If you follow me on any social media or know me in real life you know that I’m absolutely nuts for dogs. I run two Instagram accounts for dogs (sorry to break the illusion that they run them @selbysweetie is my puppy’s account and @bellajocavalier is my sister’s dog’s account).
I have always been dog crazy. I think it’s because I was a shy child and still have shy and awkward tendencies and dogs don’t care if you talk a lot or not at all. Dogs don’t judge. And for that I 💜 them. And also they’re really cute and cuddly.
In my adult life I didn’t have a dog that lived with me full time. I was working full time and always in graduate school (not conducive for having a pup). My parents had Tansy, a chocolate cocker spaniel that passed away less than a week before my accident. I made them get her (I needed a dog in my life somehow) and on some level I think she knew that because when we were together we were inseparable.
After the accident when I came out of my coma and started to gain some awareness I grieved her all over again. The grief really felt fresh and new.
It was at that time that my sister started to have her dog Bella spend more time with us. That was so important and I will forever be grateful to her and to her kids for letting me share in the love with Bella. She really is a special dog. She knows you need her love and gives it to you tenfold.
That then got me ready for a puppy of my own! And once I was at a point in my recovery where it was appropriate my parents (whom I’m living with full time) humored me and let me get a puppy (I think they secretly wanted one too). My family has been a little stuck on cocker spaniels for the past 24 years so I got a little black and white cocker spaniel puppy with black freckles on her nose (inspiration for this month’s story). She has been the balm I didn’t know I needed.
I haven’t been depressed since my accident. I’ve been flat. That’s the best way to describe it. There isn’t much dimension to my emotions or my voice for that matter. I’ve been working on both in therapy. My voice is noticeably different than it was right after the accident. It’s closer to the old me apparently (I wouldn’t know, can’t really hear it). I notice Selby really responds to my voice if I can get it louder and more forceful. She also really responds to high pitches (of course) so that encourages me to work on getting my voice to fluctuate more (I think my speech therapist is bribing her with milk bones).
However the emotions are a tad trickier. I can’t cry at all. It’s strange going from someone who has cried in situations I really wished I hadn’t (usually involving work or school) to this person who literally can’t cry. I always hated it in movies and TV shows when characters would make a big deal about the fact they couldn’t cry (see Cameron Diaz’s character in The Holiday). I disliked it partially because I couldn’t relate and partially because it felt like a crutch for the writer because they’re clearly leading their character to a dramatic payoff where they do cry. That may never happen for me. I may never cry again just like I may never hear properly again. There’s so much we don’t know with TBI.
However, my little pup makes me feel like my old feeling self. I definitely feel highs and lows when she’s involved. And running her Instagram and Bella’s has given me my humor and my voice back. Perhaps it sounds silly but I’ve really found it to be true. Which I think started me on the path to writing regularly again. So celebrate National Puppy Day with me, puppies are always fun to celebrate and this year my little pup has given me a lot to celebrate (and write about).