One of the hardest things about beginning to recover from depression and/or anxiety is getting out of the safety of your home, running into old friends, and having to explain to them where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing for the last year.
Last January, when my anxiety and depression was pretty low, and diagnosis was very new to me, I had been in bed for three months, and the one thing I dreaded most about seeing my friends and family again was them asking me what I doing with my life at the moment, and what my plans were.
It was around this time I signed up for BorrowMyDoggy. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically an online dating site, but instead of seeking your romantic soul mate, you’re looking for some four legged furry company. Now I really want a dog, to keep me company, to distract me from my own thoughts a little bit, to love and play with, to get me out of bed. But, as I live in rented property, this isn’t really an option, and consequently, I decided to see if I could look after someone else’s dog instead.
A quick search for dogs in my area, a few messages, and a meeting with his lovely owner later, I soon met Jeff, the little white Cavachon with a huge personality. Into my life he bounded, a bundle of warm furry energy to keep me entertained and play with me all day in my depression. Jeff got me outside, out of bed, and moving again. He made me laugh and smile and kept me warm and always demanded my attention over the demons in my head.
But Jeff actually gave me even more than that. Pre-Jeff, I avoided anywhere I might see someone I knew. I knew that with Jeff however, I would be forced to walk him right across my old university campus, in front of the bike store I used to work, and indubitably I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep my face hidden from everyone forever.
And of course, I did run into people I knew. But suddenly, and to my great relief, I found that rather than asking how I was, or what I was up to in life- instead, it was all about Jeff. Who was he? Where was he from? Can I hold him? Is he friendly? Does he want a treat?
I immediately and seamlessly slipped into being one of those people who talk about nothing but their dog. And I love it.
Jeff became my saving grace. I stopped being so scared of going outside. I began to meet new people, other dog walkers. I got more adventurous again. I could go food shopping without having a break down. I got more confident to go out without Jeff too. I got stronger. I even began to hope someone would see me, proud to have such a great dog to talk about who got all the attention. Now when people ask me what I’ve been up to I can tell them. I look after Jeff.
It wasn’t long before I made the progression to looking after all sorts of dogs, and even started getting paid for it. It’s a small business I guess. Right now in fact there’s a little maltese trying to clamber onto the sofa beside me, and yesterday I was walking a husky cross.
Looking after dogs was a real game changer for me in some ways. I’m still waiting to get a dog of my own, but I’m really loving looking after all of the pups I do already.
If you are based in the midlands (sorry international readers!) and are looking for someone to give your dog a loving home for either a long or short stay, get in touch, or find me on DogBuddy!
You can see some more pictures of the dogs I look after here. Enjoy 🙂
Hope you’re all well,
Stay breezey 🐩