Becoming a dog walker helps Calgary woman cope with rare disease

WATCH: Having a dog can make quite a difference in your life. And as Gil Tucker shows us, it doesn’t have to be your own to give your spirits a big boost.

Sarah Bristol had no idea becoming a dog walker would turn her life around.

Now that it’s happened, she’s enjoying every minute of it.

“It gives me something to look forward to each day,” Bristol said.

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For too long, the Calgary woman didn’t have much to look forward to.

“I was getting really depressed not working,” Bristol said.

After a decade in marketing and sales, Bristol had to quit her job when her rare neurological disease made it too difficult to work.

“It’s hit me quite hard,” Bristol said. “I may look normal, but I’m in quite constant pain.”

Working a full day at a computer was no longer possible, but taking dogs for outings a couple of hours a day is turning out to be manageable.

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“Doing the dog walking is really great for me, because dogs distract me from being in pain,” Bristol said. “So that’s why I really love it!”

She began working for Evangeline Pup Walking in July 2019.

“She really did make an impact,” company owner Danielle Francis said. “Telling me what she’s struggled with and what’s she’s had to go through.”

Bristol takes on as many walking sessions as she can with the dogs.

“When I’m with them, I get an hour of relief,” she said. “It’s really been great for my mental health.”

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Bristol’s duties have also included creating custom-designed company T-shirts for her and Francis to wear when they’re out with dogs.

“Doing the marketing for Danielle has been really fun, because it lets me get creative again,” she said.

Francis says Bristol has become an important part of her business.

“She has gone above and beyond in so many ways, taking charge of so many things,” Francis said. “(Coming up) with fresh ideas — it’s been wonderful!”

Bristol is grateful for the opportunity, enjoying being on the path to better health.

“Your brain focuses on the dogs,” she said. “And the dogs’ happiness.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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