My Furry Friend Supports My Mental Health

Emotional support can come in many forms. My therapy is a 4-legged beast. I have often asked myself what I would do without my little dog Douglas. Hey may not be a licensed therapist (meaning a registered emotional support dog) but he is the first to offer a paw when I am depressed, stressed, or anxious. Silently, he offers comfort, a listening ear, and sloppy licks to lap away my tears. My furry friend who supports my mental health every single day!

As previously written about, I have some a chronic illness. It is not clear what it is, but my skin breaks out in hives and attacks me. No one knows why. Apart from managing all kinds of treatments to make the impact on my life as small as possible, I there is really nothing anyone can do. While it is chronic, it has disappeared for years before coming back.

But while it is raging and I move from calm to stressed to depressed and back, there is one “person” that is always there for me, day or night. He follows me when I take multiple scorching hot shower to alleviate my symptoms – every single time. When I am awake in pain, he is awake. Then I itch and itch, his little paw reached out to try and draw my attention to cuddling him instead of scratching myself. Douglas shivers in the winter cold on my balcony when I try to cool my body down to numbness. And appreciates my doggie massages, to take my mind off things – a furry, live emotional calm squeeze ball. He listens to me be angry, sad, cry, and tries to stare my worry away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, but I do appreciate the effort. And I marvel at the unconditional love.

I am very grateful for all the support I get from family and friends. But sometimes you need an unsolicited cuddle more than you need a solution suggestion or advice.

Ruff day or pawfest day – without fail, Douglas is right there with me, doing his best to get me to smile.

I wish I would have registered him as an emotional support dog when he was younger. Emotional support dogs are service animals, meaning they are allowed everywhere with you, often free of charge. We are talking about restaurants, hotels, airplanes. My precious pet frequently travels with me, but there are limits, and sometimes, when I need Douglas’ consoling wet nose, I am miles away, and the closest I can get to him is to check in with his doggie sitter.

Often, I notice that people don’t understand the close bond I have with Douglas. They find it far-fetched (pun intended) that I make it a criterion for accepting a job that he can come with me, or that I drive him 200 miles to my sister when I travel further, just because that is where he is happiest without me.

For almost 15 years now, Douglas has been there for me through thick and thin. Losing both my parents, family accidents, health issues, broken relationships, losing jobs, you name it, he supports me emotionally.

And, of course he is also there for the happy moments.

Especially Quality Dog Tie, my favorite moments in life. We love going to sidewalk cafes together to people & pet watch; even in the winter when Douglas almost turns into a pup-sicle. When traveling we always seek out doggie friendly Restaurants, I mean, a dog’s gotta eat, right? As I work, Douglas works hard on motivating me to take a break in between and take him for a walk and stop a moment to enjoy the fresh air. And in the summer, we love going to the lake together to enjoy any water activity from swimming to surfing to sailing. It’s because of the bond we have that I work hard so my dog can have a good life. And, guess what, that actually means I have a good life. For almost 14 years he’s made me smile every day without fail, even on my darkest ones. And who needs drugs, when you can have a dog? Ok, obviously, sometimes you need treatments, but in my case, the best therapist has fur and four paws – a therapawst.

Find out more about emotional support dogs …


….and how to register yours: