‘Pet therapists’ aka ‘How Toby saved my life’

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.

I immersed myself in his training and helping him to learn how to play and to trust 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.




25 thoughts on “‘Pet therapists’ aka ‘How Toby saved my life’

  1. Oh this is such a beautiful story! I am so glad you decided on this topic. This is so heartwarming, I am sure that everyone will love it! You go Toby! He’s adorable btw! 😉

  2. What an awesome post! I love animals and dogs can indeed save a life. Thank you for writing this I do hope many will read it and perhaps decide to open their home and heart to an animal in need and give them both a good outlook! xx

    1. We can give them more than we ever imagine and visa versa, even when he’s sat there squeaking some toy or other while I try to talk on the phone or barking at a cat in the garden or attacking the post…he’s still the best thing I’ve ever done 🙂 xx

  3. That is such cute and heart-warming post! I’m so glad that you have him in your life 🙂 Thank you for writing this! And I’m happy it’s more than 200 words 😉 xx

  4. TOBY! I love you, Toby, squeaaaaaaallll! Seriously, I love that dog. He’s adorable, he writes awesome blog posts, and he saved your life so you’re here writing with us. You can’t get better than that. Most people know about therapy dogs and what good they do for the blind and various physical handicaps. But do they realize what they can do for depression? There should be more on this. It could save more lives – human and animal. Love this post. Thanks!

    1. Hehe, Toby has his own little fan club on here and in the real world. He’s fabulous and I love the fact I can share his fabulousness with the world through wp 🙂 he sends great big Toby snuggles to you (the squeals got his attention they always do lol). Pet therapists should really be more widely used! X

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