I know it is going to be a little hard to comprehend but yes my dog Coco saved my life. No, he did not physically rescue me from falling off a cliff or chase of robbers trying to break into my house. In the traditional sense, he might not be a hero but it is true that because of him today I am alive, standing, and living my life happily.
Let me take you back a few years. I hit my worst in May 2015. I was working at a local food joint in Irvine and just moved out on my own away, from my family. The remunerations were good but the working hours were quite harsh. I used to work 20 hours a day. Every time I’d come from work, my body would just give up. I used to just go straight to my bed. I hardly ate and on the weekends I never left my house. It was just a really bad phase. I became numb and it was like I was not able to express any emotions or feelings. It became so worse that I started having digestive problems. I lost about 20 kgs in 3 months. People often say that why didn’t I reach out to anyone but I can’t really explain why. Before I used to call my parents every other day but during that period I almost never called them. I just became distant from everyone.
After about 2 months into this, I went to consult a doctor. He suggested some anti-depression medication and they just made everything worse. He also told me that I could be suffering from a food-born illness and wanted to test me for it. Well, I have never been good with pills. Those who know me will attest to the fact that I can’t routinely take medicines because I forget. After about a couple of weeks into my treatment, my doctor suggested me to get an emotional support dog. To be honest, I was a little hesitant at first. I was barely able to handle myself and now I had to take care of another being. I said no to the doctor the first time. But after two weeks when I went to see him the next time, he convinced me that it could actually help my condition. So, I decided to adopt one.
On 5 August 2015, my hero came into my life. I named him Coco because why not. As soon as I held the tiny, cute little puppy in my arms I cried. I vividly remember that moment. It was actually only the second time that I cried in that whole worse worse phase of my life. It may seem a little cheeky and hard to believe but the moment he entered my life something changed. I don’t know what but something did. He got my act together. I started feeling my emotions. This little furry creature taught me the meaning of life. I did change my job but it was really hard to leave him home when I went to work. He was truly one of the two best things that happened in my life that year. The other of course being marrying the love of my life.
In a couple of months, I submitted a request to bring him along to work. And since then he comes to work with me every day. I couldn’t be more thankful for the day he came into my life. Coco continues to provide me with therapeutic needs. He has some paranormal power that almost always gets to know when I am upset. It has been over one and a half years that I have been off my anti-depressants. I never thought an animal could heal a person. They bring out a side of a person that you would not imagine that you have. I will forever be grateful to this little creature. At first, I thought I would be the one taking care of him but it happened the other way around. It is the love that binds us together. Sometimes he also does get bored, so I do repay him the unconditional love that he pours it all over me.
Now I usually share my story with other people who are suffering like I used to. Recently, I met Diana Jiang, a candidate running for Irvine city council elections 2020. We had a long word over mental health and I was really surprised to see a probable policymaker show such keen interest in this topic. And not just that, she vouched to help me propagate this message long and far. It is not just her, the response that I have got is really overwhelming. Hopefully, I can reach out to more people through my story.
Depression is real. If you are going through a low phase, remember there is always a way out. Probably that way goes through a four-legged furry little creature.