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A year living with .....a rescue dog! Sunday May 7, 2017

A year ago, at the end of last May, Ruby Skittles bounded into our lives. We knew very little about her, being a rescue dog from Birmingham Dogs' Home.

This was a big gamble. I nor my kids had ever lived with a dog, nor did we know much about Ruby Skittles' history other than she was a stray.

A year on we have had some adventures, involving escapades, chasing other animals including catching a goose (I rescued it in time), trying to 'play' with bullocks and generally chewing her way through a number of household items including the remote control. There have been some highs and lows, but I certainly wouldn't be without her.

As I did my second dog walk today in the verdant, blossoming park behind my house, it occurred to me that there were some similarities with my illness.

It's 26 years ago when my first bout of depression hit. It was unknown, unrecognised and scary and resulted in hospitalisation. As I have grown, I have learnt to recognise, know and accept it.

I still have that forbidding feeling when I know another bout is going to descend... but I also know it's nature. I know that it's unwanted but also I know I will survive and get through. I have found ways of living with it, drugs, exercise, sleep and positive thinking, just as Ruby Skittles needed routine, food, exercise, love and a lot of patience.

I don't want to stretch the black dog analogy too much. Whereas Ruby's presence is generally positive, living with depression has presented multiple challenges and has been really painful.

It was a brave decision to take on Ruby and a brave decision to face my illness head on with the full enormity of it staring me in the face.

I wish for all Moodscopers today courage, strength and humour... now there must be time for a joke from Hopeful One!!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Orangeblossom Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 7:23am

Thanks for your lovely, encouraging blog, BrumMum. I found it a pleasure to read. Please give a hug to Ruby Skittles from me. Also a cyber hug to you from me.

Vintagecool Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 7:31am

BrumMum. Prior to being medicated I had a dog who was my best friend. We walked many miles together. A dog's affection always seem to be unlimited.

Tutti Frutti Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 8:32am

Hi BrumMum
Thanks for the blog.

Glad your rescue dog is working out well for you. Dogs aren't really my thing but I do insist on my cuddling rights with my daughter's gerbils. As I am the one who makes sure that they are properly looked after I think I deserve it.

I liked what you said about your illness. I know it's nature. I know it's unwanted but I know I will survive. Definitely struck a chord with me.

I have also enjoyed the blogs over the last couple of days but was just too emotionally exhausted to comment. Very tough stuff to deal with at work on Friday. Still things now looking up. Thanks to Marmalade Girl and others for their support earlier in the week.

Love to all
TF x

Sally Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 8:46am

Dogs are ace! I would like one, but not the tie at this stage in our lives, because we go away a fair bit . Their mood is catching, though, their grace in adversity admirable, and their unconditional love an example to us humans.
I am glad Ruby Skittles has enhanced your family's life, BrumMum, and although the wet walks will be something of a pain, the undoubted benefits that will result from having a pet will probably even help with the depression. You just have to smile when you see some of a dog's antics!
The depression, or fear of it returning, is always there, isn't it? Once bitten, twice shy, as the saying goes. I know my good times are limited, and the down months are probably approaching, but at least these days I have things in place to minimise the impact. And acceptance has become part of my vocabulary.
Go well, and thank you for posting. Enjoy Ruby.

Jane SG Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 9:53am

Dear BrumMum, reading your blog prompted me to get out of bed this morning and take my dog for a walk rather than waiting for family members to walk him. I feel down, and I'm now back on my bed just fighting a really good cry. But I'm so glad I went for the walk. Thank you x

Hopeful One Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 10:18am

Hi BrumMum- thanks for reminding us that having a pet animal , particularly dogs, has a positive influence on our mood . I suspect this is because they are non judgmental , give their love without conditions are are always there for one self.

You added humour and wondered if I might rise to the plate ... so here you are. They are Ken Dodd one liners ..

IMy Dad knew I was going to be a comedian. When I was a baby he said, 'Is this a joke?'

I haven't spoken to my mother-in-law for eighteen months. I don't like to interrupt

I' ve seen a topless lady ventriloquist - Nobody has ever seen her lips move!

I thought it would be a good idea to go into Politics, maybe I am a little old... but you know... I'd love to be Chancellor of the Exchequer - That way I'll be united with my money!

When asked if Ken believed in safe sex his answer came: 'Of course I do; I have an Iron Bar around the bed!

With thanks to Ken Dodd for keeping us rolling in the aisles.

Susannah Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 10:40am

Hi BrumMum

Thanks for a lovely positive blog.

Lexi Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 11:14am

Hi BrumMum. I adopted a dog about a year and a half ago. No one else in the family wanted a dog but I work from home and I wanted a companion. He had been a lot of work in the beginning but now I cannot imagine coming home to an empty house. He has walked with me, run with me, sat with me, slept with me, played with me and just been my friend through my ups and downs. I was always a cat person but since cat allergies abound in my house a dog seemed like a good option. Big hugs to you and Miss Ruby Skittles. xo Lexi

Mary Wednesday Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 1:28pm

My daughter was tested for allergies on Friday. Turns out she's allergic to cats. "That's it," I said, "she'll have to go!"

I have given way on dogs, as hubby is extremely allergic, but cats is non-negotiable. My two boys are so often my sanity.

I'd still love a dog though, a big soppy Newfoundland. I'd willingly put up with the dog hair, the slobber, the inescapable aroma of dog, just for the love of his/her heart - which is far bigger than any size of dog.

Tickle Ruby Skittles ears for me please, and have a hug for yourself

Vickie Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 4:41pm

Hi BrumMum,
Your blog is very timely for me. Going through a bit of a bad spell but your positive message reminded me what I need to do.
Virtual hugs XX

Anonymous Sun, May 7th 2017 @ 9:24pm

Thank you, Brum Mum. Your blogs always inspire me. I questioned the wisdom of acquiring a puppy myself and easily relate to young Ruby Skittles escapades and destructive tendencies. Trying to sell a house when the skirting boards are constantly being nibbled away is quite a challenge but the discipline of daily exercise come rain or shine - with or without a dog - is a help when tricky times return. Go well - and thank you again.

Molly Mon, May 8th 2017 @ 1:57am

Ruby Skittles is a great name. I don't own a dog but I have always looked after dogs - one I still do now, on a Friday. He is getting old now, but a pleasure to look after, trained well, he is the most obedient dog. I love him so much. He brightens my day, so affectionate, if I cry, he licks my tears away. He makes me leave the house because if I mention the word 'walk' he gets a little excited. Even when he is tired. Dogs are magic. I have lots of stories about different dogs, with their own personalities. What a great pleasure they are x

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