Canine Anti-Depressant

2 min
at 11:43 PM

My depression showed its ugly face through feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and an overall feeling that I was better off dead. That, coupled with crippling anxiety and unrealistic fears of social interactions, left me feeling incredibly isolated. Even after years of bouncing back and forth between therapists and downing a countless number of antidepressants I often compared my existence to that of an astronaut lost in space, stranded all alone with no hopes of returning to normalcy.

It felt like my friends were dropping off one by one and I was tired of feeling so alone all the time. I knew just how to fix it: Adopt a dog. A dog would be a loyal friend, and would help me appreciate all the little things there are to appreciate in life.

I had imagined the day I would get a dog time and time again, I would look through a sea of dogs and I'd see him and know 'that's the one'. Except it went a little differently, it was a tiny black and white puppy, looking through a sea of people. Only three months old, and everything that surrounded him was unknown. His eyes locked onto me and he began to cry. I imagined him thinking, " That's the one, that's the person I want to take me home." So I did.

I named him Tate. I never imagined taking care of a dog could be such a huge responsibility, but I also never imagined it could be so rewarding. Taking on the responsibility of another life is huge- I could no longer stay in bed all day because I was depressed. I had a high energy dog who needed food, attention, and exercise. He motivated me to want to live and enjoy living again. When I go out and he comes along, he helps me spark up conversations with strangers and if I must leave him home, he waits on the back of the couch so he can spring off and give me a warm welcome the second I walk through the front door.

I often tell people that Tate is a rescue because I adopted him at the animal shelter. However, I don't think that I rescued Tate. Sure, I gave him a home and everything he needs to live comfortably. But I am the true rescue, and Tate the true rescuer, as I owe my happiness to him.

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With a perspective, I am Amy Stalcup.

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Amy Stalcup is 17 and is the proud owner of a cat and chinchilla as well as her dog, Tate.

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