A sideshow to my mental health diagnosis in 2011 was my Boxer dog, Max. Max and I enjoyed a great relationship. He was the first dog that I had since leaving home. He came everywhere with me even to work, so when things began to spiral out of control, I did the unthinkable. I found myself living in my mum and dads shed at the bottom of the garden. Winter approached, and I would have to move inside the house. My parents did not want Max to come inside. I do have to remember I wasn’t well, but I found another home for him. Sadly it didn’t work out I think Max was a one-man dog. The new owners wanted me to take Max back after a month, but I was getting pressure from all sides not to have him. I contacted a boxer rescue organisation who took Max to find him a new home. They called me to say Max had bitten a prospective owner so they could not rehome him and he would live his life out in kennels. One Saturday morning I said to my daughter ‘come on, let’s go and bring Max home’, and we did. Now he was delighted to see my daughter, but he made me work hard to re-establish our relationship. It was, however, the best decision I ever made. I got a flat, and we settled into our new life, Max and I, with our daughter joining us after weekends. I now with all this time on my hands had an anchor.
At a workshop put on by my health professionals, a psychologist came and spoke at length about mental health. She asked those attending to put their hands up if they had stayed in bed all day because of low mood. I was the only person without my hand up. She came over to me and said ‘Your hand isn’t raised?’
‘If you haven’t lay in bed all day, then your condition isn’t as bad did you think’.
‘I have a boxer dog’. She was momentarily stunned she did not know what to say, and then a light went on; she got it. I had a reason to get up I had to at the very least let Max go to the toilet. You see, I thought I rescued Max that day at the kennels, but he saved me, and we had three move beautiful years together.
Now I’m a great believer in timings. When Max died at just 9, I thought my world was ending. We woke up one Saturday morning, and I walked him my daughter Watch TV. We came home, and he didn’t eat his breakfast. I took a shower, and when I returned to the living room, there was blood everywhere. It turned out that Max had a tumour on his throat that had burst and he was put to sleep that afternoon. Ten days later, my life began its turn for the better, and I possibly wouldn’t have been there that day had Max not left me because of the responsibilities of having a dog. I went to a Health Exhibition as a volunteer for an organisation I was with when cupids arrow hit me right between the eyes. In time I came to learn the feelings were mutual. Max passed the baton to her as though he said ‘he is all yours now take him good care of him’.
To be continued….