How My Puppy Has Changed My Life

as a socially anxious, introverted work-from-home writer…

*and by “change my life” I don’t mean in an exaggerated, I-will-never-be-the-same-again kind of way; I just mean changed my perspective and routine etc.*

Teaching me patience

I put this first because oh-wow, a puppy really does test your patience! I’ve never had a dog before and with cats its much easier. And so I was not prepared (how could I be? My puppy was a Christmas present from my partner) to have to care for a baby at the start of my year.

I think the trouble is that I’m trying to write a novel and grow my business at the same time, to be honest. It’s not so much him that’s the problem. During the Christmas break, when I allowed myself some time off, it was fine. I don’t remember feeling frustrated. But fast-forward to this week and last, and we have quite a number of frustrated moments.

But it’s good. It’s hard, but it’s good. Joey (the puppy) is teaching me how to be patient. I can’t yell at him, after all, I can’t send him away, I can’t give up being his adopted mother for a while, either. He is ours for life, a commitment I am happy with and committed to. And so, in order to be a writer and be a good dog-mother, I must practice patience.

Anyone else who is a writer knows that patience is a big part of it. Patience with the novel that just won’t write itself. Patience with the characters who keep doing the wrong things. Patience with the clients or agents who are messing you around and paying you too little. Patience with the timing of your creative journey and eventual success.

So thanks, Joey, for helping me to be more patient at this pivotal time in my life and career.

A work colleague

Now, as I said, I’m both socially anxious and introverted, meaning I like being alone. I’m happy in solitude and never really get the urge to venture out of it. However, of course, as a mental health writer, I know how toxic this can be. We are social beings; we are built to be in social environments.

He may not quite be a person, but Joey is breaking my solitude. He is bringing me out of my head and back to reality. Sometimes annoyingly so, but often just when I need it. As a writer, it is very easy to get lost in your work and forget about the outside world so I thank Joey for helping me with that. He’s the house Employee of the Month!

 

Unconditional love

Of course, the one thing that all dogs bring is unconditional love. I have been so grateful every day since we got him because it is the most wonderful feeling in the world to be greeted quite so enthusiastically. He comes, tail wagging so fast that he might take flight, and jumps on you, licking and biting and diving because he can’t contain his excitement.

And this is infectious. My face can’t help but light up no matter how crappy I’ve felt that day – and trust me, I’ve had some really crappy days over the last two weeks. I will always treasure how excited we all get when he sits when commanded or does his business in the right place! The joy and unity and precious love that he has brought to our household is just…I’m getting emotional thinking about it because gosh, I really needed him and I didn’t even know it.

 

Persistence and reward

Training Joey has shown me that there is real reward in persistence. I know, as a writer who has struggled at times for most of my life, I should already know this lesson; and I do, really, but there is power in the reminder.

During the training, we have had highs and lows; irritation and elation. But, of course, we have had no choice but to continue and keep trying. Then, boom, success! And it feels damn great! This is something I feel I’ll need to be reminded of many times over: Keep on going, even when it’s hard, even when it’s trying because that reward feels immense.

 

New friends and activities

We are now a part of a new group: dog owners. I now get puppy jokes (like, really understand them). I see people in the street and they talk to me just because of Joey. We attend Puppy Hour every Saturday with him and I’ve met loads of new people (and dogs) because of it, having lovely, easy-flowing conversations.

Now, easy-flowing conversations are hard to come by as a socially anxious, introverted writer. So, for me to have experienced this is just amazing. I was anxious, naturally, before attending Puppy Hour but once we got there, it was effortless. I spoke with the other owners and the dog trainer with ease, a great grin on my face and anticipating the next week.

 

Joey has changed my life because I have someone else to think about each day other than myself and my woe-is-me problems. I now have a topic of conversation that connects me to others. I have a partner who keeps my lap warm as I work. I have someone who makes me get up off the sofa. And I have someone who will keep teaching me the hard lessons that I will need if I’m ever to succeed as a writer.

 

Thank you, Joey, and welcome to the family.

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