My new meaning for life :)

My new meaning for life :)

Hi - as many of you know,i took the decision to get myself a dog a couple of months ago - it wasn't an easy decision by any means,but I decided I needed something to stop me becoming more of the recluse I had already become,due to my many conditions,and to help me start getting some level of health back,first by gently walking again,but more for my state of mind,as we all know that although the multitude of medications we take can help our physical health,they can also have a huge negative impact on our mental wellbeing, without us even realising in most cases. After many months of research, I decided that the best breed for me would be a Maltese,as even on my worst days,she would still be small enough for me to be able to care for her like she needed,and deserved. It took me a long time to get my head around having a dog that would only ever be half the size of my cats,and even as someone that's grown up with large breed dogs(rolling around the floor as a kid with german shepherds,or Doberman crosses etc) it was tough for me to accept having a 'handbag' dog,or one which many would just consider as a fashion accessory (my nephew of 19 said it all when he asked if I could take her out for walks like a 'normal' dog?!') I had to explain to him that just because we see these small dogs constantly in magazines or on tv being carried,they do actually have legs and feet,and are more than capable of walking,or even god forbid,running!! I picked Minnie up on the 14/12 at just 8wks old,but in those two and a bit weeks since I've had her my life has drastically improved already - ok,so we've had the expected little accidents where her front paws have been on the pads and she hasn't realised that her back end isn't,but just waking up to her barking to be let out of her crate is music to my ears - normally my routine would be get up,feed cats,take meds,then pretend i'm a cat and basically pass out for most of the day,but now i'm having to walk(as in the ministry of silly walks) across the kitchen floor while I prepare her breakfast,and then i'm kept on my toes just watching to make sure she's not running off with the cat biscuit instead of her own(it's like watching a cotton wool ball on steroids when she runs because she knows she's upto something she shouldn't be) plus all the other silly little things that pups generally get upto. she's just had her second jabs this week,so she's already had a playdate with my parents three dogs,and judging by that,nothing in this world is going to faze this little bundle - I've been truly blessed to have found such a fantastic breeder that did everything she should to ensure her pups were well socialized before leaving for their new forever homes. I'm off out to one of the Essex wildlife nature reserves later so that I can pick my guidebook up - I decided to become a member after originally reserving Minnie,as my partner works nights,and sleeps all day - I figured this way,as I had the car seat for Minnie,we could go off to a different park/area whenever I was upto driving,which meant longer being out of the house for me too - to me,it was a win/win situation. This is the first few months since becoming ill at the start of 2014 that my arthritis is almost under control,so this winter will be a big learning curve for me in general,but I've missed walking my parents dogs for hours on end like I used to at any given opportunity(they're only one street away,but they're far too big and strong for me to consider the risk if I got pulled now) but I'm counting down the days until I can finally wrap up in my layers and head out to once again feel the bracing chill on my face - nothing better to make you feel you're alive in my books,and what better way to do it than with a four legged companion to keep you company,and also amused?! I've had all the usual comments from friends and family that were concerned that maybe I'd rushed into this,but after I'd explained that I'd already wasted the best part of 18 months by being stuck indoors,and they know how active I generally am(even with stitches in my back from one of the three major surgeries I've had) they realised that it wasn't on a whim,and it is the best thing for me - my social carer couldn't say it was a good idea quick enough,as she knew how down I'd been at being pretty much housebound while waiting for my meds to finally click into place. so here's to a new year,new beginnings,which for me prob incl lots of silly anecdotes about my adventures outside,but for the first time in years I'm truly excited to see what the new year brings.

Here's wishing everyone else a great new year,and that you all have something positive to focus on when you need it most.

Nicki & Minnie xx

21 Replies

  • Wow, a dog just gives so much in every way. Absolutely you did the right thing. I hope you have a great 2017 and o wards with her.

    Best wishes

  • Thank you x

  • That made me smile - I could hear the happiness in your words. Well done you ! I hope she brings you loads of joy in the years ahead.

    Have a great new year when it comes.


  • Thanks Marie,you too x

  • So pleased you got such a beautiful little dog. I have always said a dog makes a house a home, always had one since being very young. You will have so many happy times together. Hope you both have a Very Happy New Year together. ❤️❤️❤️ Xxx

  • I'm so glad you have found a furry friend. My collie Shep has quite literally saved my life! I'd actually reached a point where I had seriously had enough pain.

    I saw my collie on Gumtree. I collected him same day the advert came out. He was a nightmare on four legs when I first got him. Collies are hugely intelligent and quite naughty if not trained and walked. He was six months old when I got him, and hadn't really been walked much, though he was treated well I think.

    It has been hard at times, but he is now well trained, and a brilliant dog. We are very attached to one another.

    I have gone from being a complete recluse, to building up relationships with neighbours. I walk other folks dogs for free with the condition that they will walk Shep if I'm too ill to do it.

    People talk to you if you have a dog. Shep is so unusual looking, and a real character, so people are fascinated by him. He had to different coloured eyes, people are amazed by this.

    Enjoy your wee doggie. You will get fit!

  • Thanks Nettie,

    Those are the exact reasons I opted to go for it - I'd always had dogs growing up,but once I left home and was working I couldn't commit the time needed for a dog,so ended up getting cats instead. As much as I adore my cats,and people often say they are the most spoilt they've ever seen,I've always been a dog person at heart,as you say,it gets you out of the house and you end up with an entire new circle of friends - and I just can't wait for that to happen xx

  • lovely post best thing u done a dog gives us reason to get up and also gets u out in all weathers for a walk wish u a happy 2017 xx

  • I think this is the best decision you have made to improve your well being!! I know this for a fact, because if it wasn't for my dog I would have been lost. My dog is a yorkie schnauzer cross. She keeps me active and she makes me laugh :)

  • Thanks so much for all of your positive replies - this is the exact reason I LOVE using this site - everyone already knows how each other is feeling,and you don't have to go into detail or feel the need to explain why you're making big decisions like this in the first place. Given a choice of being constantly pumped full of medication,or being able to feel just a tad normal by doing the things others take for granted,like being able to have, or even just walk a dog,then I'd take the non medical route every time if it helps just the teeniest bit, as I'd imagine the rest of you would?! This site has definitely helped me through some of my darker times,even if it's only by 'watching from the sidelines' as it were,you guys truly have made the difference some days between me wanting to get out of bed or not,so once again,I sincerely thank you all just for being you,and for always being a shoulder/ear when needed.

    Here's to a healthier 2017

    Nicki xx

  • Dogs really are man's/woman's best friend. When I had Lucy (the bestest doggie in the whole wide world) I use to walk her every morning around our reservoir at the same time each day. I saw the same people every morning walking their dogs and eventually would start to smile at them, then say good morning and before I knew where I was i was having chats with them.

    But one man sticks out in my mind, an elderly gentleman that told me his dog had virtually saved his life. It was a rescue dog and he told me he was really depressed before he had him, didn't want to get out of bed in the mrning, didn't want to venture outside but because of his dog he had to get up in the morning and he had made lots of new friends while taking him a walk, given him a new lease of life bless him.

    Enjoy you new friend. xx

  • Bye the way.....You can tell your dogs all your secrets, they will listen intensively, but they will never tell a soul what you've told them!😀

  • Thanks Paula-C ,I'll remember the secrets bit - will definitely come in handy after I've fallen in heaps of mud more than once if my previous track records are anything to go by😂

    Also,one of my oldest and closest friends (even though we live hours apart) got her dog when she was at a very low point in her life,very much like the elderly gentleman you talk about,and she said the exact same thing - her daughter couldn't get her out of bed as she was old enough to fend for herself,but it was the dog that totally depended on her that gave her the kick she needed to start living again😊 Xx

  • What a gorgeous your puppy dog Minnie is Nicki! I think she's doing remarkably well for her age with the toilet training though we've always used newspaper & moved it closer to the door the more trained they become though they may recommend differently nowadays. I could never be without a dog, they keep you doing stuff rather than vegetating when things aren't so good. They lift your spirits when you're a bit down & unconditional love doesn't touch it! Like you we've always had bigger dogs but our latest rescue is shall we say petite, a lady, though not as small as your Minnie will be but she's a sight lighter than our other dog, more delicate!

    I hope you enjoy your trips out together.

  • Thanks nomoreheels

    I've actually found onsite a tray that has fake grass on it that you can wash with soapy water,and a collecting tray underneath for the wet bits,and that's her training pad for downstairs.... 99% of the time she makes it,so at 10 1/2 weeks, I really can't complain with the odd mishap. It's also getting moved closer to the door too,some methods just can't be beaten,no matter how old they are😊

    I agree that they give you reason for getting out,which is why she's here,and I was relieved after explaining to the breeder when she said if I felt really bad she'd be more than happy to run around our enclosed garden for a few days until I felt better again -another big reason for me deciding to take the plunge,like I said before,I would never have considered such a small dog before,but after so much research,and learning that Maltese are often used as therapy dogs,that pretty much cinched the deal for me. Many people have knocked the fact I got a kc pup,but once I explained I couldn't afford taking the risk of getting a dog that was advertised as one thing,and then growing up into something 5 times her size (as I've known happen to a few people) and with a completely different temperament to what I'd been after,they all understood. I would've loved to have had a rescue,as most of my previous pets have been,but it just wouldn't have been fair on either of us if things hadn't turned out the way they were planned! I'm glad your dogs are keeping you on your toes,and sane too,even if it doesn't feel like it at times😉

    Happy new year

    Nicki xx

  • What a wonderful time you will have with Minnie. They give you so much and change your life. You have to go out even when you do not feel like it. They also know when you cannot go as far. You also meet other dog walkers so you get the social aspect. When I was not well at the beginning of last year our boy Westie never left my side. He even took my socks off for me.

    Puppies are hard work with training but it is fun. A Vet once told me that is the time you decide how you want your dog to turn out. We have been fortunate with our Westies they have all been sociable and we take them everywhere with us.

    Enjoy and have fun with Minnie x

  • Oh what a heartwarming story! I didn't want it to end! I wish I could do it for all the same reasons as you but I have to accept I just wouldn't cope. I don't drive or have a partner so no support if I needed it. I worry about not being able to walk it when I am feeling poorly etc etc. I have always had pets til now. When my beloved 20 year old cat went it was at this time I got seriously ill and realised I would not have been able to cope with her, so her going was kind of at the right time. However I want to hear everything about your exciting new lease of life with Minnie and lots of pics please! How are your cats taking to her?!

    Cathy xx

  • Hi Cathy777

    The cats have been so good with her that I feel like a proud mum because of how exceptionally good they've been - Thomas was a stray we took in,so we think he's about 6ish now,but the girls are only 2 1/2,and even though they're half Maine coon (which we didn't know at the time,they just looked like normal little fluffy moggies) they have all been so gentle with her - I think it's the fact she's so small that helps,as they know that they'd do her more damage than the other way around if needed 😝 But ever since the first day there's not been a raised hair or hiss between any of them towards her,and as much as they want to keep their distance(sitting on the sofa looking down because she can't reach,or just walking past when she's in her bed for the night) they always stop to have a sly sniff and a look,and obv it's getting more and more by the day. She had a couple of bops on the head the other day by both of my girls(meg n mog) but even then she needed it because she was trying to nip their backsides.... but they still didn't hiss,have a hair out of place or even the claws out on their paws(and their paws are more than big enough for a hefty punch if they wanted,as the cat from over the road found out when he tried getting into their enclosed garden during the summer😝) ,it literally was like a big sister keeping a younger one in check by holding them at arms length😂! I didn't take the decision lightly,as like you,when my illness is bad I end up in a Powerchair, and even then I struggle to use the joystick because of the lack of grip,but I needed something to stop me from rotting away indoors with just more and more pills rattling away. I know how very lucky I am for support,as not only do I have my Carecall alarm,my parents are one street away(the reason I chose this house when I first got ill) my sister and nephews who can all drive are only at the other end of town,and of course,my partner,who I am still registered as his carer,due to his bipolar - between us we manage to make it work...,, even if there are plenty of fireworks along the way,but then relationships are about give and take,and luckily I've found someone who appreciates when I'm at my lowest,because he obviously has his downtimes too.

    I'll definitely keep you posted with pics etc,as there's bound to be plenty of funny anecdotes that'll go hand in hand along the way,esp as we're due for her first venture into the big wide world this week,and then her puppy classes are due on the 13th(all booked before she was picked up - it's literally been like a military operation,as I didn't want to risk leaving things incase I got ill again). But at least with her size if I do need my chair again,I've already spotted online a little cart that attaches to the back,almost like a mini,enclosed trailer - mum says I'll look like the proper town nutter,but if it keeps me outside,then it'll be bought😂 .... I even considered it for the cats at one point as mog(the most like a Maine coon) is more like a dog anyway.... she follows me everywhere,and quite often we'll just curl up on the sofa with her asleep on my lap/chest like a baby for 4 or 5 hours at a time😻) !! And no,when it gets to the time when they're both happy on the sofa together,my lap is still mogs first and foremost - she means the world to me,and I'm doing everything I can not to have their noses put out of joint,as it's their home first.... the dog hasn't even been allowed in their room yet,as that's their one true place for peace and quiet😍

    Sorry for war and peace effort again,but once I start I just can't stop(a bit like when I hit the pringles,or sweets.... infact, anything generally😂)

    Here's hoping that your memories of your wonderful cat keep you going when you need them.... I still have tears when remembering my previous animals,some of who passed years ago,but if you're a true animal person,as most of us on here are,then time doesn't matter - once there,they never leave your heart xx

  • I read war and peace and frankly your version is better! It all sounds good and peace and goodwill all round in your house! Yes I love animals too much some say. I like them better than people usually. Good luck with the outdoor world adventure! You will love it as much as Millie!

  • You can never like animals too much - they're far better trained than some people I've met over the years!! Xx

  • Pleased you got a dog. She is beautiful, best thing you could do. I have a little Yorkie she's 15 called Maisie. She still likes her walks and little plays with her toys. If i am not feeling good , even on a cold wet day i get wrapped up and go for a walk . I feel so much better after having a natter with my doggie friends and being out in the fresh air

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