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  • Sara Mann

Millie and Me!

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a big animal person. There are people out there that when they see a dog they go all gaga and want to pet it and cuddle it! Not me. So when my husband started to say we should get a dog, my thought was a solid NOPE! We live in the city. This means that we have no yard and we would have to actually walk the dog a lot. There also is this terrible thing where you have to pick up after the dog (if you know what I mean) with your HAND inside a tiny little bag. This made me want to vomit. I also like to travel so I couldn’t imagine having to always pay to board an animal or not be able to just up and leave whenever I wanted. So, every time my husband brought up the idea of getting a dog (which was often) I would say no!

Wyatt, my husband, had a lot of reasons why he thought we should get a dog, but the biggest one was because I struggle pretty badly with depression. He thought a dog would help me. I am kind of isolated at home. I wasn’t working as much at the time because of my health issues. I wasn’t allowed to exercise and I also was/am embarrassed to be out and about because I’m either asked when I’m due or so swollen I feel too much shame walking around puffy. So I spent/d most days, at home, by myself, working. I WAS lonely but I wasn’t sure if having a dog would help?!

One day after church, I finally gave into Wyatt’s prodding and agreed to go to the dog shelter to see if there were any dogs I liked. We walked around for a bit and then I saw THE CUTEST three months old puppy ever!! I couldn’t believe it. I ACTUALLY was really into this dog. She was white and fluffy and her ears were black on the end. SO STINKING CUTE. I was smitten. Wyatt imagined us with a large male short haired dog and here I was with this big white fluffy bear!

We did all the paper work and applied for the puppy, whose name at the time was Glory. There were a bunch of people who had already applied for her so we didn’t think we actually stood a chance, but I went for her anyway! About a week later we found out that the other people who had applied had fallen through, so Glory was all ours! We changed her name to Millie and I now became a “dog person.”

Millie is now a 90 pound Komondor who is super sweat, loving, feisty and stubborn. (sounds like me..whoops!) She is HUGE and has really cool cords, I call them dreads. She is only a little over a year now, but when she gets older she will have really long cords, and I can’t WAIT to take pictures of them! I can’t tell you how many people say she looks like the dog from The Little Mermaid or Annie! Her hair is so shaggy and in her face that she is usually rocking a pony tail and it’s the cutest thing ever!

So what does Millie have anything to do with my recovery from Anorexia? Honestly, a lot! Millie gave me something to wake up for. She relies on me for food, for exercise and love. Millie made me get outside of myself. When I was in a pit of depression it was so hard to get up and do anything. Once I got Millie I was forced to get up and take care of her! I hate to say it, but Wyatt was right! (I hope he doesn’t read this…)

For a time I was forced to be sedentary. I eventually was allowed to go for walks again but because of my depression and feeling incredibly uncomfortable in my new body, I had a hard time finding the motivation. Millie gave me a reason to get outside and enjoy the weather and move my body, even if it was slowly! We now go for a couple of walks a day and not only does she gets SO excited, I get some exercise!

Going through recovery has been a pretty isolating experience. I don’t get out much because I never feel well and am incredibly insecure. I pretty much was avoiding all social activity. Once Millie came along I actually found myself becoming a little more social. I would go to the dog park and meet other people who had dogs. We see them almost every day and it’s nice to have some human interaction! I don’t have children so I am left out of a lot of friend groups and social events. I all of a sudden found myself in a community of people, and it actually has been kind of great! I also am now that crazy person that talks to my dog when I see terrible news on the television or I’m excited that I got something in the mail! She just stares at me like I’m out of my mind, but hey, it’s better then talking to myself!

They say that a dog is a mans best friend! This is 100% true for me and Millie! She is my companion. She lays nearby when I edit for work. She sleeps protectively close and we pretty much do everything together! Last year she did the NEDA Walk with me and we even walked a 5k together. I tried to start going back to the gym a few months ago and it didn’t really go well, so my dietician challenged me to find something that I enjoy doing outside. So, I started to hike almost every Saturday and Millie is right there with me. She goes along the trail and then waits for me to catch up. We started with two miles and have built up to six! She doesn’t judge how slow I’m going or if I need to stop 3,678 times. She just trudges along with me, happy to hang out and be in nature!

The thing I didn’t expect was how loved Millie would make me feel. I’m telling you what, there is NOTHING like the feeling I get when I walk in the front door and she is racing up to me, super excited that I’m home and to say hi. There are days that I’m breaking down in tears because of my recovery and she will come up and put her paw on me and lay at my feet. When I broke my ankle and was taking her for walks REALLY slow in my boot, she would walk intentionally glacial knowing that I was hurt. There is nothing like getting a cuddle from a big fluffy dog when a day is bad and Millie is always up for it!

One of the craziest things Millie has taught me, believe it or not, is a little body acceptance! We were doing the NEDA Walk and Millie was sitting with a MUCH smaller dog. One of my friends looked at them and said, "See, Millie isn’t trying to change her size, she is a big girl and she is rocking it!" Now comparing a human to a dog is a stretch, but the concept was the same. Millie was the size that she was, and she was enjoying people and life and not trying to manipulate herself to fit in. I would love to be able to feel that free!

This may go down as my cheesiest post ever, but the truth is, Millie has brought me so much joy during the hardest part of my life and I think that deserves some attention! There are SO many studies out there about how emotionally supportive animals can be to us and Millie does not disappoint. I have yet to meet someone that see’s Millie and doesn’t either smile or ask to pet her! I’m so thankful Wyatt pushed me to get a dog and God gave me the perfect one!

Here are some photos of Miss Millie :)


- Sara -

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