For the last three years, I have been thinking of getting a dog. I was overwhelmed with the number of breeds, which slowed my search for the best one for me. One of the main reasons I wanted a dog is research has shown dogs are good for the owner's physical and mental health. As I live with depression, I was very interested to see if being a dog owner could help me.
Well, long story short, but I became aware of the greyhound breed and the need for them to be adopted once their racing careers are over.
So, November 13, 2018 I brought Mac (who I named after the computer) home. She has brought me joy, happiness, and truly has improved my mood. I struggle far less with depression having her in my life. I'm not saying she is a miracle drug, but with the guidance from my doctors, I am now off all medication for my emotions.*
In the seven short months this girl had been in my life, she has already expanded my understand of life and love.
#1 Run (exercise) for the fun of it
When I adopted Mac, I knew she was used to running in her former career as a racing greyhound. But once a racer retires, some never run again. I didn't know if Mac would still want to run after retirement.
One week after adopting her, I took her to the woods with a friend. She seemed like she wanted to run, so under supervision, we let her off-leash. I will never be able to express in words the joy I saw in her when she took that first lap around the field. She was more excited then I had seen; and she was running for the pure love of it.
It was breathtaking to watch. I was lucky enough to get this beautiful video taken by my Daniel Kuykendall, who happened to bring his camera that day.
#2 Sometimes you need to raise your voice to get someone's attention
Skip to timecode :51 in video
#3 Make time to play with friends
A few months after I adopted Mac, my neighbors adopted Layla from the same greyhound adoption group! We made sure to take our time introducing them on neutral ground, and from first sniff they loved each other! We take them often to the woods to run and play together. Whenever we pass Layla's house, Mac stops cause she knows her friend is inside!
#4 Search for a patch of sunshine and bask in it
When the sun's out and I take Mac out for a bathroom break, she now seeks out any patch of sun she can find and plops down. Doesn't matter if it's on rocks, a plant, or concrete. When she finds her patch of sun, she basks in it.
#5 It's ok to follow
#6 Make your home comfortable, no matter what others might think
#7 Enjoy each day and don't worry about tomorrow
This is something I have learned and tried to practice throughout my life, but now I have a new reality. The lifespan of a greyhound is about 10-15 years, so it's inevitable she will die way sooner than me.
The first few months I was so scared she was going to die soon, even any day. Through a lot of prayer and conversation, I have come to appreciate everyday with her. I'm not concerned about "someday when she is no longer here" and enjoy all my time with her in the present. This new reality has also helped me with the fear of losing human life.
#8 Get excited when someone comes to visit
#9 Always be exploring
#10 Relax, take a break, and just chill out
A misconception about the greyhound breed is they need a lot of walks and space to run. Well, they sleep about 18 hours a day, may or may not need to run, and just need a short walk or two.
I don't feel bad that she sleeps all day, because I know she needs and loves it! But even with all the sleep, she loves to play (zoomies) and be silly. I have also taught her four tricks!
* Please note, I fully believe medication is a helpful tool in treating many illness, including mental illness. My medication history has been under the guidance of medical professionals. My experience is mine, and may not look the same in your life.
Do you have a dog?