For years I have suffered from anxiety, especially social anxiety, and depression. The depression and anxiety was very debilitating. I had severe panic attacks, especially if I had to leave my house. There were times I wouldn't leave my home for months. Because of the depression, there were many days I wanted to hide under the covers and disappear in my bed. This mental disorder robbed me from having a normal, productive life. I missed out on so much during those years. I completely gave up on the fact I would never have a normal, happy life.
Because of my severe anxiety, I wouldn't leave my home for months. When I did have to leave to go to a doctor's appointment, or the grocery store, I would get so sick to my stomach, my hands would shake uncontrollably, I would break out in a cold sweat, and it felt like I had an elephant on my chest because I couldn't hardly breathe. I was so paranoid thinking everyone was staring at me. I couldn't get home fast enough. One thing I started to notice was I wouldn't have as much anxiety when my dog, Sarge, was with me. I felt a calmness and sense of security with him. He even went to several of my classes with me when I started.Graduate School. Everyone was curious about Sarge because of his size and his friendliness. Sarge is a large Boxer. I credit Sarge for bringing me out of my dark and lonely shell. He was, and still is, my furry hero.
Due to Sarge's age and health problems he isn't able to be by my side like he once was. Because of him I overcame my anxiety. Sarge and I have a very special bond that no dog will ever replace. Sarge only has 3 to 4 months left before he crosses the Rainbow Bridge. Until then, I will return the favor and spoil him rotten by giving him his favorite treats, taking him for all the car rides he wants, and lots of belly rubs. When Sarge isn't sleeping with, me he has his very own couch. His once vibrant life has now slowed down. His once black muzzle is now solid white, but he is still just as handsome as ever.
The hole I once had in my heart, and life, has now been filled thanks to Sarge, my forever hero.
I love all dogs but I'm partial to seniors. My two seniors have brought me many years of happiness, love and companionship and I want to make their golden years as happy, healthy and comfortable as possible. My two seniors, Jade and Sarge, have learned they can get away with a lot more now than they could have when they were younger. Sarge has graduated from his orthopedic bed to the couch. I know some people don't like dogs on their furniture but I don't mind sharing. Jade prefers her bed but never passes up an opportunity to climb in my lap even though she weighs 60 pounds.
They even get a few extra treats and chew bones. Sarge and Jade may have slowed down some but they still love helping their daddy work in the yard. Sarge's hearing isn't as keen as it once was, but for some reason, he can hear his daddy open a bag of potato chips downstairs. An article by Caroline Golon, Petfinder Contributor lists five things to do when caring for a senior dog to ensure they have a healthy life,
1. Feed Your Dog A Nutritious Diet- consult with your Vet about your dog's diet and nutritional needs. They can recommend what brands and ingredients that is best to feed your dog.
2. Help Your Dog Get Enough Exercise- Exercise is critical in keeping your senior healthy, both physically and mentally. They may not be as active as they once were but less strenuous walks will help your senior feel better and it will help maintain their weight.
3. Keep Your Dog At A Healthy Weight- Extra pounds on an older dog means more stress on their body, including joints and internal organs.
4. Schedule Regular Check Ups- The American Animal Hospital Association recommends senior dogs see their vets at least every six months for a check up. Many diseases and health issues can be treated if caught early enough.
5. Don't Neglect Your Dog's Teeth- Tarter build up can cause gingivitis, which can cause bacteria to get into the bloodstream, causing severe damage to your dog's organs. Regular at-home brushing and yearly professional cleanings by your vet is recommended.
I believe dogs come into our life for different reasons. My Boston Terrier, Polly, came into my life for several reasons. I credit her for saving me. Before Polly, I was suffering from extreme depression. I wouldn't get out of bed for days at a time. I forgot what happiness was. One day, my mamaw suggested getting a dog. I've always been a dog lover and was excited at the thought of picking out a puppy, even though I'm partial to seniors because they are so often overlooked. We went to look at some Boston Terrier pups. When I saw the pups, they all came running to greet me. I thought to myself how can I just pick one because they were all so cute and sweet. As the puppies were running toward me I noticed one who stopped in her tracks and started chasing a leaf that was dancing around in the wind. Right then I knew this was the one for me. So, naturally I picked her and brought her home. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
Polly gave me a reason to get out of bed on a daily basis because she had to be taken care of. To my surprise, I started laughing more and more each day. On days I could barely get out of bed she laid right beside of me, even sharing my pillow. Every morning she gave me kisses and it instantly put a smile on my face. Polly saved my life! She was stubborn, independent, bossy, funny and very sweet. For no certain reason she would jump up and start chasing her tail that she barely had. She would be laying in her bed and for no apparent reason she would bark and look right at me as if she was saying, "Hey, look at me. I need attention". Slowly the depression started improving. I loved her with every being of my heart and soul.
She was nine years old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was devastated. Within a matter of months the time came for me to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I miss her more than words could describe. Polly left we with so many happy memories and she was the one who saved my life. To all of the people who read this, cherish every moment you have with your pets. They love us unconditionally and make our lives so much better. She is the inspiration for me starting Feisty Tails. Her nickname was Feisty Tail. I know I will see her again one day and I feel so blessed to have had her in my life. Even though our pets may only be in our life for a short period of time, they will leave an eternal impression on our lives forever.