Michael J. Fox finds having a pet helps him "open up" amid his Parkinson's battle.
The Back to the Future star was diagnosed with the disease – which affects the brain and causes problems like shaking and stiffness – in 1991 and, speaking to CBS News for the network's primetime special, The Pet Project, he opened up on the benefits of keeping animals.
Revealing his dog, Gus, was a a key part of his recovery following surgery he had two years ago to remove a tumor from his spinal cord, he says: "No matter your situation, no matter what you feel, this animal is with you and is connected to you, and you feel. It's a force multiplier.
"Your instinct when you have a chronic illness is to sometimes isolate and make your world as small as possible so you don't have much to deal with, but a dog will open you up," reflects the 59-year-old.
Detailing his relationship with his pup, Fox adds: "He kind of circles the wheelchair with this low kind of woof woof, woof woof, and sat in front of the wheelchair right in front of me, and looked at me, and I said, 'It's going to be okay.'"
The actor recently described his 2018 surgery and subsequent recovery period as his "darkest moment", but said the ordeal helped him learn that "optimism is really rooted in gratitude".