It’s been Mental Health Awareness Week and I want to begin this diatribe with talking about my dog. Those who hate dog parents (yes, I’m proud of what I am) talking incessantly about their fluffy children (new parents aren’t nearly as bad they say), please bear with me. If you’re a cat person, rat keeper or not keen on canines in general (there’s that quote ‘the more I meet people, the more I love my dog’), then you still need to keep reading. You see, I believe my Rosie Dog has saved my life more than once.
Rosie the Wonder Dog, Rosalina, Sausage and Pudfibg Face, bounded into our lives in November 2016. A bandy black and white liver-faced bundle of fun, who literally knocked us all for six (she knocked me over at such a force, I smashed my face so badly that it looked like I’d been beaten up). A ‘Lennie’ among dogs; breaking everything is her crazy path (my glasses), yet petrified of stairs and her own reflection in the glass, Rosie the Puppy-Dog forced her way into our affections. The baby whirlwind melted our hearts and barged her way into our tidy home.
Rosie became ours because she needed us and we needed her. We were united at a time where she was lacking a home and we were reeling from a time, which felt like we were walking over Flanders after the Armistice (our garden also began to resemble the fields too). Her need for our attention made us leave the house on cold and wintery days; embracing the great outdoors. And, as she started to sneakily creep, like our love for her, into our living room (she’s going to live in the hall), into our beds (no way am I having a dog in my bedroom, in fact, she’s not even allowed upstairs), she became our baby – my favourite child, and I became her dog kissing mummy (I swore I’d never call myself this).
Within a short space of time, we realised that Rosie’s faithfulness, love, affection and cuddles, were the greatest medicine. She has this sixth sense where she can tell when you’re not right. If you cry she sits on your knee and tries to lick your tears. If you’re poorly she won’t leave your side. And, as we speak, she’s sitting lovingly beside the MoominTroll, who has just developed chicken pox.
Her most recent life saving role involved making me get out of bed and onto the beach. In the dark days, she needed me as much as I needed her. She cuddled me, walked miles with me and showed me such unshakeable love, that the family rechristened her the ‘Therapy Dog’. You see, she’s got the softest and kindest nature. All she’s ever had is a houseful of love and that’s taught her to reciprocate it. She’s done that in spades.
Roaming with Rosie has helped me feel safe. It’s given me confidence and helped with the loneliness and isolation that depression can bring. She’s also given me time to reflect and think. The miles trekked have cleared my head and made me realise that time is a great healer. She’s slowed me down (not when she’s pulling me in the sea) and made me take things in their stride.
When you go through a life changing situation, it’s important to stop worrying about the future. The mountain appears insurmountable and the peak out of reach. So taking one step at a time with the RDog has enabled me to begin to shed some of the worry weight (she’s also lost weight and the vet is super impressed with her current physique).
And if I think back, there was a time that I couldn’t turn the sound of in my head. It buzzed constantly. An ongoing chatter of anxiety and worry made for bouts of insomnia and made me feel like I couldn’t escape. I couldn’t see a future beyond the mess I was in. Healing with Rosie has calmed my brain. I feel excited about the way forward and no longer feel anxious that it’s all going to go wrong (well that’s a lie but it’s not nearly as bad). Today we went for a training run (she’s no guide dog as I had a stumble) and I thought ‘How would I like to be remembered?’. Now, let’s get this straight, I’m in no way wanting it all to end, instead I realised that I don’t want to be hashtagged #RIPwomanwhowprkedreally hardandneverdawherfamilyandfriends, or #RIPblindlady, or even being forgotten because I’ve spent the remainder of my life hiding. Instead I wish to be celebrated as being someone who was loved, who achieved great things for others and herself, and to have ‘Dame’ on my obituary would be a bonus too.
Diet, exercise, family, friends, kind words, holding hands, kisses, prayers, angels, elephants, Buddhas, white feathers, horoscopes, numerology, music, laughter…are all ingredients to help you mend. But, the biggest piece of advice I can give you, if you are feeling like you need saving is to get a furry friend. They listen, keep you company and show you an uncomplicated love.
Have a fabulous week!
Follow my journey with Rosie, by sponsoring me for The Great North Run 2019, in aid of Retina Uk, at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/madramblings