For as long as I can remember, I have loved dogs. So, what’s new? A lot of people claim to be dog lovers, right? But for me, I really mean it. I love any dog. Any breed. Any size. Even the real stinky ones! I honestly cannot think of a single “type” of dog that I would not home if he or she needed me to.
For the past seven years, since he was just twelve weeks old, I have been absolutely blessed with my gorgeous Lurcher/German Shepherd/Ridgeback cross. A liquorice allsorts, if you will! Bailey has spent the past seven years closely by my side, bringing me much joy and fulfilment in my life. On some of my darkest days, where I have felt absolutely broken and overwhelmed by life, he has provided me with the gentle and unconditional support that only dogs can give to us. The connection between humans and dogs is something quite beautiful and unique in my opinion, and I truly believe that I am so privileged to be able to have this wonderful creature living with me in my home, and sharing his life and love with me.
In recent months in particular, my anxiety has been very intense at times, and I feel like in many ways Bailey has kept me off of the edge. Knowing that he needs me, and seeing the way he looks at me with such sincere concern when I am hurting, has repeatedly reminded me that I have so much good in my life that I need to remember.
Now, it is worth noting here that whilst I adore Bailey and am so grateful to have him, he has been known to be rather cheeky at times! He is well known for sneakily stealing food when we are not watching him, sneaking into our bed at night and squishing himself in between us, (leaving us both clutching on to the edge of the bed!) and taking great joy out of chasing after anything that runs or moves…cats, dogs, birds, bees…you name it, he will have a great time chasing it! But nonetheless, the emotional support Bailey provides to me well and truly makes up for his mischievous streak.
Anyone who regularly reads my blog will know that something that is really important to me, is doing good for others. I honestly believe that when we are struggling with our mental health, doing good deeds and helping others is an incredible form of therapy, and greatly boosts our self esteem and self worth.
So, yesterday, whilst attending a dog show, I got speaking to a charity who look for volunteer dog owners, who can take their dogs to care homes, hospices, shelters, children’s hospitals etc, with the idea of the dogs visiting people who subsequently benefit from the emotional support dogs can provide to them. The owners stay with the dogs, and people are able to pet the dog and play with them. The charity recognises that the joy dogs can bring to people is incredibly beneficial for the wellbeing of many people, and dogs often have a way of uplifting our spirits just by being around and showing us affection. It can also be a great way to fight loneliness often experienced by some of the elderly residents in such places.
Of course, any potential volunteer dogs have to pass an assessment first, to prove they are safe, friendly, and happy to accept a fuss. So, guess who is signed up for an assessment?! Will he make the grade? Or will his cheeky streak cost him the gig?! Time will tell! Wish him luck everyone!!!
Until next time!