Therapy Dog Gets Seasonal Depression

Joey, a local therapy dog, has been feeling down this winter. The smile on his face is only a facade, but he knows people are counting on him to bring smiles to their meaningless days so he gets out of his doggy bed each morning and goes through the motions. Sometimes, though, he can barely get himself up. As he sees different people everyday, Joey feels that they are drifting in and out of his life, that they’re only using him and do not appreciate him for the good boy that he is. What he wants is some real connection beyond petting and cooing over his looks. He is more than a fluffy coat and waggly tail. That is who he is on the outside, and he doesn’t feel people care about who he is on the inside.

Winter always brings out this malaise in Joey, more than any other time of the year. He cannot go for his normal walks because the air is so cold it freezes the sometimes endearing drool that drips from his mouth, and his paws can’t get a good grip on the cold ground. He slips and slides and often falls which, despite being only two feet off the ground, still hurts. Regardless of the perils of the outdoors, being cooped up inside is not good for his morale.

When the skies clear, Joey knows the fog will also be lifted off him. But in the meantime he feels completely alone. Being a therapy dog means he has to be on his cutest behavior at all times, and when he feels so down it is hard to put his whole heart into anything.

Things will hopefully get better when spring comes. – Tali Berkowitz

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