J’aime Mon Chien

I started this blog to publish some of my uni work (to find how that turned out, refer here), to encourage me to write, and as a catharsis for my generally sombre and depressed state of mind. I wasn’t worried about traffic or who actually looked at it. It was like a daily therapy, allowing me to talk about my life and the things I like to do, to vent about things that annoy me, and the things I miss in life.

Take my dog for instance, a little black rescue mutt (whom I shall refer to as Black Doggo, as I like to think of him as a little pirate) that my ex-wife and I acquired about six months before our break up. She got Black Doggo in the breakup and I haven’t seen him since. I think she may have gotten rid of him, but can’t be sure as we haven’t spoken in over two years (except via divorce lawyers) and my emails and letters have gotten nil response.

That little dog was originally acquired as my ex-wife wanted to walk more to lose weight. From the very first day (as I suspected), I became the one who walked Black Doggo, looked after him, took him everywhere. Because he was little (about twice as big as a Chihuahua), he conveniently fit nicely in my small car (my version of a handbag, I suppose). I would take him on long drives on weekends, walking along the beach, visiting parents and friends (a convenient substitute for my ex-wife).

I heard Joe Cocker’s You are so Beautiful today, and it brought tears to my eyes as I thought about Black Doggo. I will write to my wife again and ask if she still has him and whether I can take him off her hands. I’m not allowed to have an animal where I live at the moment, but I think one look at his cute little face and any “objections from management” might be lifted.

I’ve only owned one other dog, a German Shepherd rescued from RSPCA death row (once again acquired by an ex-girlfriend, then left with me indefinitely). I had her (the dog, not the girlfriend) for ten wonderful years until she died of cancer. I cried like a baby as I carried her body from the vet’s to my car so I could bury her. I don’t think people in the waiting room were prepared for such a display of emotion from a man (this is Australia, after all).

It’s amazing the attachments we form with our animals. Often they are more valued to us than the attachments we form with other humans. It’s a fact that companion animals can help people living with depression and other mental illnesses*, by reducing anxiety and stress.

Dogs are incredibly loving and giving, they never hate (unless cruel owners teach them to), and are always there for you. Based on my track record with human partners, I’ll probably be at the end of my allotted time, lying in my death bed with a dog by my bedside.

And that’s okay with me.

 

*Don’t believe me? Check out the links below. And, yes, my spelling above is English, not American. Don’t hold that against me.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/pets-and-mental-health

http://au.reachout.com/pets-and-mental-health

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/07/cats-dogs.aspx

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-hark/pet-ownership-health_b_3187960.html

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