Heather Senior - Man’s Best Friend truly making smiles!

Heather shares her story about her best four-legged friend – Zak. A Beagle who has bought her joy, good times and walks in the fresh air again.

In April 2011, I was diagnosed with RA and had to retire from my job as a Physical Education Teacher. There were SO SO many losses, too many to mention, followed by grief, depression and anxiety. I was so ill; crawling to the toilet at one stage. I felt my active life had ended, and on some days, I didn’t want to be here anymore.

Six years on and I am slowly getting there, mainly due to disease control and improved mobility. My feet have been on quite a journey; I’ve had numerous steroid injections, but if your feet hurt, you are going nowhere. I now have wonderful orthotics and no inflammation!!

Once my feet were less painful, I was on my way, and what has really helped, in so many ways, has been to borrow a dog!! I take a beagle out!!  The website is Borrowmydoggy.com.

The advantages are numerous!!

I have a new friend, whose greeting when I call for him is truly joyous.  We both make each other’s lives better, for the dog, they get to go out into the fresh air and get exercise, and so do I! I meet other dog walkers and have a lovely chat; I see nature in all its beauty. I bird watch, and have a little book to help me identify them all. I have watched a kingfisher diving for fish, a woodpecker tapping at a bark, a nuthatch, dipper and tree creeper. The sunlight and exercise directly enhances my mood, and serotonin is made, all adding to my well being.

Zak is so much fun to be with, he makes me smile, and at times laugh out loud. He chases a ball, and keeps coming back for a little treat. Both our mental health has improved from this friendship, and I have grown to love him and miss him when it’s the weekend, and his owner takes him out. It is a win win combination, and one I am so pleased I set up.