Friday, 4 January 2013

Trying to Help Out

This morning started like any other for Nico and I. I had my pastries and he had his sausages and I was halfway through my cup of tea when I heard that a dog had been hit by a car at our local Leisure Center and ran off towards the canal, near my home. At first I was going to sit and keep an eye out as my house looks onto one of the routes down from the canal but then I thought about it more.  It made me think of how I would feel if Nico was hurt and no one came to help look for him. A moment later I was a flurry of activity shouting for my mum to get Nico on his lead while I fell about looking for clothes and suitable footwear. A few minutes later I was out the door armed with treats for Nico and the number of an emergency vet.

Nico and I were out there for a good hour and a half searching through the wooded areas around the centre and canal but unfortunately had no luck in finding the injured dog. It was pretty disgusting work as being near the canal the ground is always wetter anyway and we’ve had a lot of rain recently so it was like sludge most of the time. Plus it was cold and generally rather bleak while trying to squirm through dead trees on the search. Nico was brilliant about following me through even though he got very muddy and probably had cold feet considering how deep the sludge was in comparison to his wee feet. He did not complain or try to stop once though and was always sniffing. Of course, he didn’t know what he was sniffing for but it made me feel better.  We got into a right mess but I’m glad that we did it all.

I wasn’t sure whether to take Nico at first, and had to weigh up the options.  On the one hand, he might scare the other dog or the site of him might cause the dog to panic and become aggressive but on the other he might be able to find the dog easier than I could alone. Obviously, I did take him but it was always on my mind that it might not have been the right choice until I bumped into others looking who had their dogs too. Nico behaved perfectly like he has been trained to and made some new friends on the search. It felt nice to be part of the dog community if you like, trying to help find another part of it. I’m glad that I did my bit and it was nice to think that if it was Nico these people would be out looking for him too.

For someone with social anxiety like me, it isn’t easy to do something like that. It was terrifying just getting up and heading out to help like that but I’m very proud of myself for doing it. Without Nico I would never have been out in that area of town by myself, never have met those people or spoken to them, and wouldn’t have felt the sense of community that I did today. Every person that I don’t know and talk to is part of my recovery process.

On our return to the house, Nico was muddy up to his knees and in dire need of a bath and I was utterly exhausted. Tea and bones were handed out and we had a hard earned rest but I do feel a sense of achievement and pride for what we have done today.  I hope the dog is found and that his injures are not too severe so it can recover and return home to its family.

Sam and Nico

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

Nico, post bath

2012 was a rather terrible year for me. I faced challenges I would never wish upon anyone and was so ill I wondered how I could ever possibly get better. The thing about being put in a corner, back against the wall, is that it makes you really re-evaluate things. I had time to think, so much time, because I couldn’t do anything else. I couldn’t go to university or work or read my beloved books, even watch a TV show without losing concentration and getting a sore head. It all took too much of something I didn’t have anymore, so I did a lot of thinking.

I thought about the places I’ve been, the people I know and the goals I had in my life and wondered who and what was really worth it.  I decided to take a chance and do something I have felt ready to do for years but never had the guts to and give a home to a dog. The decision has changed my life beyond my wildest imagination and while it has been very rewarding it has also been difficult and challenging. They tell you of the cuddles and amusing antics of puppies and many keep quiet about cleaning up poop on the carpet and trying to prevent them escaping the bath. It isn't easy, and though I'm loving having my puppy I hope that the Christmas puppies this year keep their homes. They really are for life. They become part of your life and can be one of the best parts of it if you are willing to let them. There is nothing like the feeling I get when I come home to his happy face and wagging tail. 

Nico has been amazing for my mental health this year and was without doubt the best decision I made in 2012. Bringing in the New Year with him by my side was wonderful and I look forward to many more to come.

Happy New Year

Sam and Nico