Getting New Puppy Was Life Changing And Saved Her From Depression


Getting New Puppy Was Life Changing And Saved Her From Depression

Yesterday morning as I stepped out to take the dog for a walk, I was in a mood as foul as the weather. Traipsing round the field down the road in blinding rain while my six-month-old puppy Zorro mud-wrestled with a lurcher named Weasel was not my idea of a good start to the day.

But half an hour later, as I dragged him home, I realised this daily ordeal was as good for me as it was fun for him; and that as miserable as the weather was, I was feeling so much more cheerful than I had been a year ago.


Because in late October last year I had begun to feel rather like the autumnal leaves on the trees in my garden: as if the only way forward for me was to wither and die.

There were, I now realise, a number of reasons why I was experiencing this inability to see a meaningful future for myself, but at the time I couldn’t understand my melancholy.

I have always been one of life’s optimists, whose mantra (which has sometimes got me into trouble) was, ‘Oh, everything will be fine’. And, pretty much, things always were.


Zorro’s need to socialise with other dogs inadvertently forced me to be more sociable

I had been lucky; I had three happy, healthy grown-up children, an adorable granddaughter, a career I loved, my own home and a core of close friends. What on earth did I have to complain about in a world in which there is so much real suffering?

I did my best to dismiss my negative way of thinking, telling myself it was probably linked to the fact that my son Rufus – who’d lived with me on and off since he graduated from university – had finally got a proper job and moved into a flatshare.

Or maybe it was my hormones (or lack of them) and the realisation that a year after relocating from London to Oxfordshire, the novelty of life in the country had begun to wear off.

It was only natural, I told myself, that I was finding it difficult readjusting to living alone in a village where the only person who greeted me was the postwoman.

For most of my adult life, having time to myself had been a rare, snatched delight. Married young, I moved seamlessly from my childhood home to a house where I would raise a family of my own.

Shortly after I divorced, I moved in with the man who would be my partner for the next 10 years.

Life in a blended family of five children (my three and his two) was even more crowded, and finding myself entirely alone – three years after we had parted, without ever having proper ‘closure’ – was strange and disconcerting.

As the days grew shorter and the nights darker, I didn’t just feel isolated from my family – all living in London and visiting less frequently – I felt isolated from my old friends and saw little of my new local friends.

More and more (in a worrying way) my only comfort each evening came from two (or three, sometimes four) glasses of wine. By February this year, my friends and family were split down the middle as to what they thought was ‘missing’ in my life.

Forward By Jennifer Rice Of Sugarsoil

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