I was in a pit of despair, riddled with anxiety and paranoia. My life had been ripped from me by the diagnosis of MS, I knew too much yet nowhere near enough and from the bottom of that pit all I could see was dark clouds and lightning bolts of bad news.
I felt that my world, my life had ended. I saw no future except pain and the loss of my independence and no matter what the multitude of counsellors, psychiatrists, neurologists, nurses and GP’s said I couldn’t believe that there was anything else.
Then I saw the one silver lining in my life. I could finally get the dog that I had wanted to for the past few years but never had done as I was working too much and wouldn’t have time for it. I didn’t know how long I would be able to cope with it for and I battled feelings of guilt over the fact I might struggle to walk it for some of the time.
Finally I had driven past Dogs Trust one more time on my way home from seeing yet another therapist and something twigged inside me. When I got home I rang and asked when I could come in to look at the dogs.
The next week passed in a blur, I finally had something to aim for and as I walked into the kennel I couldn’t contain how excited I was, even managing to talk to the staff who worked there without ending up in a hyperventilating heap in a corner.
I looked at all the dogs in the kennels and none of them seemed to fit, just as I was about to give up someone said there was a couple of dogs in new arrivals that might be suitable.
When I walked in the noise was deafening! So many dogs in these kennels all over excited to see someone walk in barking like their life depends on it…all except one. He stood in the middle of the kennel looking straight at me as the other dogs jumped around him often landing on him.
He was mine and I knew it as soon as I saw him. No other dog stood a chance after that and I took him straight out on a walk.
He was terrified and underweight as he had been horribly mistreated, starved and beaten but one look at that face and I was smitten. The next week flew past as I went to walk him, attend the meetings required, organised a vets for him and finally went to pick him up giving him his new name, Toby.
Those first few days I left the house more times than I had in months, rain or shine we were out for walks and he even gave me the confidence to talk to other dog walkers on our outings!
Suddenly my suicidal thoughts were a dull murmur in the back of my head instead of the insistent yelling that it had been and I had a reason not to listen. He needed me.
Over the past few years that we have been together he has been my constant companion. The one thing in my life that makes me happy to be home, keeps me to some sort of daily routine and still gives me a reason to leave the house.
I truly believe that he saved my life. I may still have low times and contemplate hurting myself but knowing that he is there nudging his cold wet nose into my arm to snap me out of my own head, to snuggle up to me on the sofa on a cold night or greet me with such excitement when I walk in the front door well I can’t find the words to say how much he means to me.