This Is What My Service Dog Taught Me About Myself

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Justin Govender

One year ago on June 17 th marks when Anny, my service puppy, first came into my life. Over a year ago, when I was at my worst, all I dreamed of day and night was having a puppy of my own who I knew would never judge me for the state I was in, and someone who I knew would love me when I felt so unlovable. To make a long story short, after much search and waiting, I eventually gratified my match, and the rest you could say is history…but there were fears I had and thinks I struggled with during this time that I didn’t expect, and I would like to take this opportunity to be open about some of them.

One of the struggles I had was that shortly after bringing Anny home, I couldn’t stop supposing if I was even deserving enough to have a dog as amazing as her that could do so many things for me; I loved Anny beyond measure, but I wondered if it was possible that I could be unknowingly robbing her of someone that needed her more than I did. For a long stretching of period, I felt really guilty, and couldn’t get it out of my mind, wondering if what I guessed really was the nasty truth. And then there was the matter of what the person or persons around me would think. Not only the people I knew, but also the people I didn’t.

The thing about depression and anxiety is that of course you can’t see it, and this is a constant, unending source of doubt and distress for me. I appear so able to the naked eye-I supposed endlessly of what strangers would think when I went to a store, to a restaurant, to a bank; I felt everyone who seemed my way would think I was ” faking” Anny being a service dog- that I was simply some daughter who are seeking to take her dog out in public. And logical or not, the fact that no one in those puts would ever or could ever know what lay underneath attained me feel the worst type of style.

And the same went for those who I knew, mainly friends and extended family and acquaintances who didn’t know precisely the reasons why or the magnitude of importance of Anny’s seemingly sudden arrival. I thought about if they would look at me and secretly suppose the same thing when they would hear about her-that I didn’t need her, that I was just fine because I had always seemed so well before; or worst of all, that I was simply seeking attention somehow. This fear of judgment eat and feed at me, so much so that I would be nervous irrespective if I took Anny out or left her at home to remainder for particular errands or events.

As I write this now, I realise it was my depression telling me the one thing, and my anxiety telling me the other, delivering me the textbook feelings of worthlessness and was concern that persevere and trump all Reason in my brain. And while the fears I have are still present and remain obstacles, I try to remind myself it’s the irony of the guess I have that reinforce how much I require Anny; she keeps people from getting too close to me when I’m anxious by standing in front of me when I ask her; she lays on a pressure point on my chest when I’m crying and panicked; she sits at my side to remind me she’s got my back. She’s what gets me out of bed in the mornings, and what builds me get my workout, and what distracts me from my own mind by inherently needing me to care for her-to feed her, to brush her, to play with her.

I know there will always be some people who don’t understand, and I know thinks like the ones above will continue to creep in from is high time to time, but I work on recurring something else in my intellect as well: it’s the people who love and support me unconditionally whose sentiments truly matter- and for these people who exist in my life, know that I am forever grateful.

And for anyone in a similar situation, I hope this piece of writing will help you realize that you’re not alone in your feelings and your fears-always remember that no matter how low you feel, there is always someone out there who cares-whether they stroll on two feet or four.

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