Written by : Nuy Darmadjaja
Most women my age are busy raising their children and their young little family. I’m thirty-five years old, and live in Bali, one of the most beautiful islands in the world. So, basically I do not feel that I am missing out amongst my peers, or having to rush, and marry the next guy I meet.
Another thing about me is that I do not believe in soulmates. I don’t think that there is only one person for us out there, and we should be with them happily ever after. Instead of a destined ‘one person’, I believe in what I call ‘the right persons’. I also have this bizarre idea that the so-called ‘Soulmate’ does not necessarily have to be a human. Okay, before you laugh, and call me crazy, please hear me out and scroll down.
Meet MD, He’s the closest thing I’ve got to a support system for five years now. He’s not just a regular dog, he’s an extension to my mental healthcare treatments, he’s my Emotional Support Dog; he is my soulmate.
Sometime around mid 2016, after one of my darkest times where I made an attempt to end my life, I researched Dog Therapy to help patients with severe Depression and Anxiety Disorders. Unfortunately no such trained dogs existed in Indonesia. So I decided to have my own Therapy Dog. I was cruising to buy a Terrier, however, a friend of mine advised me to adopt, don’t buy. In some mysterious cosmic way, the next day, I saw another one of my friends posted a photo of this uber cute new-born puppy on Social Media. It was love at first sight. I contacted my friend immediately before even knowing which breed the dog was.
Long story short, a month later I brought home this handsome Kintamani Dog, named him MD (Medical Doctor) to put meaning to his existence to help me get better with my health; and my life changed forever.
He was such an uncontrollable little rascal who didn’t understand any of my commands, bit everything including me. What initially proposed to make me calmer, he drove me crazy instead. Sent him to obedient school, and even so the trainer informed me this specific breed’s hard to be domesticated, let alone be trained as a Therapy Dog. But I never gave up on him.
I learned a lot by raising him; patience, compassion, unconditional love, and responsibilities. He is the biggest and most rewarding commitment I’ve ever had.
He gives me strength to get out of bed every morning to feed him and play with him. He may not be the most obedient dog, he may frustrates me most of the time, but at the end of the day, snuggling with him during bedtime will always be my favorite time of the day. I don’t care if he doesn’t sit, rollover, or shake my hand when I command him, because what he has done for me, are more than just tricks. He has saved me multiple times in my dark times. I always think about his well-being if I was gone; I love him too much, and the thought of being separated from him holds me back.
He can predict my episodes or panic attacks before they happens. I self-trained him to be a Therapy Dog since puppy days. Whenever I have my Psychotic Depression episodes, he’s like my totem to reality; the one thing that keeps me grounded. Although he doesn’t speak—obviously, his actions speak volume. There are days when I can’t get out of bed for days, and he will sit next to me patiently without a single bark of complaint. Every few hours he will sniff my nose to check if I’m still breathing, or place his paw on my chest to calm me down. MD is able to tell when I am just taking a nap or sleeping because it’s “one of those days.” He helps provide me with a daily strict schedule to maintain my anxieties at bay.
MD has more than a mere empathy to offer, he also sympathizes with my emotions that sometimes he will get depressed too. Whenever those moment come, my mind instantly shifts into his well-being, and without noticing, I will slowly get out of my episode’s cocoon.
On my “Good Days” he will jump at me waking me up with his goofy smile, taps my back, and asks for lunch while I take a nap, or simply sits next to me and lets me pet him—because he knows it will put my anxieties at ease. I hope he will live a long and happy life with me. That one day he will get the proper training and receive a legal Therapy Dog’s License. That one day I will get better and give him all the fun and adventurous days he deserves. Because if you ask me, he is my sole reason to live.