blog petpower

Having a pet can enrich our lives, uplift our spirits and improve our emotional wellbeing. It has been said pets can also reduce feelings of loneliness and alleviate stress, anxiety and depression. Having a pet can also be a big commitment, so when I started thinking about getting a pet, it was a big decision for me to think what kind of pet I would get?

After much deliberation I decided to get a dog. There were so many aspects to consider.

Would I be moving in the near future? – It may mean less options for accommodation. Could I afford it? – some dogs can eat a lot and then there would be vet bills. Would it restrict going out or going away? – dogs cannot stay for excessive amounts of time on their own. Did I really want to walk a dog every day for the rest of its life? – That’s a really long time.

After carefully weighing up my options I made the decision to get a Maltese Shih-tzu cross, who I named Molly. She has changed my life.

Molly wakes up happy every single morning, filled with excitement and she lives in the present moment. It has encouraged me to live my own life more in the present rather than regretting the past or worrying about the future. Molly also never wants for much, just the necessities.

Molly gives me a sense of purpose by caring for her and in return she offers loyalty, companionship, and dependability. She is always by my side and I take her wherever I can.

I’m surprised actually by the number of establishments that welcome dogs from cafés to motels. Living near the sea also means there are many beaches and walkways where I can walk Molly. We have had our challenges though. Mainly, I think, because not having owned a puppy before my expectations were quite different to reality.

I thought I could take Molly along to a dog training group and I would have the most perfect, obedient dog! Instead, Molly was a very mischievous and curious puppy, who loved to get into everything; stealing my socks and chewing anything plastic were her favourite things to do!

Now that Molly is two years old and we have had training, and kept some objects out of temptation, she is a more relaxed dog.

Molly is a very sociable dog, Taking Molly for walks means I get out in the fresh air, rather than just relying on my car to get places and increases my physical activity. It really is so much more fun.

The neighbours stop and chat with me, which they had never done before and I tend to see the same dog parents walking their dogs at about the same time as myself, so we also have a chat.

Other people who are out and about also love to say hello and give Molly a pat. Our walks are never rushed and it feels good to have friendly interactions with other people and other dogs along the way. Molly is a great companion; I would even say my best friend. She really has changed my life.

Published in Talkabout #208 March 2024

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support
housing support for people living with HIV
Ageing Support
Treatments and Managing your HIV