My Dog Is My Therapist

Disclaimer: This article only includes my personal experience with pets. Don't buy impulsive, do research or talk to a professional before getting an animal.

I've always loved animals ever since I was born. Even though I was scared as a child of my cat's sharp claws, he waited at the porch for me to come home from school so we could watch tele together while eating my grandma's fresh soup.

If you read my medical story, you may know my health issues started at a young age and slowly became more serious. My cat, Petrus and later, my dog Darco were always there by my side when I was stuck in bed. They never judged or doubted me.

After Darco's passing expierenced a very tough period in my life. I needed this time to deal with my loss. I was not only grieving for my lost friend but also over my old life. I was just diagnosed with two incurable illnesses. My life was about to change a lot.

I slowly started to shift my dreams, learned new ways to cope with chronic pain and felt motivated again. It felt right to get a new family member. After long discussions my family and I agreed to get a rough collie puppy. Darco made us all fall in love with this breed and we wanted to have them as long as possible. I'm 100% against the abuse in puppy mills so I wanted to do this right and go to a proper, decent breeder.

We found a hobby breeder called Schotse Collie that had puppies coming soon so we did our research, contacted them and applied for a pup. After waiting impatiently we finally got the news that we could have one! I couldn't be more excited.

I took picking a name very seriously and went through name lists as if I was getting an actual baby. My usual psychology books had to make place for Puppies For Dummies and pet shops became my go-to places on Saturdays.

The first time I hold him in my arms he was so tiny. He was, and still is perfect. I could cry from happiness in that moment.

Before I go on with my story (if you're still here), I want to give props to the breeder. They raised the puppies in such a safe environment, socialized them and made them adjust to noises like thunder. We got to meet his mother, father and even grandma. Support Schotse Collie by giving a big thumps up on their Facebook page. These people are doing an incredible job!

Another 4 weeks went by and I was SO ready to pick my baby up. We could already tell he was one special boy. He was stealing socks out of the laundry basket (he still loves to steal socks btw) when we arrived. After all the paperwork we could finally take him home!

I can perfectly remember the first day we got him. We got him all these toys but he wanted to play with a plastic water bottle. He was curious about everything and adjusted perfectly. The first few months I took him upstairs with me at night. To make him feel less scared without his mummy, I placed a huge stuffed animal in his bed.

Puppies are adorable. But don't be fooled, they can be little monsters. He ripped my grandma's bra apart and often mistook my toes for his bone.

While I'm writing this, Ollie is already two years old. He is grown into one absolutely gorgeous, kind and smart dog.

This beautiful picture was taken by Hond in't Groen (Ollie's groomer) who only uses natural products and often does photoshoots with dogs. You can check them out here.

I learned so much from this little guy. He made me realize life is more than achieving. I used to get so sucked up in my work and overdo things. I didn't even have the energy to play with him. I know I'm ill and I can't work as much as healthy people but that doesn't mean I have to put all my other priorities aside. He will often come remind me it's time to go for a walk, play or just cuddle.

He makes me forget about my struggles. I can go on a walk with him and feel absolutely rubbish but then get distracted by his wagging tail and playful little jumps.

He makes me appreciate nature and other animals so much more. We love to stop by the horses and deers.

Some days my pain is just too much I can't go outside but he never fails to make me smile. Even when I'm just laying on the couch, he comes proudly showing off the snack he just got. Little things like that make my day.

Just being with him clears my mind and helps me to overcome things I'm anxious about. I know with him by my side I'll be okay.

He makes me laugh every single day. He prefers drinking out of a cup and barks at furniture that was moved for cleaning and isn't standing in it's usual place.

I'm going to be really honest, some days I just don't feel like playing again or going on a walk. Yes, this is mainly because of my chronic illnesses but I'm sure every dog owner feels this way every now and then. Sometimes we just need some me-time. And that's okay. It's completely normal.

Then I see his puppy eyes and remember I want to put him first and make his life as happy as possible.

Pets do give you a purpose. Not only a reason to take good care of them but also a reason to take good care of yourself. Remember how they always say in airplanes that at emergencies you need to put a mask on yourself first before you can help anyone else?

Do you feel the same about your pet? Whether you have a cat, bird or fish, I believe they enrich our lives. I always say how my dog is literally my therapist so I decided to put it on a sweatshirt.

"My Therapist Has Paws" is designed by me and embroidered on a plain black light jumper that is made out of 100% organic cotton and has a fair-trade label. They are rather baggy so if you prefer tighter clothing I would say, go one size down than what you usually wear.

I want to thank all my customers, readers and anyone who supported my business. Can you believe Graphic Organic already exists for 9 months?! That's an entire pregnancy you guys! That's why I'm giving 20% off on these all Summer long! Remember, shipping is free but might take a while since they come from a small town in Belgium.

Get yours now, Ollie and I always make a happy dance when we sold something.

x Kirsten

#mentalhealth #chronicpain #chronicillness #fibromyalgia #invisibleillness #chronicfatigue #pets

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