I persuaded my boyfriend to get a dog. He wasn’t so sure at first, but he didn’t realise that it would soon be the best thing we ever could have done. We visited the Dog’s Trust in Basildon shortly after my birthday in March this year, and it was there that we found Murph – a bundle of energy that jumped up at us to say hello as soon as she saw us. She was a clumsy-footed, strong-willed, lump of fur that pulled me for a walk on the lead, and she was a lot bigger than the ‘small-to-medium’ sized dog that we were originally looking for. Nevertheless, we knew we couldn’t leave without her. Murph, or Murphy as we renamed her, finally came to her forever home with her forever parents a few days later. And little did we know that we’d adopted the soppiest of pups!
My reasoning for getting a dog was to help me feel happier, less lonely, and to assist me with the separation anxiety that I constantly felt for my boyfriend Tom. Having a companion that I felt a connection with meant that someone or something would finally understand me without even having to speak.
Murphy, our 2-year-old German Shepherd crossbreed who we believe was once a stray in Ireland, seems to have a sixth sense and knows how I’m feeling sometimes before I even recognise it myself. I still find it incredible how this intelligent creature can detect when I feel sad or down, and will come for a cuddle and a ‘kiss’ (lots of face licks!) to make me feel better in these times of need.
Having a dog comes with heaps of responsibility too – lots of money for food and toys, vets bills, daily walks, picking up poop, and finding the time to train them and give them the attention they so desperately require – especially when you are majorly in a rush to leave the house and they roll over for a belly rub and give you the ‘puppy eyes’! Murphy has given me the motivation to get up out of bed on a lot of occasions (which is a real achievement for me!) and has gifted me with the drive to start my day. She has also gifted me with a lot of chewed up possessions! However I am currently in France for a week without Murphy, and this has made me realise what she brings to my life. When she jumps on the bed to wake me up in the morning. When she goes crazy after I jingle her lead ready for a walk. When I watch her playing with other dogs at the park, like I’m watching my own child play and socialise with other children. When she’s still learning how to coordinate and jumps sideways trying to catch a ball. When she sits and watches TV with me. When she keeps me company if I’m feeling alone.
Without a doubt, she has completely enhanced my quality of life.
Going out and about is personally very difficult – there’s the depression and lack of motivation that causes a struggle for me to get out of bed. Then there’s the anxiety that kicks in before I get out the door and holds me back when I do finally step outside. Having Murphy has created a reason to go out every day, and since having her I’ve made a conscious effort to walk her. A few months back, my challenge was to walk her on my own, up the road to the park, round the park, and back home. It seemed like it would take years to complete my challenge, as at first I would only walk her if I was with someone else – normally Tom or my mum. I gradually built up the confidence to walk her round the block on my own, and then round the block twice on my own. A few weeks passed and I was able to walk her to the local park and back, but not yet round the park without my anxiety taking over and making me pretty much run back home to safety. Cut a long story short, I completed my challenge. It took about a month, but I did it. The problem, now, is that I’ve got to a point again where I very rarely take her for a walk on my own. I didn’t keep it up, and now I’m back to square one. However, it still does me the world of good being able to get out and about, even if Tom has to persuade me and my overpowering anxiety. It opens up my eyes and the fresh air cleans my lenses – I begin to see the beauty of the world. Well, as much beauty as the backstreets of Southend can possibly provide. =D
I knew that I’d give a dog a second chance in life by rescuing it, but I didn’t realise that the dog would give me a new lease of life in return.
If you’re thinking about getting a dog, please #adoptdontshop.