January was one of my worst months to date in terms of my mental health, I’ve made no secret of this. I was really down, and really sad and extremely lonely. I pushed myself to make friends, and I found 2 – a girl I work with and a girl who works at my local coffee shop. And they’re nice, don’t get me wrong. But having ‘friends’ didn’t seem to make me less lonely. In fact, it only really seemed to make it worse. Since February began, I haven’t tried to ‘make plans’ with anyone and having that pressure removed has made me feel a lot better – and the girl I work with even asked me if I wanted to go and see Black Panther, so I haven’t even been totally alone either! But, anyway, the upshot of all of this is that I have a new friend, who is a far far better friend than any human friend could ever be.
Meet Morrigan, my dog.
She’s a pug who is perhaps crossed with *something* (we don’t know what), she’s 18 months old and she has more beans than your local Starbucks. My colleague’s brother’s girlfriend’s neighbour didn’t want her and so now she is mine. My family have always had dogs and so I didn’t go into this blind. I know about wees on the carpet and 2am sicks and having to pull bits of unidentifiable stuff out of their mouth that they’ve found down the park at 6am. That they’ll rip up your favourite book and bark over the sound of the tv and stand all over you and cover your favourite smart, black trousers in fur just by *looking* at them. But I still didn’t quite realise how much of my life she would take up.
If I’m not looking at her/playing with her/feeding her, she’ll scratch my arm with her paw in the same way you’d tap someone on the shoulder to get their attention. Then, if I *dare* to ignore such a summons, she’ll grab some of my clothing in her mouth and pull and pull until either the clothing rips or I pay attention to her (I once tried to not pay her attention in case it ‘rewarded’ her and I’ve since lost a work jumper).
And I’m not going to sit here and tell you that that’s not annoying, because it is. I’m such an introvert that just the thought of spending an hour with someone as needy as this dog gives me hives. But then I look to the scars on my wrist from January, still bright and shining and I’m so grateful that she’s here, constantly annoying and pestering me and jumping on me and biting my jumpers and telling me that she needs me.
The name Morrigan is Irish, and it loosely translates into meaning ‘Goddess of war; something that brings great terror’ and yeah, sure, we can all have a laugh that it’s an apt name for a naughty little dog. But she’s actually named after Morrigan Crow, the main character in the children’s book Nevermoor, which slowly nursed me back to health in the first few weeks of February by reminding me what warm, subtle contentedness felt like. And I’d say she lives up to that namesake even better.
On a very base, brutal level, if I wanted to disappear from the universe again (which I don’t, by the way, despite running out of my antidepressants around a week ago) then I would have to give Morrigan up. Whether I planned it, and gave her to a shelter, or whether she simply got left behind, she would cease to be mine if I ceased to be hers. And I don’t want that. She is my dog and I love her, and I want to be the one who looks after her forever. Even if she doesn’t stop biting my clothes. And I’m telling you, that’s real love.
Although I really do need to teach her that clothes aren’t toys. Somehow. Anybody got any tips?