beagles · Bipolar Disorder · mental health

Everyone Needs Someone To Love: My Therapy Dog

I love animals. My favorite are dogs, but I love cats too. I love animals SO much that I really want to volunteer at my local humane society, but I know that I will bring every single one of those dogs and cats home. Especially the beagles. My first beagle experience wasn’t that long ago. I had owned dogs my entire adult life and my parents always had dogs when I was growing up. I have loved every one of them and really enjoyed having them in my life. Then came, Copper. I didn’t have a dog for 7 months before Copper. I did have a dog before that. I had a cute little Shih-Poo (Shih-tzu Poodle) that I named Captain Jack Sparrow, Jack for short. I got him in July of 2010 when he was 5 months old. He was a very energetic dog and a pain in the ass to potty train. He spent the majority of the time in his crate. I wasn’t a very good puppy mom. My girls didn’t help me take care of him and he really was just too much for me to handle. Around December of 2011 my mom suggested that I find another home for him. This made me very sad, but I agreed. I had to take care of myself and my girls and I was having a hard enough time taking care of us. I didn’t try very hard to find him a home, I didn’t try very hard at anything really. I was in and out of depressive episodes and most of the time I just didn’t care. She came to visit to help me out in February and decided to take Jack home with her. This was very hard for me because I was a single mom who shared 50/50 custody of her kids with her ex husband. My girls were gone 3 nights a week and I had no one. I had some friends, most of whom are married and didn’t want to hang out with their single depressed friend. I muddled through until September when I spoke with my sister. I told her I was lonely. My cat wasn’t a loving cat with anyone except my oldest daughter. I needed a dog. She told me that I needed to find a dog that was not a puppy and one that was compatible with my lifestyle. So I decided to adopt from my local humane society. Before I did that though, I felt I really needed to tell my mom. I actually told her I missed having a dog and I wanted Jack back. She said, No. He was happy at her house and he is not the right dog for me. Alright, then I am going to adopt one is what I told her. I told my girls that I was going to be getting a dog. I explained to them that I needed to pick him and make sure he was perfect for my lifestyle, but they could help me pick out the name. This was ok by them. So the next day (I waste no time,) I went to my local humane society. I had talked with my landlord and I was allowed a dog no bigger than 15″. I walked into the small room of small/medium dogs. Every single dog was barking, except one. There he was with his back to me, curled up in a ball in his cage. They had named him Blue Boy. He was a 7 year old beagle that was brought in as a stray. He looked up at me with his huge brown eyes. He looked so sad, kinda like me. The staff let me take him for a walk. He was so excited and was such a good boy with his nose to the ground. I had to put him back in his cage after our walk because he was not neutered so I couldn’t take him home that day. As I walked out, all the other dogs were barking and he just sat there and watched me leave with his big brown eyes not making a sound. I paid for him and was told I could pick him up on September 21st. That is Copper’s gotcha day as I call it. I had never been around a beagle before, but I heard they bark a lot. This was a little bit of a concern to me because I lived in an apartment, but he didn’t bark at all while I was at the humane society so I didn’t really worry about it. The girls and I settled on a name, Copper, from The Fox and the Hound. The girls and I went to pick up Copper on the 21st. He was one excited dog. He jumped in the car and barked all the way home. Oh, so he does bark.  Now a beagle barks and they bay and I usually use these terms interchangeably because Copper does both usually at the same time. It is more of an aroo noise and it’s very loud. Luckily, he didn’t do it much in my apartment. Another thing I learned about beagles is they love to eat. They can actually get quite fat if left to eat whatever they want. Copper is quite the beggar and has been known to lick food in my hand if I am not paying complete attention to it. Something else about Copper is he is very lazy. This is my kind of dog! I don’t know if it is because he is old or what, but he literally lays around all day. He doesn’t even get up to go to the bathroom in the morning until around 10:00. He does love to go outside, but he lays around out there too, usually in the sun. One of my favorite things about Copper is his intuition. He always seems to know when I’m down. He will lay next to me on the couch or in my lap. He’ll get up from where he is laying on the chair and come over to me just to lay on me. When my kids are gone with their dad, he is right by my side. When they are home, he shares. I’ve never had the connection with a dog or any animal for that matter than I do with Copper. And he loves spending time with me. I take him for car rides, walks, romps at the river all the while his nose is to the ground trying to find a bunny. He’s a terrible hunter, by the way. A rabbit ran across our backyard and instead of chasing it, he ran to where it came from and sniffed all around. He makes me laugh. I think he does things on purpose to make me happy. He has helped me tremendously in my therapy. I think we were meant to find each other. I rescued him and gave him a good life and in return he gave me a best friend. Someone who doesn’t judge me and loves me unconditionally (especially if I give him a bite of my sandwich.) I’m not sure what I am going to do when his time comes and he won’t be by my side anymore. We are like two peas in a pod, just me and my dog.

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Side note: Copper is not my only animal. Before I got married I had Copper (9yr old beagle) and a tuxedo cat named George (4yr old). Now I have Copper, Chloe (11yr old beagle), Olympus (1 yr old Black Lab mix), George, Scootaloo (2 yr old tortie cat), and 4 Plymouth Barred Rock chickens!

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