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Man’s Best Friend And So Much More

"They were so much more than an emotional support animal for my PTSD; they were everything and so much more. I won’t even try to put it into words because I know I could never begin to do justice for the value they’ve had on my survival and healing."

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Dear Journal,


I have to tell you that I honestly do not know how I would have gotten through all this abuse and hardship without my dogs. In fact, I’m not even sure I would have survived what I have without them. Abuse is a dark lonely hole to live in. Luckily, my dogs have always been a source of light, love, and comfort throughout everything. I feel very strongly about this and this is why I’m writing a thank you entry dedicated to my dogs. Without them, I’d be somewhere too terrified to imagine. Without them, I don’t think I would have healed as willingly, quickly, or as easily.


When I look back to the dark times of my abuse, I am mentally overloaded with past memories and images of violence, cruelty, loneliness, depression, etc. It’s just one big blur of total darkness fueled by all things the opposite of love and kindness. Luckily though, I quickly remember my dogs during those times and am immediately filled with gratitude. When you are in the middle of an abusive situation, nothing with that person is safe or consistent besides their abuse. However, dogs during abuse become a consistent source of comfort, love, and support. I often reflect on how I could always count on my dogs for a crying shoulder to lean on. I could always count on them to listen to me with non-judgmental ears! I could go always hug them and feel loved and safe. Having a consistent source of safety and love saved me. I believe they held my hand, figuratively speaking, as I began to heal and confront my traumas. They were so much more than an emotional support animal for my PTSD; they were everything and so much more. I won’t even try to put it into words because I know I could never begin to do justice for the value they’ve had on my survival and healing.


Besides my dogs being a constant source of safety and comfort, they were also a constant source of unconditional love. While living with my abuser, I was isolated from my friends and family. I was even bullied into quitting my job. I literally had no love in my life except for the love I received from my dogs and the love I gave to my dogs. I was isolated. I did not know love nor receive it from another human for years. I did not even give it to myself amid my abuse. But thank god, there was never a moment or day that I did not get love from my dogs. If it were not for them, I believe I would have slipped into a much darker and scarier place where all love would have been obsolete from my life. It was a cold dark place I was living in except for the warmth of my dogs. Love gives us the strength to hold on in darkness. The love I received from my dogs empowered me and provided me with a reason to keep fighting. I never forgot that love does exist because of them. I held on long enough to find it within myself again so I could muster up the straight to escape to safety and heal.


Looking back, my dogs were a big part of my survival and healing journey because they gave me purpose when I was too broken to give one to myself. There were days I did not want to get out of bed or open my eyes. I wanted to give up in terms of my own survival. However, because of my dogs, I got up every day and I showed up for them. I got up to take them to the bathroom, I got up to feed them, and I got up to simply receive love and give them the love they so much deserved. I wonder if I would have just drifted away into the darkness of my depression and despair if it had not been for them. I wonder how different my life would have turned out had I not had my dogs to keep fighting for. I could not muster the strength to keep going for myself. However, I always found the strength to keep going for them. I am so thankful for them. They gave me purpose as if they knew my life depended on them to hang on.


Living in an abusive situation was not only a time in my life when I was deprived of love, safety, and comfort. I was also deprived of joy, happiness, and laughter. If it had not been for my dogs, I would have had no one to play with, cuddle, or share moments of laughter and joy in between all the darkness. I depended on my dogs during and after my abusive relationship. I saw my dogs as a dependable and consistent source of unconditional love, safety, emotional support, purpose, laughter, joy, etc. I owe my dogs everything, including my life. I could never thank them enough so I’ll just keep giving them their favorite treats and long walks in the sun because making them happy will always bring me happiness.

Yours truly,
Amanda Marianna

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