Today's thankful thursday...Our local animal shelter.
Last year, my daughter's depression hit a peak that was scaring us. She deals with anxiety issues, and sensory issues, and a myriad of issues and despite therapy (maybe even partially because of the wrong therapy) we were watching her spiral downhill.
There was one thing that seemed to consistently improve her mood, her ability to cope and her overall quality of life. Which led to an improved quality of life for the rest of us. And that was...dogs.
Reasons varied. Pets were occasionally offered directly to Bumblebee, which made the whole seperation ten times worse. We rent. We're financially challenged. A pet? Um...no.
But then we did some research on animals and anxiety/depression. The facts were pretty concrete from what we'd seen with her. We thought...maybe a hamster. Or...a bunny.
But you can't bring either of those with you to the park, or a friend's house, or whatever. We wanted (we needed) a pet that would help to get her out of the house and social. That would directly and positively impact the depression we were all being sucked into.
A cat? They seemed a distinct possibility. But, you can't take a cat out in the yard when you can't breathe. you can't take them for a walk. And they do their own thing a lot. They aren't necessarily cuddle bugs when you want them to be.
Bunny then. But research shows that they are pretty needy. Their upkeep cost was similar to a dog's and they live for 8 or more years.
I looked at my husband and said "If we're going to have a pet for the next 8 years, I'd rather have a dog."
He looked back at me and said "Me, too."
Enter the local animal shelter.
I'll skip through the looking process for this post. Suffice it to say, we brought home this fluffball. He was traumatized in the shelter setting, and removed to a no-kill; all frills facility where he was given his own little room with a cozy chair and a covered window. He shivered, and used his wide eyed 'button' face on us. (The face that makes him look like a teddy bear with button eyes and nose). We were smitten.
Of course, we got him home and discovered that on leash he is loud and obnoxious, and off leash he's anxious to get back on leash and do some more walking.
He's kicked me into shape with his 3 miles a day or more, and makes sure we get moving. He's dragged us out of the house for weekly obedience classes (which was a condition of adoption, since he was shivery and needed confidence boosting) He's not quite the therapeutic dog we hoped he would be for Bumblebee.
He's better. He's given my husband and I something new to focus on besides what went wrong today; he's given us all something to laugh about and talk about. He gets us moving. And once in a while, if we're really lucky, he snuggles up close.
So, we're thankful for the shelter. Not only for giving him a chance to find us, but for helping us to keep helping him. And in doing so, to help ourselves.