Last week Monday, my Teddy Bear crossed the rainbow bridge, his kidneys failed unexpectedly and there was nothing more we could do. He was not only an amazing boy but also played a huge part in my daily CRPS management, more so than even I realised.

As a puppy, he arrived to find me in the midst of opiate-withdrawal accompanying depression. I had been prescribed OxyNorm and after a few days of severe side effects, it was stopped and the nightmare of withdrawal began. Teddy brought light and love to dark days. He needed walking and playing with, he reminded me to eat. He learnt, without training, how to help me cope on a day-to-day basis. Once we were through the darkest of days, he learnt to aid me with my CRPS.

Teddy didn’t become a certified service dog but he fulfilled many of the tasks naturally. For CRPS, these include:

  • bracing – he made sure to walk between me and walls; watch me in and out the shower, get between me and doors I might bump into. I’ve walked into the wall thrice today alone in his absence. It is peculiar to not have him check on me as I go to and from the bathroom, or get in and out the shower. He would steady me when dressing, getting up or down on the floor or round the garden, ever ready to catch me.
  • alert to flares – he knew when I would be sore, when my CPRS was going to flare up and he would tell me. This early warning allowed me to change my behaviour, take a walk, take medication. take a break. I can so easily be absorbed in work that I miss the early signs.
  • respond to flares – when I’m in severe pain, there is little I can do or that can distract but Teddy would be there, big and warm and comforting with a goofy smile and reminder to breathe and keep on going because sunshine, walks and treats were coming, good moments would be there soon, I just had to keep on.
  • find help – Teddy knew when I needed more help and would go and get my mom

In every way, in every moment of the day, Teddy brought love and joy. He was with me most of the time, my arms feel empty without him and the house too quiet. There is no wet nose telling me to get up even if it hurts, or big brown eyes reminding me to eat my all bran even though I’m nauseous or squeaking and chatting to get me walking or the big soft furry body to cuddle when the pain is too much. There is no clown-like behaviour to make me smile or laugh even when I’m feeling blue or hurt or scared. There are too many bowls and balls and beds, too few barks and yips and grunts. I knew he filled my world but even I failed to realise just how much I relied on him.

In the last week, I have also come to realise his reach was far beyond me. There are few places I go that didn’t know Ted or people I love who didn’t love him too. He made friends easily and his bright intelligence engaged so many. I am so truly blessed to have had him in my life, he will be loved always.

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