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The power of a pet when it comes to recovery

I think I came out of the womb asking for a dog. Of course I probably didn’t know much about dogs when I was little except that they were cute and I wanted one, but over time I learned that they are the best companions through both good and bad times.

My family moved around quite a bit throughout my school years, but the one thing that I knew would always remain constant wherever I was, was my family! I lobbied for a dog with each move and didn’t even stop after we got one. Therefore, I am so lucky to have grown up with two of the best dogs: Colby and Windsor.
While Windsor was present in my younger years, Colby was the dog that was really there for me during the years that I struggled the most with anorexia. There is nothing quite like having a companion that is always there for you and whose sheer presence is even more effective than words. When I came home from school upset, or was lonely on weekends, I always knew he would be there. When I needed to get out of the house and take a walk to let feelings pass, he was always there. Everyone in my family referred to him as “Perry’s dog” not only because I was the one that lobbied for him, but because we were always together and in my mind, we had a special bond.

I think the most valuable lesson I learned from having two Golden Retrievers though was realizing how different they were. Yes they were the same breed, and honestly I assumed that when we got Colby, he would be just like Windsor, but I could not have been more wrong. Windsor was the regal dog that was perfect, never barked or chewed anything, posed for pictures, didn’t have to be walked on a leash and well Colby… he was the exact opposite. What I learned from Colby and Windsor, and everyone who met them both was that people still LOVED Colby because he was goofy and funny and because he wasn’t perfect. Honestly, I learned from Colby that Windsor was the rare exception in dogs, and Colby was a breath of fresh air to reality.

Being a twin, I always found myself constantly comparing myself to my twin sister, which in many ways fueled my eating disorder. I found great relief in identifying with Colby and being different from Charlotte, but knowing that people still loved and appreciated my presence for my personality.

Unfortunately dogs don’t live forever and it’s hard loosing a pet, but I have to be thankful for the time that I got to spend with them and how they helped me through my recovery from an eating disorder. It’s funny to think that Colby and Windsor never really intended to help me, and will never know how much I appreciated them being there for me, but that’s why dogs are amazing.

While I no longer have a dog I have found a way to channel my interest and love of dogs into a dog blog called “A Dog In The Apple.” Living in New York City, I found that I loved going up to people and meeting their dog’s so much so that I wanted to write about all of my encounters. I have found this to be a great outlet for me, and something that I really enjoy doing.


For those of you dog lovers out there you can follow me on:
Facebook: A Dog In The Apple
Instagram: @adogintheapple
Always remember to take life one day at a time; all it takes is putting one paw in front of the other!

Crédits photo: Flickr/Dolanh

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