Dog and owner with similar medical needs are perfect travel companions | TeamDogs

Dog and owner with similar medical needs are perfect travel companions

Chopstick and Caitlin comfort and support each other while travelling

Chloe Bowen

Posted 32d ago

The pair understand and support each other’s medical needs (Image: Caitlin Godwin)

Solo travelling can be freeing yet tough, as Caitlin Godwin has discovered. She travels with her pitbull who has IBS and anxiety – very similar struggles to herself.

Caitlin decided to travel solo with her seven-year-old dog, Chopstick, to find a life reset after being diagnosed with Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome, Renal Nutcracker Syndrome and May Thurners Syndrome.

Unfortunately Caitlin had to quit her job in an animal rescue centre due to her illness and relied on her family and Chopstick to care for her.

Their first trip was to Black Mountain and Asheville (Image: Caitlin Godwin)

The pair are now proving to be gaining back their independence together and make a great team, comforting each other while together – It’s almost as if they can sense when the other one needs help.

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Caitlin, 24, who is originally from Florida, USA, said: “It’s been devastating to go from relatively healthy to almost completely disabled in less than a year. I am no longer able to exercise or walk long distances without pain, and pass out all the time. I wanted to prove to myself that I can cope with these issues and survive on my own.

“The weekend after quitting my job I went on my first ever solo trip with Chopstick. Our relationship is really special because she has a ton of medical issues too. She has really bad IBD and food allergies so I have to make all of her food homemade and take a lot of precautions to keep her healthy.

Chopstick suffers with anxiety and IBS (Image: Caitlin Godwin)

“I’ve almost lost her a few times due to her medical issues. She knows what it is like to be severely underweight and unable to keep food down.

“But Chopstick wakes up every day thrilled to be alive and ready to take anything on. At my worst moments she has been my strength to keep going. When I can hardly walk she helps drag me up the mountain on our hikes and waits next to me when I have to rest. I never have to explain to her that I’m disabled or need to take a break. She just gets it.”

The pair recently rented a cabin in Black Mountain and Asheville for their first proper trip together. Chopstick suffers awfully with anxiety and staying in a cabin with Caitlin helps her to stay calm.

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She said: “If I were alone I definitely would have pushed myself to be busy 24/7 to maximize the trip but with Chopstick it’s really not possible. So she helps me to know it’s okay to just rest and relax and enjoy being in each other’s company.

“I’m hoping that solo travel will restore my confidence and self-sufficiency so that I can face my illnesses head on. I’ve felt so weak and powerless but when I push through and enjoy a trip, I feel normal again for just a few days, and Chopstick plays a part in that.”

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