“I can’t go down there again. I WILL NOT allow myself to take another step down!” I sobbed to the screen saver on my phone. Tears streamed down my cheeks. Through eyes swollen nearly closed from the constant crying I looked into my dog’s trusting gaze captured in the photograph on my phone. I needed to pull myself together, if not for myself then for him. He is completely dependent on me and I had no choice but to be there for him.
I am completely alone in my world. This illness has contributed to the estrangement of my children and by default, my grandchildren. It has become a factor in personal relationships of all kinds. I am divorced and have nil contact with my ex. I moved to an area where I knew no one, hoping to build a new life but the social aspect has been extremely difficult. I have been living here for 6 years and I do not have a single friend and only one very casual acquaintance. I no longer date. But I will talk about those relationships, or more accurately the lack of, in later posts. For now suffice to say I am completely alone. Except for my dog, Dallas.
Dallas is the reason I get out of bed every morning. He needs to “go out” and take care of business by around 8 a.m. He is only fed 1 main meal a day, as soon as he comes back in. I don’t have the luxury or the temptation to sleep late because he is very hungry and needs to be fed. After he eats, and again a few times between 9 a.m. and noon, he needs to”go out”. He is a big dog, living in a very tiny home, always on a tie out when he is outside, and without an energetic mom to play with him. I know this isn’t healthy for him so I have compensated by making a verbal promise to him that, other than in thunder and lightning, no matter the weather we will head to the dog park every afternoon. I don’t make a promise I don’t think I can keep. It’s a thing with me …
Every day at 3, we get in the truck and head to the post office, stop for some fresh groceries if needed, then on to the dog park for his “doggie date” with the other dogs he has come to know. Simply being around other dog owners forces me to interact on a social level, and the park being several acres in size invites the opportunity to get out for a walk. We spend at least an hour and a half every day, walking, talking and interacting with the other dogs and their owners. I can’t, in all good conscience, deprive Dallas of this.
Around 5 p.m. every day we head home. Dallas eagerly awaits the only other food he gets all day… his cookie at 6 o’clock. I grab something, usually to put in the microwave for myself while he waits. After he eats his cookie he ALWAYS needs to “go out” yet again, and one more time before bed, usually around 11 p.m.
So you see, he couldn’t survive without someone to care for him. I wouldn’t survive without a reason to get out of bed every morning. It isn’t the best support team in the world, but making a commitment to him and being forced to keep my word by the very fact that he is a dog are the only things that really keep me moving through my day right now. That, and the promise to get back on track and tell you more about the truths my sisters told …
5 thoughts on “A PROMISE TO DALLAS”
This is such a wonderful example of how pets can fulfill multiple roles: companions, friends, therapists, health care workers. Keep going for Dallas and Dallas will keep going for you!
Thank you Nicole. That is why I am sharing this difficult time. I am a firm believer that “everything has a silver lining”. If my experience can be a light of hope for someone else then that is a good thing.
Please do not be insulted when I ask if thisnis fiction or is it real? You right very well, qnd you make me feel what you write. You have a wonderful way about it. Bit of course, much of the content makes me sad. I do see a lot of me in it. There are so many places in life when I am surrounded by crowds and yet I feel so alone. And, of course, there is a dog in my life whom I love and there is another whose memory yet makes me very heavy.
Thank you for your question and your kind words. I am glad that I am able to reach you. My words are and will always be the 100% truth, as ugly as it may be. In future posts I will be addressing WHY I am telling my story in such a blunt manner. For now I write to offer hope, support and solidarity to readers like you who feel alone in their battle with mental illness. Stay strong and keep writing 🙂
It has been approximately 5 years since I last posted. I am revisiting my blog because i am in a bad place right now and am seeking support and solice from my previous blogs and subsequent comments. Your post still stands out to me 5 years later. Yes, it is the truth. I would never speak otherwise. I hope your journey has brought you to a better place than that which you were seeking to leave. God bless.