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Not sure if it’s appropriate to post about mental illness here but I just wanted to share what my beagle has done for me. I was looking back through the pics on my phone. This is really embarrassing and humbling but I want to share:

I’ve lived with depression for practically my whole life. I’m also not a naturally neat and tidy person so when I’m going through a rough time, keeping my apartment clean is the last thing on my mind and like I said, it’s extremely embarrassing for me. It becomes a vicious cycle because the shame feeds into the depression which makes it that much harder to pull together the motivation to clean. Add to that, chronic pain and fatigue and... well, yea. Which brings me to these pictures...

I just stumbled upon the first one, taken before we added our beagle puppy, Perrin, to the family. What you can see around the cat is pretty much what the entire apartment looked like. DH & I had been considering a dog for a while and all of a sudden we were facing a pretty unexpected now-or-never deadline (another story for another time). But I knew I couldn’t subject a baby pupper to those living conditions! I had to prove I could keep him safe and healthy. It was HARD but I managed to get our living room clean and puppy-proof so we could bring Perrin home 😄

Part of my mental illness is that I have trouble not shutting down when I get overwhelmed. I really struggle with breaking down huge tasks- cleaning an entire messy apartment- into manageable ones. But with Perrin, I’m so busy that I only have small time increments. Knowing that I only have an hour or 30 minutes makes the struggle so much easier! And it’s not just the cleaning, having him has started a new cycle where I stay on a schedule, get regular exercise on walks, go outside when all I want to do is lie in bed or on the couch. Instead of “depression->bad lifestyle choices->worse-depression” it’s “positive lifestyle changes->improving depression->more positive lifestyle changes”!!!

And of course, with Perrin being a beagle, he’s especially loyal and I know I have a lifetime of love to look forward to <3 He’s a ridiculously silly goofball and makes me laugh everyday. It sounds so cheesy but he kinda didn’t just change my life, he saved it!
 

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By the way, I would never recommend a dog, especially not a puppy, to anyone struggling with a mental illness unless they have systems in place to ensure that it is taken care of no matter what. In our case, Perrin is 100% my responsibility but my husband would never let anything happen to him, we are enrolled in training classes, and more frequent than average Veternarian visits, so there are a lot of outside people who see him on a regular basis to ensure that he’s healthy.
Also- Perrin was initially confined to the living room and still spends the majority of his time there, but he has plenty of space for playing fetch and zoomies 😁
 

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Good job!....these beagle characters force us to keep things cleaned up since it reduces not only mischief but danger. Im big into making a task list...the best part is crossing out all the things I listed and the feeling of accomplishment.
 

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What a great story. Beagles are really special. I'm happy you found a great companion and helper to you. No need to apologize, no one is perfect. :)
 

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It's so true!

I'm bipolar or schizoaffective (somewhere on the spectrum of the two) and having animals, in particular dogs, helps so much. Cats you can kind of throw some food at and scoop a litter box. Dogs need to go out regularly, need socialization, need exercise, need training - cats are work, but dogs are more work (we have both). Dogs have helped me just like they've helped you. It's not all perfect - I tend heavily to depression, and so does Toby - but between the two of us we can do pretty good.

(Though, I vacuumed the apartment for the first time in ages Monday, but that's partially because the dogs attack the vacuum and bay at it if loose, and bay at it from the bedroom if confined. Either way, ugh! But my ears have stopped ringing lol)

I'm glad you shared your story. It's good for people to hear. Perrin is lucky to have you guys and you guys are lucky to have him.
 

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Thanks so much for sharing your story. Beagles are wonderful is so many ways. Nothing like coming home after a horrible day at work to find a beagle waiting for you at the front door, tail wagging so happy to see you. Can make the worst day the best unconditional love
 
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