The value of an animal

Posted by Jim, Volunteer Mentor @jimhd, Sep 16, 2017

I’ve had dogs most of my life, except in college. I’ve always enjoyed them as pets, and my wife has usually had a cat.
My life went upside down in 2005. I was falling into a really deep depression and made multiple suicide attempts. I kept thinking I’d hit bottom, but then I’d go down deeper and darker. I admitted myself to a small facility for survivors of suicide attempts, and stayed for 6 weeks, until I felt like I’d be safe again. I wasn’t really, but life went on. I retired and began therapy, and after a couple of years I talked with my therapist about training my dog to be a service dog. I had an Aussie/Border Collie mix, who was a wonderful dog, and after working with him for over a year, he became my service animal.
Barnabas went everywhere with me, and was of great service to me with depression, PTSD and suicidal thoughts. Everybody loved him. But last year at Valentine’s, he had a stroke or some other brain event, a week after a checkup at the vet’s, where I was told he had years left in him (he was only 9). That was really hard, especially since I didn’t have a therapist right then, and couldn’t get one until a year later. That was an 18 month stretch without a therapist, and the last six were pretty dark. I was fortunate to find my next dog at our local humane shelter, a few weeks after Barnabas died. Sadie had just been brought in that day because the people had too many dogs, and decided to return her to the shelter. She was fearful and skittish, but I felt an immediate bond with her. We left her alone for a couple of days, so she could become comfortable in our home, with us, and with my wife’s little dog, Pete. After a year, she’s joined to me at the hip. If I go outside, she follows, and comes in when I do. We have ten acres, so she has lots of room to run, rodents to catch, cows and horses to herd – they either ignore her or run her off – but she always comes back to me and sits down near me and watches me work in the yard. If I’m kneeling, she sits right in front of me for some petting. She’s very attentive, obedient and therapeutic for me. When I’m extra depressed or feeling the anxiety level rising, she lies in my lap and the pressure of the weight of her body provides calming therapy on my torso, for as long as I need her.
One challenge of having a service dog is public ignorance. Everytime we go out, someone asks if they can pet her (No), or just pets her without asking. If they don’t pet her, they talk to her, which is pretty much the same as petting because they’re drawing her attention away from me. Cesar teaches don’t touch, don’t talk, don’t make eye contact.
An issue I’ve been dealing with is lack of understanding of the difference between service and therapy dogs. A service dog serves only its handler. A therapy dog is trained to serve others, such as in hospitals, to provide calming therapy for people. I was asked to have Sadie certified as a therapy dog, but I couldn’t agree to it because of the differing purposes of the service and therapy animals. For 5 years, I was a Hospice volunteer, visiting patients for an hour a week, in their homes, in the hospital, in care homes – wherever they were. A few had house pets, so I left my dog in the car during the visit (always in safe, shaded places, with water). Every other patient loved having my dog come with me to visit them. I made an exception to the no pet rule with hospice patients because it meant so much to them. I had to resign a few months ago because they wrote a set of guidelines that specifies only certified therapy dogs could go with volunteers. I hated to give up that volunteer job. I think it helped me get out and interact with others, and it gave me a chance to give out to those who have a real need.

How has a pet or animal helped you? Share your story with us.

Of course, Sadie’s more than a pet, though she is that, too, but she provides the companionship of a pet, the devotion and unconditional love. I’ll try to share pictures of Barnabas (brown and white) and Sadie (black and white). (Sorry I couldn’t change the orientation of the picture of Sadie.)

@hopeful33250

Jim, @jimhd

Your post about the value of animals in your life was inspiring. I so enjoyed the pictures!

By the way, how do you deal with “public ignorance”? Do you have a statement you use to discourage folks from petting or talking to Sadie?

Teresa

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@ayankeeinnm , I’m so sorry that you lost your best friend. How is your son doing with the loss of his only friend? It must have been devastating.

Jim

REPLY
@hopeful33250

Jim, @jimhd

Your post about the value of animals in your life was inspiring. I so enjoyed the pictures!

By the way, how do you deal with “public ignorance”? Do you have a statement you use to discourage folks from petting or talking to Sadie?

Teresa

Jump to this post

@ayankeeinnm @danybegood1 @liz223

Our daughter’s shih tzu, Toby, is causing her a lot of stress. Every time her baby cries or makes some other sound, Toby barks. He doesn’t do it around any other baby, and he doesn’t react to our granddaughter’s recorded crying. They’re doing everything that a trainer, who came to their home, recommended.

So, to give them a break, we’re bringing Toby home with us after our visit with them for Thanksgiving. By the time they come here for Christmas, we are hoping that Toby will move past this habit, and they can take him back home. Our daughter is feeling the stress of tending to her baby, and at the same time, having to deal with the dog. We hope that Toby gets along with our Pete and Sadie. They were here for a week two months ago, so I’m sure they’ll take up where they left off.

I don’t think I mentioned that a month or two ago, Sadie was attacked by two large rottweiler/lab mix dogs, and would soon have been killed without my pulling her away from them and kicking them off her. One had her flank and was shaking her, while the other was at her throat. At one point, she was on her back. I was able to drag her to a door that was close by. She had a tear under her chin, and a number of puncture wounds on her back. I took her right to the vet, who cleaned the wounds, and gave her some antibiotics to take for a few days.

Sadie is now afraid of other dogs, and has regressed in some of her training. I’m a little concerned that she could turn aggressive toward other dogs. She had overcome her timidity in new places, but we’re back to working on that. I have her sit beside me if another dog is around, and reassure her that she’s ok. Of course, being a service dog, she’s not supposed to interact with other dogs or people, so it’s ok if she snuggles up to me when people (or dogs) approach her or speak to her.

We’re both still recovering from that trauma. I think that in time, Sadie will settle down and become less fearful with lots of calm reassurance. She’s still comfortable in familiar settings and with people and animals she knows. I hope we’ll overcome this, because I don’t want to lose her as my service dog.

Someone suggested I find a kennel club, so she could sit with me and just watch dogs in a safe place, but I haven’t been able to find any place like that around. I might try taking her to a dog park while we’re at our daughter’s next week, and keep her on the leash, without any interaction with dogs. We’ll see how it goes.

Jim

REPLY
@hopeful33250

Jim, @jimhd

Your post about the value of animals in your life was inspiring. I so enjoyed the pictures!

By the way, how do you deal with “public ignorance”? Do you have a statement you use to discourage folks from petting or talking to Sadie?

Teresa

Jump to this post

Hi @jimhd

I hope Toby’s visit with you (and Pete and Sadie) goes well. Keep us posted as to how they are getting along.

Teresa

REPLY

Jim …. I loved your story. Right now I am struggling terribly. Several years ago I had a Cavalier Charles Spaniel, whom I just put down about a year ago – the classic congestive heart failure that seems to be part of the breed – she was 11. I’m 73, divorced, live alone in a limited-income apartment and life has not been the same since she’s been gone. I had her since she was 4 – she was what they call a “velcro-dog.” Well, it’s a year now, and I’m terribly lonesome. I moved nearer to where my girls live, after much hounding, and otherwise here I am …. they keep saying to “get in a women’s ‘meet up’ group” ….. that is NOT me. I have not yet found a church where a lot of my real friends are in MD (I’m now in VA), and I am so sorry I moved. I decided to get another dog – a companion. After much time looking, I’ve been in contact with a foster mother, also in VA, she is fostering a dear little bassett/spaniel mix – black and white about 1-2 years old. She’s told me a lot about him – sweet, no problem with cats, loving disposition, and another velcro-dog. We’ve beet interacting for about 2 months now, and early Feb. I’m going to pick him up. I’ve gotten the OK from the Mgmt. where I live, my references including my Vet., all came back great, and I’m very excited about this. I struggle with Bipolar 2. Well, it seems my family (my 3 adult kids and, believe it or not, my X – like it’s his business) don’t think this is a good idea. They say all the standard things …. “you’ll have to walk him, you’ll have to pick up after him, you’ll have to take him to the Vet.” OMG they’re making me nuts. I am so upset today that I’ve kept my phone off because I know I’ll say something I shouldn’t and then later regret. About 2-3 months ago I sent my 3 kids (all adults) info. on Bipolar 2 hoping they’d read it and maybe understand a bit more. Well, if they did read it, it didn’t sink in because nothing has changed. I AM getting this dog …. I’m 73, in excellent health, and extremely lonesome. But, I’m upset that I’m getting absolutely no support from my family. All these stupid reasons ….. I’ve had a dog – Molly – so do they think I’m not aware of what’s involved. Anyhow, I feel so very sad, tearful, and I just want to move back to MD. Here I am, I see them once a week (I do not expect more because they all have lives too), and otherwise I’m alone with my 2 cats … they’re sweet cats, but they’re not like a dog at all. Anyhow, I am heartbroken that they won’t support me in this and I wonder what is next that they won’t support me with. Oh how I wish I’d never moved here.
abby

REPLY
@amberpep

Jim …. I loved your story. Right now I am struggling terribly. Several years ago I had a Cavalier Charles Spaniel, whom I just put down about a year ago – the classic congestive heart failure that seems to be part of the breed – she was 11. I’m 73, divorced, live alone in a limited-income apartment and life has not been the same since she’s been gone. I had her since she was 4 – she was what they call a “velcro-dog.” Well, it’s a year now, and I’m terribly lonesome. I moved nearer to where my girls live, after much hounding, and otherwise here I am …. they keep saying to “get in a women’s ‘meet up’ group” ….. that is NOT me. I have not yet found a church where a lot of my real friends are in MD (I’m now in VA), and I am so sorry I moved. I decided to get another dog – a companion. After much time looking, I’ve been in contact with a foster mother, also in VA, she is fostering a dear little bassett/spaniel mix – black and white about 1-2 years old. She’s told me a lot about him – sweet, no problem with cats, loving disposition, and another velcro-dog. We’ve beet interacting for about 2 months now, and early Feb. I’m going to pick him up. I’ve gotten the OK from the Mgmt. where I live, my references including my Vet., all came back great, and I’m very excited about this. I struggle with Bipolar 2. Well, it seems my family (my 3 adult kids and, believe it or not, my X – like it’s his business) don’t think this is a good idea. They say all the standard things …. “you’ll have to walk him, you’ll have to pick up after him, you’ll have to take him to the Vet.” OMG they’re making me nuts. I am so upset today that I’ve kept my phone off because I know I’ll say something I shouldn’t and then later regret. About 2-3 months ago I sent my 3 kids (all adults) info. on Bipolar 2 hoping they’d read it and maybe understand a bit more. Well, if they did read it, it didn’t sink in because nothing has changed. I AM getting this dog …. I’m 73, in excellent health, and extremely lonesome. But, I’m upset that I’m getting absolutely no support from my family. All these stupid reasons ….. I’ve had a dog – Molly – so do they think I’m not aware of what’s involved. Anyhow, I feel so very sad, tearful, and I just want to move back to MD. Here I am, I see them once a week (I do not expect more because they all have lives too), and otherwise I’m alone with my 2 cats … they’re sweet cats, but they’re not like a dog at all. Anyhow, I am heartbroken that they won’t support me in this and I wonder what is next that they won’t support me with. Oh how I wish I’d never moved here.
abby

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@amberpep

So you are getting your dog, how nice! It would be good to have your family support you in this, but I’m sure you will enjoy your new little friend.

Teresa

REPLY
@amberpep

Jim …. I loved your story. Right now I am struggling terribly. Several years ago I had a Cavalier Charles Spaniel, whom I just put down about a year ago – the classic congestive heart failure that seems to be part of the breed – she was 11. I’m 73, divorced, live alone in a limited-income apartment and life has not been the same since she’s been gone. I had her since she was 4 – she was what they call a “velcro-dog.” Well, it’s a year now, and I’m terribly lonesome. I moved nearer to where my girls live, after much hounding, and otherwise here I am …. they keep saying to “get in a women’s ‘meet up’ group” ….. that is NOT me. I have not yet found a church where a lot of my real friends are in MD (I’m now in VA), and I am so sorry I moved. I decided to get another dog – a companion. After much time looking, I’ve been in contact with a foster mother, also in VA, she is fostering a dear little bassett/spaniel mix – black and white about 1-2 years old. She’s told me a lot about him – sweet, no problem with cats, loving disposition, and another velcro-dog. We’ve beet interacting for about 2 months now, and early Feb. I’m going to pick him up. I’ve gotten the OK from the Mgmt. where I live, my references including my Vet., all came back great, and I’m very excited about this. I struggle with Bipolar 2. Well, it seems my family (my 3 adult kids and, believe it or not, my X – like it’s his business) don’t think this is a good idea. They say all the standard things …. “you’ll have to walk him, you’ll have to pick up after him, you’ll have to take him to the Vet.” OMG they’re making me nuts. I am so upset today that I’ve kept my phone off because I know I’ll say something I shouldn’t and then later regret. About 2-3 months ago I sent my 3 kids (all adults) info. on Bipolar 2 hoping they’d read it and maybe understand a bit more. Well, if they did read it, it didn’t sink in because nothing has changed. I AM getting this dog …. I’m 73, in excellent health, and extremely lonesome. But, I’m upset that I’m getting absolutely no support from my family. All these stupid reasons ….. I’ve had a dog – Molly – so do they think I’m not aware of what’s involved. Anyhow, I feel so very sad, tearful, and I just want to move back to MD. Here I am, I see them once a week (I do not expect more because they all have lives too), and otherwise I’m alone with my 2 cats … they’re sweet cats, but they’re not like a dog at all. Anyhow, I am heartbroken that they won’t support me in this and I wonder what is next that they won’t support me with. Oh how I wish I’d never moved here.
abby

Jump to this post

Hi Abby, I am so glad I saw your post! I’m 55 and I got a puppy about 5 months ago. I have chronic illness and was going downhill last summer and after seeing other people get puppies in my apartment building decided to get a puppy. I had no pets at the time and hadn’t had dogs or cats for 3.5 years. I was missing having a dog too! I struggle with depression and anxiety, so I totally understand. I think you are doing the right thing and I am totally supporting this! I dreaded telling my 75 yr old mom about getting a puppy because I knew it would be a negative reaction, and I was right. When I told her she said Oh No. She got over it fast thankfully. My dad wanted to hear all about the puppy, so that helped. My sisters love dogs too, so nothing negative. My wayward 20 yr old daughter who lives in Texas (I had to move to Utah because of my extreme allergy to airborne mold), was jealous – which I expected. She also has bipolar, but is using meth and heroine to feel good, and, unfortunately, and sadly, I don’t have much contact with her. I went to a support group for parents of kids with Substance Abuse Disorder and the leader of the group said getting the puppy was absolutely the right thing to do! All the other ladies in the group had dogs. My dog is an “Emotional Support Animal.” If you have to move and they say they don’t allow pets there – you can get your doctor to write a letter saying that your dog is an “Emotional Support” dog. No one can legally turn you and your dog away. Also, if you ever had to fly in a plane and take your dog with you the airlines cannot charge you for the dog’s fare, so the dog flies free. This is the law now and you can find that information on the internet, or someone can help you with that if you need to find it. Your doctor probably knows about this too. That’s how I was able to get permission to have my dog where I lived last summer. The doctor faxed the landlord’s form after I filled out part of it. It was very easy to do. I know you will forget all about this sadness when you get the new friend! You will not care how much “trouble” the dog is. You will manage it and you will wake up each day and see that precious face looking at you, happy to see you, and full of love for you! I hope you have a better day now! I am really happy for you! My Audrey has improved my life immensely! Good luck and I hope to hear more! Jess

REPLY

Oh Jess, what a wonderful story ….. I’m so happy for you. I’m picking my new buddy up Feb. 3. He’s a mix between a bassett hound and a cocker, and his foster mother says he is a real sweetie. He was found wandering around the neighborhood – no collar, no microchip, no tag. She said he’s a real velcro-dog, which is exactly how Molly was. I’ve decided to name him “Keller” which in Gaelic means “little companion.” I feel like a little kid waiting for the tooth fairy!
The Mgt. here has approved, my therapist sent a letter, and all my friends are delighted, knowing how lonesome I’ve been here. The only people totally against this are my kids! They have no idea what it has been like for me down here, and ….. get this – they all have dogs – big dogs – Newfoundland, Cockapoo, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyranese, and a Vizsla. So, I’m to pay them any listening time ….. absolutely NOT!
abby

REPLY
@amberpep

Oh Jess, what a wonderful story ….. I’m so happy for you. I’m picking my new buddy up Feb. 3. He’s a mix between a bassett hound and a cocker, and his foster mother says he is a real sweetie. He was found wandering around the neighborhood – no collar, no microchip, no tag. She said he’s a real velcro-dog, which is exactly how Molly was. I’ve decided to name him “Keller” which in Gaelic means “little companion.” I feel like a little kid waiting for the tooth fairy!
The Mgt. here has approved, my therapist sent a letter, and all my friends are delighted, knowing how lonesome I’ve been here. The only people totally against this are my kids! They have no idea what it has been like for me down here, and ….. get this – they all have dogs – big dogs – Newfoundland, Cockapoo, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyranese, and a Vizsla. So, I’m to pay them any listening time ….. absolutely NOT!
abby

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Keller is an awesome name, that’s interesting about the meaning of his name. My parents’ have a dog that they found wandering around in their neighborhood, many years ago, he turned out to be the best dog ever! He’s still around but getting old. I love the “velcro dog” description, that’s great. I had a dog once that was 8 mos old and was not a pet, she belonged to a breeder. When I got her she never left my side. They know what it’s like to not be someone’s pet and they are so happy to have a home. Jess

REPLY

Hi Jim ….. Your post was wonderful, and so very true. I wish everyone understood how important these little creatures become to us …. they’re part of our family …. truly unconditional love.
I’m finally getting another dog on Feb. 3 and I can’t wait. Molly died a year ago and I’m ready. This little fellow is part bassett hound and part cocker … I’m picturing this long body with short legs …. he’s not like that as I’ve seen pictures of him. I’ve communicated with the foster Mom almost daily finding out as much as I could about him. Apparently he is another velcro-dog, like my Molly was ….. perfect! Just what I need. I’m going to name him Keller which in Gaelic means “little companion.” I’m Scotch.
I moved from MD to VA about 1-1/2 years ago at the insistence of my 2 girls who live here, and my son, but he lives near D.C. I did not want to move … I loved it there, my condo, my friends, church, community …. just everything. Well, finally I relented and moved. After 1-1/2 yrs. I just am not happy here. I love seeing my girls and 2 grandkids, but that’s infrequent and then here I am. So, I decided it was time for another little friend …. thus Keller will be coming to my home soon. My kids just don’t get it …. they’re totally against me getting another dog …. why? oh, he might make me fall (I’m not feeble), I’ll have to clean up his do-do (like I didn’t with Molly), the expense of taking care of him … Molly was sickly from the beginning as she was a puppy mill dog. They are all totally against this and letting me know it loud and clear, and yet it makes no sense. About 6 months ago I sent the 3 of them a brief article about Bipolar 2, which is me, hoping they would be a bit more understanding of everything, not just a dog. Well, I don’t know if they read it or not as it doesn’t show in their behavior. I saw my therapist today – he’s in MD and I make the 3 hr. drive up, and we’re going to start to meet every week for awhile while I get over this hump. It’s that same old deep dark hole, with me in it, covered by a cold wet black blanket and no one cares. I know a little friend will help …. just the joy of having another snuggler with me will be wonderful. I wish my kids could be more compassionate, and I wish I’d have never sold my condo in MD and moved to VA.
abby

REPLY
@amberpep

Hi Jim ….. Your post was wonderful, and so very true. I wish everyone understood how important these little creatures become to us …. they’re part of our family …. truly unconditional love.
I’m finally getting another dog on Feb. 3 and I can’t wait. Molly died a year ago and I’m ready. This little fellow is part bassett hound and part cocker … I’m picturing this long body with short legs …. he’s not like that as I’ve seen pictures of him. I’ve communicated with the foster Mom almost daily finding out as much as I could about him. Apparently he is another velcro-dog, like my Molly was ….. perfect! Just what I need. I’m going to name him Keller which in Gaelic means “little companion.” I’m Scotch.
I moved from MD to VA about 1-1/2 years ago at the insistence of my 2 girls who live here, and my son, but he lives near D.C. I did not want to move … I loved it there, my condo, my friends, church, community …. just everything. Well, finally I relented and moved. After 1-1/2 yrs. I just am not happy here. I love seeing my girls and 2 grandkids, but that’s infrequent and then here I am. So, I decided it was time for another little friend …. thus Keller will be coming to my home soon. My kids just don’t get it …. they’re totally against me getting another dog …. why? oh, he might make me fall (I’m not feeble), I’ll have to clean up his do-do (like I didn’t with Molly), the expense of taking care of him … Molly was sickly from the beginning as she was a puppy mill dog. They are all totally against this and letting me know it loud and clear, and yet it makes no sense. About 6 months ago I sent the 3 of them a brief article about Bipolar 2, which is me, hoping they would be a bit more understanding of everything, not just a dog. Well, I don’t know if they read it or not as it doesn’t show in their behavior. I saw my therapist today – he’s in MD and I make the 3 hr. drive up, and we’re going to start to meet every week for awhile while I get over this hump. It’s that same old deep dark hole, with me in it, covered by a cold wet black blanket and no one cares. I know a little friend will help …. just the joy of having another snuggler with me will be wonderful. I wish my kids could be more compassionate, and I wish I’d have never sold my condo in MD and moved to VA.
abby

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Hi again Jim …. maybe you could get her one of those little orange vests that says, “Please don’t touch me, I’m working.” I don’t know where you can get them but I’m sure a police department could tell you.
abby

REPLY
@amberpep

Oh Jess, what a wonderful story ….. I’m so happy for you. I’m picking my new buddy up Feb. 3. He’s a mix between a bassett hound and a cocker, and his foster mother says he is a real sweetie. He was found wandering around the neighborhood – no collar, no microchip, no tag. She said he’s a real velcro-dog, which is exactly how Molly was. I’ve decided to name him “Keller” which in Gaelic means “little companion.” I feel like a little kid waiting for the tooth fairy!
The Mgt. here has approved, my therapist sent a letter, and all my friends are delighted, knowing how lonesome I’ve been here. The only people totally against this are my kids! They have no idea what it has been like for me down here, and ….. get this – they all have dogs – big dogs – Newfoundland, Cockapoo, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyranese, and a Vizsla. So, I’m to pay them any listening time ….. absolutely NOT!
abby

Jump to this post

Hi Jess ….. that’s where they found Keller …. he was just sadly wandering around the neighborhood. Finally the foster Mom took him in and notified the Humane Society. They checked him out, neutered him, microchipped him, and gave him his shots, then they gave him to the foster Mom til a home could be found. That would be MY home ….. I am so excited to finally have another companion. The love and faithfulness of a pet cannot be overstated.
abby

REPLY
@amberpep

Hi Jim ….. Your post was wonderful, and so very true. I wish everyone understood how important these little creatures become to us …. they’re part of our family …. truly unconditional love.
I’m finally getting another dog on Feb. 3 and I can’t wait. Molly died a year ago and I’m ready. This little fellow is part bassett hound and part cocker … I’m picturing this long body with short legs …. he’s not like that as I’ve seen pictures of him. I’ve communicated with the foster Mom almost daily finding out as much as I could about him. Apparently he is another velcro-dog, like my Molly was ….. perfect! Just what I need. I’m going to name him Keller which in Gaelic means “little companion.” I’m Scotch.
I moved from MD to VA about 1-1/2 years ago at the insistence of my 2 girls who live here, and my son, but he lives near D.C. I did not want to move … I loved it there, my condo, my friends, church, community …. just everything. Well, finally I relented and moved. After 1-1/2 yrs. I just am not happy here. I love seeing my girls and 2 grandkids, but that’s infrequent and then here I am. So, I decided it was time for another little friend …. thus Keller will be coming to my home soon. My kids just don’t get it …. they’re totally against me getting another dog …. why? oh, he might make me fall (I’m not feeble), I’ll have to clean up his do-do (like I didn’t with Molly), the expense of taking care of him … Molly was sickly from the beginning as she was a puppy mill dog. They are all totally against this and letting me know it loud and clear, and yet it makes no sense. About 6 months ago I sent the 3 of them a brief article about Bipolar 2, which is me, hoping they would be a bit more understanding of everything, not just a dog. Well, I don’t know if they read it or not as it doesn’t show in their behavior. I saw my therapist today – he’s in MD and I make the 3 hr. drive up, and we’re going to start to meet every week for awhile while I get over this hump. It’s that same old deep dark hole, with me in it, covered by a cold wet black blanket and no one cares. I know a little friend will help …. just the joy of having another snuggler with me will be wonderful. I wish my kids could be more compassionate, and I wish I’d have never sold my condo in MD and moved to VA.
abby

Jump to this post

@amberpep

Sadie wears a red service dog vest that has a Do Not Pet notice on it. People will be petting her and see the Do Not Pet, laugh and comment and go right on petting her. Pretty amazing.

I’m sure glad you’re getting a dog. They do provide a lot of therapy.

I know what you’re describing. I sometimes feel myself getting close to the hole, and sometimes falling in. I was at the bottom of the dark hole for several years. I don’t want to find myself back in the bottom of the hole. I’ve been feeling like I’m heading that way lately. Having Thursday to look forward to is all that keeps me going. I’m glad you have been able to get weekly appointments. I know how important that is.

I have experienced the stigma and lack of education about mental illness, not just with my family, but others whom I thought were my friends. When they learned about my depression and other stuff, especially my suicide attempts, they turned the other way and abandoned me. That made me go even deeper into the darkness.

I know that you’ll be greatly blessed by your new dog.

Jim

REPLY
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