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September


Exercise and connection; Two very human and canine needs. Tuesday September 3, 2013

My friend's dog, Sussi, a springer spaniel, had 5 weeks with me while he moved house. Her arrival was fortuitous as I was in rather a low place at the time. But, quickly, I appreciated that taking her walking across miles of beach every day was doing both of us so much good. We're both built for movement, and, in her case, at considerable speed, especially when a bit of fruitless bird chasing is involved.

But, I also really saw how we were both built for connection. She didn't want to bother me but she always wanted to be where I was, whatever room I was in. Then she was happy. But, the thing is, so was I. I wonder if social isolation is, perhaps, the greatest destroyer of mental health and wellbeing. Yet, a depressed mind is such a lonely mind. What a paradox it is that making connection when we least want to do so actually can lift our mood to make it easier to build more connection.

If you don't have a dog but like the idea of one, well, maybe you can find one to walk, borrow someone's, or help at a rescue centre. If you don't like dogs, well, maybe go walking anyway, preferably with another human. And, of course, there's always cats!

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

http://moodscope.blogspot.com/2013/09/exercise-and-connection-two-very-human.html


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Comments

Anonymous Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 7:49am

"She didn't want to bother me but she always wanted to be where I was, whatever room I was in"

My cat is just like this. I have been saying every since she moved in last year that she is the best antidepressant in the world. She just seems to *know* when I need a bit of cat fuss and company :)

Julia Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 7:57am

Good one Bill!
"What a paradox it is that making connection when we least want to do so actually can lift our mood.." This is so true.
I think though that we have to strike the right balance between being on our own for our peace of mind,recharging our batteries etc and having company. It's getting the balance right for our own temperaments that can be difficult. The strength to say no to yet another commitment which you know will tip the balance is proving very hard for me right now as I am sure it is for others. Having no time to oneself is as bad as social isolation but that a subject for a future blog Bill?

Richard Haggis Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 8:08am

I like both dogs and cats, but where we live, a dog isn't practical just now. I agree with the previous writer - cats can be just as sensitive, and just as keen on your company, without the pressure of having to "do something". The night my father died, both the cats, who don't really like each other, and prefer to pay attention separately, came to sit on me together. They'd never done it before, and rarely since.

Anonymous Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 8:21am

At a time in my life when I felt very isolated, our dog was my saviour and made me feel less alone. Wonderful creatures. I agree with Richard about the sensibility of cats too. They treat each person in the family according to their needs.

Anonymous Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 8:39am

Lovely post and how true! Our various dogs have helped us keep on track over the past 16 years through some incredibly difficult times. They make you get up and take them out even when its the last thing you feel like doing e.g. last year when I was having chemotherapy for breast cancer. I made some lovely new friends during these very slow walks as people could see that I was not well and went out of their way to be friendly. Sadly our old girl died in January but she was my constant shadow all through my treatment last year including a visit to The Christie hospital. She wouldn't eat whilst I was an in-patient so my husband had to bring her to the hospital to see me and reassure her I was OK - we had a lovely walk round, she ate a packet of Quavers and went home happy! Completely priceless what she did for me and I'll never forget her bless her.

Anonymous Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 8:56am

As someone who works with animal rescue/rehoming I can't miss the opportunity to encourage others to help themselves and animals at the same time.Quite apart from the unconditional love(what a rare thing between humans!)that can enrich ones life, a companion animal has needs that a decent person can't ignore.You can't sit staring at the wall if the dog needs a walk,or the cat litter needs changing.

There are many organisations that welcome volunteers to help or foster animals if you can't commit to adopting.(The RSPCA,Dogs Trust,Cat Protection League)Also,Cinnamon Trust is a marvellous charity.As well as taking in pets whose owners have died,they have a network of volunteer walkers in the U.K.who will help elderly or disabled people who want to keep their dog with them.

Tania Davy Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 9:00am

I would have to agree with these posts my animals have been a lifesaver and I would truly be dead without them. Just the fact of having to take care of something other than yourself and being responsible for their welfare u hv to stick around for them. The dog is there to push u out the door for a walk and the cats give comfort from soft purrs whilst sitting on your lap. They are worth every dollar I spend on them. They truly are amazing.

Anonymous Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 9:04am

What a wonderful post - just what I needed to cheer me up this morning. Unfortunately, I had to have my wonderful old labrador put to sleep after 13 years of having her by my side and I miss her terribly. She was such a help during my low days and very very sweet with not an aggressive bone in her body. I now have two rescue cats who keep me just as busy, even if one of them is the "spawn of satan"!

Faye Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 10:11am

Gosh, you're so right!

Anonymous Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 10:19am

I so totally agree that Dogs are our best friends, and we are slaves to cats !!
I am a dogwalker, and take 2 batches of dogs out to the nearby forest everyday, I can't imagine life without them !!Just to see them so full of joy, dashing after (fast, turbo) squirrels is a great spirit lifter !!

Claire Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 10:54am

I never thought about this, but just yesterday I was in a really bad place and as I took my dog for a walk I felt a bit lighter. I also never thought about the fact she follows people into rooms to sit near them, it is comforting when you're alone.

Spindle Imp Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 6:17pm

The only reason I get out of bed each day is to feed the cats, oh....and to stop them using me as a human trampoline.

Anonymous Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 7:49pm

It's a great idea but unfortunately I can't have a pet in my council flat and don't live near a rescue centre. I am envious of those who have contact with animals

Anonymous Tue, Sep 3rd 2013 @ 8:46pm

i am fortunate too that i dog share my friends springer spaniel when she is away with work.just yesterday i felt very lonely and while the dog didn't take that away completely she made me laugh trying to pull at my socks playfully making a game out of it.silly little thing but they definitely help cheer you up!

Anonymous Wed, Sep 4th 2013 @ 1:43pm

I should have added she is rescue cat and needs lots of TLC herself. It is debatable who adopted whom...

Anonymous Tue, Sep 10th 2013 @ 7:32am

fantastic I got a rescue dog for that very reason. He is the best he knows my moods and I know he needs his 3 walks a day, I always feel slightly better after are walks, the further I walk the better I feel. Sometimes I have to drag myself out but its worth it to see him walking along wagging his tail without a care in the world. He needs me but I need him more. Hes 9 now and I dread the day all dog lovers do but in the mean time I will enjoy every bit of him. A pet really does make a home x x x

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