Your dog is depressed. 

You know the look.  At least I do, especially when I am working a lot and distracted or tired or…well, too busy to pay enough attention to her.    

Picture this: Canine chubbiness gone boneless as your four-footed sweetheart shlumps on the sofa, snout laid out like trout, eyes despairing and tail inert.

Awful.  How to prevent such an occurrence in one’s beloved, clinically depressed critter?  Life in a shelter was tough on my Pumpernickel.  How can I keep her mood elevated throughout life’s ups and downs, without feeding her anti-depressant medication?

Simple, really.  Here are my thoughts: 

  1. Walk into rooms with the physical exuberance of a three-year-old wherever dog is located, thereby conveying the message that life is exciting, or about to get exciting.  Yes, this may mean “fake it till you make it,” but that’s OK.  Wear the mask until your face (or the dog’s) perks up to fill it.
  2. Enjoy food in your life by cooking and serving it a lot--especially chicken.  And don’t fuss too much over the eating habits of your slob of a kid.  Life is too short; let the pieces fall where they may (especially on the floor near the dog).
  3. Walk at least 30 minutes a day, occasionally altering pace and scenery.  Get that heartbeat thumping.
  4. Make noise occasionally.  Howl at a joke, yell at a game, giggle at the feel of a wet doggy nose on your arm or a too-long-claw at your stockings.  A little barking now and then feels good.
  5. Don’t worry too much about the future or bemoan the past.  The present is here now, in this room.  Notice it.
  6. Smell and celebrate the flowers.  Among other things.
  7. Chase the cat occasionally.  Ponder the tortoise for insight into its inner rock-ness.
  8. Steal food from others when they aren’t looking.  It’s all in the family, right?
  9. Enjoy small, natural adventures with someone you love, like finding an empty beach to run on, or a forest to walk through, or a stretch of grass to roll over.
  10. Soak up the sun on your face, and watch the rain when it does come, and witness the fall of night from a safe nest on a blanket or couch or bed or floor.

Come to think of it, this is how to prevent depression in ME, especially when I am working a lot and distracted or tired or…well, too busy to pay enough attention to her.

Dogs are wise.  Beyond belief.    

 

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