At OneMind Dogs, we talk a lot about giving a better life for dogs. But it also goes the other way around. Dogs can have a huge role at giving a better life for their humans.
OneMind Dogs Assistant Coach Katelyn Scott has been struggling with depression, and has found that the company of her dogs has helped her to feel a lot better. Here’s what Katelyn tells about her experiences with depression and dogs.
Dog sports aren’t just physical, they’re mental. We talk about mental game a lot in relation to dog sports. There are many great courses that help prepare you mentally for competition.
But there is one aspect that doesn’t really get covered: depression. What happens when your thoughts are no longer your own?
People on the outside often think depression is just about feeling sad and unmotivated. It’s actually about a feeling of all-encompassing sorrow. Sometimes, the feeling can become so intense that you just feel numb. When you reach the numbness stage, things can get pretty scary. You’re too numb to feel, so why keep going?
It’s on these days that our dogs can truly save us.
Dogs instinctively know how their humans are feeling. They know when you are sad and begin working to get you moving. They get pushy and demanding. They’ll even start dropping toys in your lap, telling you they need you to do something, anything.
They don’t judge you, or tell you to just get over it, or demand you just feel better. They simply remain by your side, loving you. Dogs don’t say “Oh, do we finally get to play?” Instead, they say “Yay! Play! This is amazing!!” They live in the moment.
People, as well intended as they may be don’t always understand the depth of depression. Depression is not a “choice”. It’s not a “feeling” you can just exchange for a better one. Depression doesn’t go away by just trying to ”think happy thoughts.” However, there are still methods that may help.
Something I have found that helps me is to limit my input of things I cannot control or change. An example of this is digital media. Most people share only the good things in their lives, but these posts are not always a real reflection of life. If you’re having a bad day, it’s a good idea to log off social media and seek out people that understand what you are feeling.
Better yet, seek out your pups! Play with them. Train with them. Laugh, learn, and smile with them. Turn your complete focus on the dogs… life is simpler that way.
My best moments are with my dogs. In those moments I don’t have to think about any of my struggles, I only need to focus on my dogs. There are struggle and there are mistakes… but none of it matters, because they always come back with their toys smiling while saying: “Let’s try one more time mom! We got this!”