hospital could tell that Halo’s presence was helpful to my recovery. The nurses would sometimes take Halo to other patients’ rooms, to kind of help them through.
My physical recovery continues, but being cleared to return to work is not on the near horizon. And Susan, my primary caregiver, with health issues of her own, is also at home.
We are career social workers, who have spent our lives navigating systems and programs on behalf of others. And now we find ourselves on the receiving end of help.
It is a difficult shift.
Under normal circumstances, those things would make you kind of depressed. But my God helps me to keep calm and sort of accepting of where I’m at, and feeling good that it’s fine for now.
Halo helps, too. To be able to hold her in my arms and having her breathe next to my heart, those kinds of things feel great.
I cheerfully admit that Halo is spoiled -- in a good way. I usually carry her when we are out for exercise walks. We often attract attention.
From a distance, she looks like a puppy, but she’s a much older dog. Something in her makes other people feel calm.
People approach Halo and say things like, “Oh, she’s so sweet. So calm. So chill.” Susan said it’s hard to tell whether Halo or I benefit more from the fuss.
That dog, and CaringBridge, have been our godsend.