Dog + Love = Wellness

breejoy2 Health Guide
  • I realize the title of this blog is a bit bold but I had a crazy experience coming home from Connecticut on the train that made me really want to discuss a great love in my life--my dog Dosey. She is my precious, alien looking creature whom I rescued from a wonderful organization out of Chantilly, VA called "A Forever Home". Not even my vet can tell me what breed she is. If I had to describe her, I would say half gremlin and half bat (70 pound bat). She has these hysterical matador ears and long fur growing out of her toes that makes her look like a character out of a Dr. Seuss book. I love her madly.

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    I got her at a time in my life when I was finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. I was suffering from a depression brought on by my mom's decline in health. I was feeling stuck in my living situation and bitter that life seemed to be on hold while I took care of her. I grew up with dogs and felt that having that kind of unconditional love back in my life might be just the right medicine. Dosey and I found each other about two months later, and my life improved immediately. A few months later, we received another blessing when Mom got her service dog, Arkin, My experience with them during the required training in New York helped to solidify my newfound peace. 


    So, back to my crazy experience. I was heading back home reading the book that I had started on my way to Connecticut. It's called "The Dogs of Dreamtime" by Karen Shanley. It's about the author's spiritual journey and how her dogs affected her life. I had come to a part in the story where she talks about a particular hardship (I don't want to ruin must read it!) leading her to Montana for a week of solo soul searching. She ends up releasing all the sadness from her past in a way that just made my tears flow out of nowhere. I thought of my own past (and the present too) and how I have always put everyone before me. I thought about the dogs of my childhood and what a great impact they had on my life. Through them, I learned that I would always have something to love that didn't require anything of me in return. When Dosey came into my life, I rediscovered that feeling and it brought to my world an intense sense of well being that I hadn't felt in quite some time. As I read Karen's words, I thought again of how much my dog means to me and the sense of calm and rightness she brings to my life. I was so overwhelmed with these thoughts as well as wanting to release my own sadness that I just cried. I wonder if the woman sitting next to me thought I was crazy!


    Billy sometimes accuses me having an unhealthy relationship with my dog. It's not that he's being unkind; it's just that he doesn't really get it. Nor does anyone who has never been deeply touched by a dog. My mom, on the other hand, definitely gets it. Not only does Arkin help her with everyday tasks. He is also her constant companion and gives her what I cannot-someone with whom she can wrap her arms around and express her deepest fears and sorrows, without being worried that her words might be overwhelming to the one who is "listening".


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    As for me, the scent of my girl's coat is all it takes to lower my blood pressure. I take her everywhere possible and even have a dog bed in my car. My morning walks with her are some of my most peaceful and clearheaded moments. Since my job upheaval, I have been unable to spend as much time with her as I used to. I can't take her to work anymore and I am gone most of the day. I hate leaving her home (even though she has my mom I know she misses me) and rush to get to her as soon as I clock out. Right now, there is not much I can do to change the situation and I know I can't love her any more than I already do. But I know that having her has enriched my life beyond measure, and for that I am forever grateful. Her very presence brings me an almost inexplicable joy, a love that knows no limits.


    I decided to write about my dog this week because I realized that she a huge part of my overall health. I can talk for hours about diet and exercise, work and stress, weddings and events. But the things that truly matter in the end have nothing at all to do with losing weight or making money. While those things are important, they do not make up the whole package. Dosey helps me to look at life through her eyes....all we need is basic and primal. Food, water, air, and companionship. Dog + Love = Happiness!       

Published On: February 04, 2010