“They say that dogs have a sixth sense…”

Published 21 April 2022
Imogen tells us about her amazing bond with her Labrador, Chilli since her MS diagnosis
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in April 2021, although my neurologist believes that I’ve probably had it much longer. Day to day my MS affects my balance the most, and I also have very little feeling in my feet or my hands.
Chilli is my fox red Labrador and he was still a bouncy eight-month-old puppy at the time of my diagnosis. I went into immediate panic that I wouldn’t be able to cope with him, he’d be too bouncy, or need more than I’d be able to give him. However, what I’ve actually found is that he has been amazing for my health, both physically and mentally.
Chilli has a lot of energy and by 9am every morning he’s letting me know it’s time to go for a walk. I’ve found this brilliant for me because it gives me a reason to go out and get some fresh air and exercise.
Being out on a walk with him is my headspace and boosts my sanity in a way I probably wouldn’t get without him.
They say that dogs have a sixth sense and I believe this to be true. Between his bouncing playfulness he also knows when I just need a hug or if I’m upset and he’ll come and curl up on me.
I think if you have MS and are thinking of getting a dog then definitely take time to research the breed and make sure you can do some training. Chilli wasn’t our first dog, and I did lots of training so he didn’t pull me over and stops when I need him to because I can’t run after him! He is an amazing companion though and a personal trainer rolled in to one.