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Looking after ourselves

Senior Contributor

Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

Does anybody else have a pet whom they rely on for companionship, comfort and everyday unconditional love and acceptance?

Very briefly, I suffer from PTSD and have done for 20 years. I have only recently sought help for it though, after trying to 'hide the symptoms for 18 years'.  For the past year I have been undergoing Exposure Therapy and also EMDR therapy.  Currently on ADs and taking medication to help with ptsd-related sleep disturbances and nightmares.

When I was in a very low place recently I wrote this poem about my little dog Holly.


My Little Dog Holly

I'd been wanting a little dog, but my hubby said no ... way too much trouble.

Then I spotted you one day, in a car alongside mine.

You looked sad and dejected .... the way I felt.

You were just eight months old at the time.


A skinny underfed little girl you were.

As I peered into the window, your eyes looked intently into mine.

Emotional tears caused my vision to blur,

as I considered the unlikely possibility that our lives may entwine.


When your owner returned to the car ... we talked,

 and I discovered that something was wrong.

It seems you weren't wanted,

that you didn't get along.


I wanted to give you a more loving home to stay.

So I asked your owner if she'd let you go, hoping this wasn't folly.

Yes she said ... please take Tootsie away!

So home we went, you and I, where I renamed you Holly.


I worried what hubby would say, when I arrived home with you.

So I drove home feeling anxious, hoping he'd allow you to stay.

But you soon won him over with your enthusiasm and charm.

When I asked if I could keep you, he grudgingly said that I may.


So now I had my little dog, whom I could call my own.

You quickly made a permanent home, of our humble abode.

Such a sweet natured and obedient little girl you are.

Though shy and sensitive, your unique personality has always showed.


When I'm home alone and feeling vulnerable,

I know I can rely on you to alert me, when someone is around.

Your bark conveys a lot, and I'm able to tell ... whether it's friend or foe.

So there's no need for me to panic, at every little sound.


When I awaken in the dark of night,

breathless and shaking in fright.

You crawl closer and snuggle up tight,

helping to 'ground' me, until I can again see the light.


When I'm sad or afraid, and unable to prevent tears from falling,

you're always right beside me, pressing your little body close.

As if to remind me, that you're right there and could use a cuddle.

That I'm not entirely alone, and shouldn't feel morose.


 When I arrive home after being out,

you're always there to greet me, giving your all.

I cannot help but smile,

as your love and devotion is so unconditional.


When you look so knowingly into my eyes,

what is it there that you seek?

There are times you appear so wise,

what would you tell me, if you could speak?


I may not be here now, if not for you.

You give me a reason each day ... to live.

Your joy of life helps me to view,

life's simple pleasures from your perspective.


Re: Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

Hi @Sherry

I love your poem. It brought tears to my eyes.

I have a dog, a kelpie/bordercollie and she is amazing.  I remember one day I was so emotional that she came up to me and just sat right next to me and kept looking.

As soon as she wakes up in the morning (she sleeps in my son;s room), she runs downstairs and dives onto my bed.  She then lays right next to me, looks at me in the eyes and wants to lick me so much. and then she falls to sleeps.  She is such an intelligent dog, i swear sometimes she was a human in her previous life.  I sometimes think i am talking to a human because i am sure that she understands, the way she looks at me and turns her head.

she is my best friend, i play with her; lay down on the carpet with her.  As soon as i come home from work she cries, and runs to the top of the stairs and waits for me to say hi to her and pat and play with her.

My kelpie Jersey is my best friend, i love her so much. 



Re: Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

@Sherry. That is a beautiful poem. You have a gift for feelings and writing them down.

Re: Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

Thanks Sadgirl. Jersey sounds a great dog. They are very intelligent arent they? I also am sure they understand a lot more than most people give them credit for.

I had a Kelpie before as well. We used to have a sheep farm and she was our working dog. But when we sold the farm and moved to where we are now, we naturally brought her with us. She was always just as much a pet as a working dog anyway.

She had the absolute best temperament. Great with kids and old people, totally reliable, highly intelligent. She really was a beautiful dog. Unfortunately I lost her to lymphoma about 4 years ago, when she was only 9yo.

She was also a great mate to my current little dog Holly when she came onto the scene. Holly is a little mini foxy x chihuaha. We both still miss Bessie the kelpie. )-:

Re: Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

Thankyou Utopia, that is very kind of you. I am certainly no poet though. In fact this is the second poem I've ever attempted. It just seemed to come straight from the heart though, it didnt take long. I would like to get into poetry a bit more, but I have a lot to learn.

Re: Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

Hi @Sherry

Holly looks so cute! Lucky for you both that you found her. Your poem is lovely...straight from the heart.

I don't get out much as I have Anxiety Disorder. My three cats keep me company, I don't know where I'd be without them. One of the cats I adopted from the pound three years ago. He was 11 years old at the time and on death row. He is my therapy cat, he senses when I'm anxious or upset and sits on my lap and looks up at me every now and then to see how I;m doing.

Good you have sought help. Best wishes to you and Holly.

Re: Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

Hi @Sherry

Love your poem. You do have a gift with words!

My old dog was also a working dog although I retired her at 15 a couple of years ago. She still jumps at any opportunity to get back on the job though.

Your description of Holly and how she cares for you is almost identical to my old lady. I'm so pleased you've got Holly to help you through each day!

Hugzzz 🐕🎶💕

Re: Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

Yeah thanks April. Holly is a real little cutie. The most lovable little dog imaginable.

I totally understand your devotion to your 3 cats. My Mum also has 3 cats and she is totally devoted to them, and they to her. My Mum is now 79, so it is great that she has such devoted companionship.

But pets are fantastic for anybody, of any age.

Thankyou so much for your best wishes.

And I also wish you the very best too April. You and your 3 best mates. xx

Re: Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

Beautiful poem!

My little cat provides me with a lot of support and pets, don't know what I'd do without her.

There's something about having someone excited to see you when you get home.

Re: Pets as therapy and for our wellbeing

Thankyou very much for your complimentary assessment of my poetry skills Kurra. That is very kind of you indeed.

Yes my kelpie also jumped at every opportunity to get back to work, even after we retired her at 7 years old when we sold the farm.

We moved to a 3 acre property and she shifted her sheep dog skills to all the neighbours chook rounding up skills.

She was so funny and made friends with all the neighbours and would turn up at the time they used to call their chooks in for the night. She'd turn up at their doorstep and be ready to go and round up their chooks for them. And of course she always got herself a treat for her efforts. The neighbours used to keep a chicken wing or something for her.

It admittedly meant that she put a bit of weight on after a while because she would come home for her usual dinner here as well.

But she was a very much loved dog, by both us and all the neighbours.

Now it is just Holly who, after Bessie sadly departed, has taken over the alpha dog role.

But she is such a knowing little dog, and is loved by all who know her.

Very timid and sensitive, but never snappy as some timid dogs can be.
She is just an absolute delight. The best little buddy you could ever have the pleasure of having.

I do love my little Holly. She is definitely my saviour in times of distress.

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