Usually people rescue puppies, but in this case, a puppy rescued my grandmother, Celeste Roberts, after her husband of many years died. At 82, she still has so much life left in her, but the process of bereavement sucked away some of the joy she might have otherwise embraced like an emotional vacuum. Of course, it was just a matter of time before she would find a solution. In this case, it was a furry solution. She has always loved dogs, but hadn’t had one of her own in decades. Here’s what she wrote about the new addition to her otherwise quiet home. According to WebMD, the idea of caring for a pet to lift one’s spirits isn’t imaginary. "Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression," says Ian Cook, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA.
Of course, it’s hard to escape pet therapy as a concept. It’s everywhere. But it’s hard to fathom the power of it until it’s happening to you.
How a Puppy Saved My Life
I got a puppy and all 1 lb. 6 oz. of him gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. My first thought was, I have a lot of nerve getting a puppy at my age. Everything I’ve known about puppies was buried deep in the recesses of my mind and it would be necessary to learn about them all over again.
Over the past year, I’d long for a fluffy white teacup poodle to love and cuddle. I had poodles in my 30s and they were a joy. One day I found myself in a puppy store with a friend taking out my credit card as I watched the shivering tiny Yorkie she held in her lap. I felt like a child again. My child was still alive after all and I decided I had to have this bundle of joy to begin my journey back to the world of the living. I named him “Lovi” and the reason was obvious to me. I needed a lover and a four-legged lover didn’t scare me. I also had fond memories of being called Lovi by my friend’s mother, when I was 5. The name says so much to me and makes me emotional.
It brings tears to my eyes, especially when I think about my two-legged Lovi, my husband, Spencer, who died June 18, 2013. The quiet came after all the goodbyes, but then it was too quiet. People told me it takes years to recover from losing a mate, but I had to walk a mile in the moccasins to really understand how impossible life can feel when you find yourself alone morning, noon and night. Your adult off-spring may attempt to cater to your every need, yet they have their own lives and there is a limit to what they can do.
,p>“You’re on your own,” I said to myself, when the realization of what my life would be and what I might become made me wonder what was next.
Each day was a challenge until I got to a point where getting out of bed was difficult.
“Why do I need to get up? I’m not interested in doing anything,” I thought.
And I found myself crying over just about everything. The news and the violence on TV upset me and I had to stop watching it as the negative side of everything was my focus. I was becoming a negative, desperate person who wanted to die. I’d tell myself death would be good because I had lived a very rich life. Besides, I’d say why live too long just to suffer for years. Who needs that? In spite of the fact that I’m not on any medication to speak of and have a clean bill of health, I seemed to have adopted a negative attitude.
“Where has my faith gone?” I asked myself. I knew I needed to get it back. I needed to get back the self-discipline of “act as if” and “just do it,” which had worked for me in the past. But not this time.
I needed to learn to laugh again. That would be Lovi’s job. He became mine October 5, 2013. He taught me to really laugh. I now can see the promise of a new and different life for me. I have a long way to go as I stare down at him lying in my lap fast asleep. I need to see him through at least a few years until he is full-grown. He is the bridge I needed to carry me to the other side of my life. This “tiny bundle of joy,” as my son, John, called him, is a powerful force in helping me accept the fact that my journey is not over. To stop myself from living and turn off my growth would be foolish. Growth will extend my life and with Lovi along for the ride, I’ll be healthier.