Whew, that was a super long hiatus. I can only apologise for seemingly up and leaving for what has been the best part of five months.
If you’ve read the last blog that I uploaded, you’ll know that I’ve been having some issues with my mental health. While I’m nowhere near back to my old self, there’s one reason for my steady progression back to feeling confident enough to get my life back on track… and that’s my puppy.
Back in October, I went and picked up Onyx, my Flat Coated Retriever pup and from that day on, my life has actually felt complete. I’ve always known dogs are great for mental health – and even health in general, meaning dog owners may live longer – but since he has come into my complete mess of a life, he’s kept me focused and – the most important part – happy.
However, I have had people question me getting a dog. Am I just replacing someone? Did I buy him for the wrong reasons? My absolute favourite thing to call people up on, though, is the “he’s just a dog” argument. No. Let me get this out there. Onyx isn’t “Just a dog”. He is so much more.
My “just a dog” is my only company in those early hours where my brain is in overdrive and I can’t sleep.
My insomnia has lessened greatly in the past two months since he joined the family… and that’s mainly because he sleeps in my room (but not on the bed – he doesn’t always like that!).
My “just a dog” has made me feel like I’m worth something to someone other than my family and friends.
He follows me around and relies on me to take care of him, and the fact he is thriving and so loving is showing me I do have worth – at least to him.
My “just a dog” is teaching me to be proud of my achievements.
He recently attended puppy training where the trainer commented the following. I’m proud of him for being so smart. I’m proud of myself that my confidence and encouragement is paying off and he’s growing up to be a great dog.
My “just a dog” is excited to be with me, even if I’ve only been out of his sight for a few minutes.
It’s been a while since anyone had been excited to see me, so to know someone misses me warms my heart.
My “just a dog” is the one who knows when I’m sick or upset.
He will come and nuzzle me and lick my face to cheer me up, or even fall asleep with me on the bed so that I know he’s there when I’m not feeling well.
My “just a dog” motivates me to get up and go to work every day so that I can afford to look after him.
He motivates me to get out into the world when my depression tries to keep me in my bed.
My “just a dog” loves me unconditionally. He doesn’t care that I’m not perfect.
He trusts me and he knows that we have each other. In turn, this shows me exactly what friendship is all about, helping me become a better friend overall.
My “just a dog” is teaching me to be patient.
I’m a very impatient person by nature, but training him has given me a new outlook and I’m dedicated to working as hard as I can.
My “just a dog” is my lifeline.
Without him, I dread to think what mental state I would be in right now. I still have my bad days – depression and anxiety don’t just go away – but to know he’s by my side and ready to play with me to pull me out of those moments is just…incredible.
Never underestimate the power of animals – they are more in tune with us than we are ourselves.
Welcome to the Excuse This Honesty family, Onyx!