By Aoife Delaney
HEALTH & WELL-BEING:
My Rescue, My Dog
My Rescue, My Dog
By Siobhán Lyons
We are told that life is all about balance. A balanced diet, balancing quiet time with a hectic social life, balancing the demands of friends and family, balancing work with domestic chores and leisure time. Most of the time we don't check the balance, we charge through every minute of every day, in a rush to meet the next demand. Our body tries, through headaches, backaches, tummy upsets etc. to signal to us to slow down, take stock, look after ourselves but because we have been brainwashed with motivational slogans such as "no pain no gain" & "mind over matter" we march on like we imagine the Saints must have done 1000s of years ago. Then, eventually, one day our mind shuts up shop and says, "No more" and we are broken.
I looked into this dog's innocent hopeful eyes and thought "you deserve better". I now realize Bronson was a mirror into my own soul and in caring for him I was forced to care of myself. I had to get out of bed to walk him on days where all I wanted to do was sleep. I had to go to the pet shop to buy him food when facing a conversation felt impossible. I had to cancel family commitments to settle him during a thunderstorm. I had to slow down, and he was very happy to chill with me on days when it was all too much.
Bronson brought trauma and anxiety from his short life prior to living with us. His vulnerability made me confront my own. My determination to help him heal and live a full life forced me to face the hurts in my own life which I had buried under busyness.
It wasn't a lightbulb moment. It came slowly, in tearful moments, like when I brought him running in the rain and a truck roared past throwing up water and dirt from a pothole which had been an annoyance for me as a driver, but which became a danger for me and my dog as he ran between my legs with fright forcing me to fall over and on top of him. After tending to my shivering pup, I realized I couldn't straighten my knee and then I noticed the blood. We sat in the mud and I burst out crying, I realized I couldn't control anything really and humbled to tears I gave up. People rushed past unaware and unable to see me shrouded in coats and umbrellas with pressure steaming off their rain-soaked backs.
Bronson stopped shivering when he noticed me crying and licked the mud and tears from my face. My self-pity turned to unbridled love for this beautiful soul who, despite his own terror, instinctively put me first in our little muddy crisis.
We became a team and we have looked after each other ever since.
I eventually went back to work part-time, halved my social calendar commitments, went back hill-running & sea swimming, learned to say no. All to afford my dog the time he deserves, the time we both deserve. He is here for a good time, not a long time and so, I realize, am I.
Heaven knows where I'd be now had this amazing dog not chewed his way into my heart and soul almost 10yrs ago now and I can't bear to dwell on the fact that I will one day lose him. In the meantime, we shall continue annoying each other as only those who love each other the most can do.
I'm not suggesting everyone go out and get a dog to sort your life out, it is not a dog's job to do that but if you take the responsibility of adopting a dog seriously you will indirectly have to look after yourself better in order to look after them. This is the truly beautiful symbiosis which I might never have enjoyed were it not for my Dog rescuing me.
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