Last year I shared that I had taken on a rescue dog, a lurcher.
It didn't work out. A lovely dog, but used to racing not walking, and too strong for me to handle he went back to the home, much to my children's horror.
In May we adopted a stray from the Dogs Home, Ruby Skittles (kids' choice of name). A Jack Russell cross, she went on holiday to Dorset with us and is now a firm part of the family.
I am writing about her for a number of reasons. Firstly, I have learnt resilience. The old me would have taken the need to return a dog as a complete personal failure, never to be repeated. The new me recognised I had chosen the wrong dog and that a different breed was required more suitable for my needs.
Secondly, I learned to face the fear. My friends over 30 years expressed delight and surprise that their dog phobic friend now owned a dog. After all, my friend reminded me of the days I walked round the edge of the park rather than come across anything vaguely canine.
Thirdly, dog ownership is therapeutic. Whether I will be saying this midwinter but owning Ruby Skittles gets me out of bed, makes me exercise (currently doing over 10,000 steps a day) and has introduced me to a new social life, chatting with other dog owners.
Dog ownership is a huge responsibility and not a magic placebo. I have not been ill lately, apart from a nasty bout of whooping cough which has lasted all summer. What can you do to face a fear, build resilience or just be therapy? Knitting or windsurfing... there's something out there for you.
A Moodscope member.