In my lowest moments, my dog gives me hope
The theme of #HelloYellow this year is hope, so we asked our Activists what gives them hope. Here's what Rachael, 21, said.
It never takes me long to find my hope in the morning. All I have to do is call her name and tap on the bed, and then I get walked all over before she lays down next to me, asking for a belly rub. In hindsight maybe I should have called her Hope, but I think Diamond sums her up pretty well.
Diamond was bought for me as a therapy dog: at the time I was struggling through the second year of A-levels and, since nothing else had really worked up until that point, I managed to persuade my parents to get me a puppy. Diamond turned out to be the best thing to happen to me.
Of course, she wasn’t a miracle cure, nothing ever is, but she is always there for me when I need her. If I’m sad or angry at the world she will come and sit by me, almost as if she knows I’m not angry at her, letting me know that she is there for me and loves me regardless. She also just lets me feel how I’m feeling, rather than telling me my feelings are wrong or that I should be feeling a different way.
She is a source of physical affection for me too, something that during lockdown I didn't realise how much I missed, as my family doesn't show it very often. If I ever need a hug or a snuggle, Diamond is always there and makes me feel loved and wanted when others are unable to.
Diamond is also the reason I now run a dog grooming business. When I got her I couldn’t afford to get her groomed, so learnt with scissors, and then clippers, how to groom her myself. I was looking at going to university at the time, but then my confidence with her grooming grew to the point where I decided it was a possible career option. (This was confirmed when I went to a salon and realised that she is more difficult than most to groom, so if I could do her I was going to be able to do most dogs!)
Without her I would never have discovered my talent and passion for grooming. With the recent lockdown, this has been very important as I had to stop my other jobs but was able to start grooming as a business, which obviously gave me a lot of hope in an otherwise very anxious time. Diamond has given me a career, and a means of getting my own place someday with her by my side.
I have had some very dark times in my life, especially during the last couple of years, and have experienced suicidal thoughts. At times the only thing stopping me from acting on them was Diamond. When it felt like I was completely alone in the world and that no one else understood or cared, Diamond was always there to lick the tears away and remind me that I had someone to live for, and someone that I couldn't bear to leave behind: the times I told myself that everyone else would carry on just fine with me gone, she was the one that I knew wouldn't and the one that needed me to stay.
She has brought hope multiple times when nothing and no one else could, and despite being a dog, I think she realises just how clever she is. She seems to pick up on everything else and is so in tune with how I think and feel that she must do.
Diamond has taught me so much since being in my life, about love (for others and myself), loyalty and hope. She's such a special dog, my very best friend, and I know for a fact that I wouldn't be where I am today without her. She has given me so much confidence too: I have made new friends because of her and, for the past two years, I have gone on holiday just me and her without the rest of my family, something I never imagined I would do so young.
If there is a person or pet in your life who brings you hope as Diamond does to me, make some time to spend with them today. Those special ones in our lives really can bring us up from the deepest of our dark times. And if there is one thing you take from this blog, I'd say that spending time with those who care about you is one of the best things you can do to bring hope into your life.
Author: Rachael, 21
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