I think those of us with Cluster B disorders who want to be more in touch with our humanity and become more empathetic need to make an extra effort to reach out toward others and put our own interests on the back burner for a little while.
Sometimes these opportunities present themselves to us. All we need to do is recognize them.
I suffer from seasonal depression and I’ve been down in the dumps now for several weeks. Today a lovely opportunity to help someone else–and an animal–presented itself. It turned out to be at least a temporary remedy for my depression.
Sometimes A Dog.
Sometimes an animal, in this case a beautiful German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix, can turn your day around and make you realize what is really important.
All morning a strange golden dog with pointed ears had been nosing around my yard. She sat on my porch whimpering and started to scratch at the door. I looked outside to see what was going on, and I saw her sitting there at the door, looking at me with sad brown eyes. She started to whine a little, and then got up and walked around my porch, looking confused.
I squatted down in front of her. She seemed friendly. Definitely someone’s pet. I noticed she was wearing a collar with some metal tags. Her name and address was embossed on one of the tags: Khyna (pronounced Keena) allowed me to look, and then licked my face! She needed me help her get home. For some reason, she (or God) had chosen me!
I noticed the address was in a new development up the road, not far away at all. I happened to have a retractable leash that we had used for Dexter (who never could learn to walk on a leash properly) and Khyna sat down obediently while I attached it to her collar.
I liked this dog. I decided that if the owners didn’t want her anymore, I would clean her up (she was all muddy from having been out in the nonstop rain) and take her in until other arrangements could be made, or I might just decide to keep her myself.
We walked together in the pouring rain. I didn’t even mind the gloom or getting wet. Khyna stayed right by my side, not pulling on the leash or hanging back. She stayed slightly ahead, as if leading me, even though I knew now where she lived.
We turned into the development and she moved a little faster. I think she recognized we were close to her home. As we approached the cul-de-sac where her owner’s home was, a man pulled up in a Jeep and rolled down the window. He was grinning like he won the Lotto.
“OH MY GOD! You found Khyna! My wife has been worried sick about her. I just bought her flowers to cheer her up but now I can give her the flowers and Khyna back too!”
“She’s a beautiful dog. Very sweet too,” I said.
“That she is,” the man said proudly. I could tell these people loved this dog and she had just gotten lost and come to me for help getting home.
“How long has she been gone?”
“Since last night around 8 PM. She likes to run off sometimes.”
The man pulled into his driveway and I unhooked Khyna from her leash. She bounded off into the open garage as the man opened the side door for her to go in the house.
He turned back to me. “Thank you so much. You have no idea how much this means to us.”
There was no cash reward, but the happiness and look of relief on the man’s face was all the reward I needed. And his wife would be happy too.
I walked home through the rain, feeling like I’d just won a million dollars. The sun might as well have been shining.
Sometimes doing something kind for a stranger can turn depression around.
Especially if it involves an animal.