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Upon awakening this morning, I found an old enemy of mine hovering around, trying to get back into my life. I’m talking about depression. I’ve fought depression for many years. I still get to slap it around now and then. Thankfully, depression and dogs don’t go together usually. Our dogs, in fact, make depression easier to handle. Here is why.
One of the biggest helps against depression is good health. If I’m eating well, getting some fresh air and sunshine daily, and moving about a reasonable amount, then I do much better emotionally.
All of this is facilitated, in my case, by having a dog who insists on spending time outside several times a day. He also demands a minimum amount of exercise daily and quite deliberately adds an overtone of brattiness to every daily activity. This, of course, keeps me amused and thinking fast.
This morning, for instance, he insisted, through piteous squeaking, that he needed to go. Right now! So, since I can’t trust him not to taunt the neighbors’ dogs into an uproar, I go out on the back deck and watch him amble about, looking for a rabbit or mouse to terrorize.
The sunshine, fresh air and spring birdsong concert were all marvelous for lifting my spirits.
Then, coming back in, I began my daily morning routine of coffee and email reading. Hearing something odd in the family room, I peeked downstairs to see him tugging a seat cushion off my favorite chair.
“Hey!” I snapped sternly.
He promptly dropped the cushion, and sat down on it!
He seemed to be saying, “See, Mom – I’m using it properly. I just don’t need the arms on the armchair. Not having arms, as it were. No problem down here – go back to your email.”
This comes from the dog that ate my sofa. Seriously. It looked like it had been used for target practice by the local VFW, using their cannon.
Needless to say, the cushion was rescued and the dog was chastised. He obviously found it highly amusing. Actually, so did I. Not because I have furniture to spare or the money to replace it. But because he looked so sincere and charming, sitting there on that cushion!
Another thing about the boy that helps is that he requires care. He’s a large breed, so even though a year old, he’s still a puppy, and he needs a lot of supervision.
He also needs feeding, playing with, water changes, brushing of fur and a lot of just general watching over. This means that I have to get up and moving, even when I don’t want to.
In fact, not wanting to means that I must get moving, if I want to overcome the depression. I think that maybe God knew what he was doing when he made dogs to be our companions. Our dogs just make our depression easier to handle.