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Where do you find your solace? Friday August 15, 2014

Sometimes, you just know. From the second you wake up and the world seems somewhat asymmetrical and you feel bad - you just know that it's going to be a bad day. For me, these are further categorised by a deterioration in my speech (I stammer), an intense desire to be alone and all this underpinned by a lethargy that takes me little further than from bed to sofa and back again. Oh, and crying at crap adverts on TV. So, what to do? Now that I'm unemployed, I have no reason to chi-chi myself up (eyeliner, tights and a shiny handbag) to send me on my way to, if not a better mood, then a better faked mood. My other half lives 150 miles away and even if he was nearer, I'd probably growl at him to keep his distance. Meanwhile, my friends are there but we know that we really don't like to 'bother them,' when we feel this way, even if we know - especially when we know? - that they'd be gutted to know we were suffering in silence. So, where do I find my solace?

Well, not too far down from my house lives a good friend who lets me circumnavigate those pesky pleasantries, instead simply whispering, 'they're in there,' and pointing to the garage. And in there lie 2 Golden Retrievers, Arthur and Jonah, whose tails begin to wag as they snuffle around me, sometimes putting a paw on my leg as I fuss around them, getting their leads, slipping them over their necks and armed with each other, we walk out into the sunshine. Forty minutes later, I return them and am somehow more primed to talk to people. The Retrievers have loosened up that part of me that was so reluctant to engage because when faced with the unconditional, low-maintenance and innocent love that dogs present, there really is no option other than to surrender.

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Di Murphey Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 1:21am

How lovely! Animal therapy is my favorite strategy for lifting my own scowling spirits. Hoorah for you, Sarah!
Di Murphey

ND Mitchell Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 5:52am

Loved the way you turned this piece of writing around, just as the dogs turn your day around. Fantastic that you can have this outlet.

Anonymous Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 6:32am

I found myself smiling as I read the end of this. I am lucky enough to live with a cat who is a great comfort on the difficult days and makes me laugh on the good days.

crafty wee midden Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 7:34am

.......the unconditional, low-maintenance and innocent love that dogs present, there really is no option other than to surrender......
My cats, Spock and Data, are my solace and keep me going. Anonymous, indeed.....they give me comfort on the difficult days and make me laugh too.

Melanie Lowndes Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 8:28am

A lovely post Sarah - brought a tear to my eyes. Thank you.

liz Barnard Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 8:43am

Golden Retrievers should be available on the NHS - best therapy for depression I know. I rescued one three months ago and he has transformed my life. Not only has my anxiety and depression lifted but I've lost a stone in weight and both he and I have made new friends in the park. Everyone loves him so I feel I have improved other people's lives as well as my own. Recommended!

Claire Catterall Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 8:55am

I don't think there is anything that comes close to this kind of therapy! On the days I don't like to be touched I instead give the dog a lot of hugs. The next best thing for me is sitting on the sofa with a best friend, in comfortable silence (no questions asked!) whilst watching old Disney films.

Anonymous Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 9:30am

The power of unconditional love. Animals practise it. We must strive to be more like them and just accept others. Sometimes i think that if maybe less language and more communication were used...? Certainly, being a high level skill, language is one of the first things to go when we are under stress.

Lisa Malpas Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 9:32am

I had two dogs, one of which was a golden retriever. I sadly lost them two years ago, and still haven't gotten over losing them both within 3 months of each other.
The goldie was my lifeline. He was there for me and i for him. He pulled me through very dark times, and i did him. I would give anything to bring him back, he was my soul mate and the collie X was also there for me. They both detected when i wasn't well and warned me a few minutes before i was going to become ill with my breathing. The NHS should have a Pets as Therapy section, it is by far better then any medication.

Anonymous Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 9:56am

Sarah, i read your post before having to get out of bed, and it made me peacefully drift back to sleep for a bit, thinking about the unconditional love that comes through our beloved pets and the healing it brings. I also loved that you have a friend down the road who delivers exactly what you need....with a whisper. Thank you for sharing this, it's just lovely. Be well. susan

Nancy Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 12:18pm

when my kids were teenagers we knew they had a bad day when both cats were on them. The cats gravitate to those who need "therapy".

Diana Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 1:08pm

So true "Anon - 9.30 a.m. " .... regards being ' struck dumb ' !

heather Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 1:13pm

Liz - that is really wonderful.

les Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 6:09pm

Animals are wise - humans are clever.

I know which would make the world a better place.....and no words need to be said.

Anonymous Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 11:19pm

This made me tearful reading this. Maybe we could all benefit from a dose of unconditional love and friendship, with few or no words exchanged! Maybe I need to get a pet...... Thanks for sharing this. K x

heather Sat, Aug 16th 2014 @ 4:12am

Oh yes, I think we we would all benefit greatly, Anon 11.19pm, from a dose of unconditional love and friendship - the sort of thing we try so hard to provide for others. It's a shame words have to come into it as this is where things go wrong or get complicated as nobody can say exactly the right thing at every moment. But never forget that pets, especially dogs, are very hard work and expensive and need a lot of dedication, so maybe sharing someone else's pet is a better idea.

Nurse Tilda Sat, Aug 16th 2014 @ 4:59pm

It's the dog, to be sure, but the walk, too.

Anonymous Sat, Aug 16th 2014 @ 8:35pm

Walking my dogs sometimes is an inconvenient; however, the side effects of doing so are increased mood and a clearer mind, among others. The dogs, of course, love it too.

Great post. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous Sat, Aug 16th 2014 @ 8:54pm

Thanks for sharing this; I now have 2 dogs and one of the best forms of therapy for me too is to pop the dog's leads on and get out into the countryside. There's something about just walking around, seeing all the sights, hearing the sounds and smelling the scents that brings my battered senses back to life and the unconditional love the dogs show me really helps to lift me. My husband can tell when I've been out when he gets home from work just by my different attitude.

Take care and thanks again!

Anonymous Sun, Aug 17th 2014 @ 12:46am

Beautiful post. My own dog never fails to do something cute, funny or silly every day, and no matter how bad I'm doing for a second or so I'm lifted out of it. That's something no medication or therapy has ever done for me. She is also a reason to get up, get out, etc. May you and the retrievers enjoy many more walks Sarah, and good luck in your battle.

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