I was starting to go into a deep depression. No pills could help. I didn't have a job. The only money coming in was my unemployment. I had no one left in the world. Just my depression.
It all changed on that cold December morning of 1999. It was about noon, and I had just gotten out of bed. There was a knock on my door and then I could hear footsteps running away.
I walked to my door, opened it, and looked left and right. No one. I looked down, and there was the surprise. There was a little puppy. His eyes were closed. Sleeping. I gently picked him up and carried him back into my apartment, closing the door quietly behind me.
I set the dog on the couch and looked at him, my hands on my hips. Going into depression, I was beginning to become angry. Very angry that someone just dropped this small puppy on my doorstep and then running away. No note. Just a puppy.
I left the puppy there and walked to my bedroom. I grabbed a pillow and threw it. It hit the lamp. I had a lot of pillows on my bed, so I had a lot of things to throw. I remember breaking my mirror when I was getting my arm ready to throw my next pillow.
After that, I started sobbing. I just started sobbing and dragged my feet out of my room and to the couch. I fell to the ground in front of the puppy. I sat there for about five minutes just bawling my eyes out. I only stopped because I heard a noise.
Bark. Bark... Bark! I dried my eyes and looked up. It was that dog. I picked him up and sat him on my lap. I rubbed him and started to cry again.
My depression was no joke. It came from my whole family dying in one day. I was working, but the rest of my family was at my aunt and uncle’s cabin. There was a fire with no survivors.
And a week before that, my husband had left me. He told the truth when he told me he wanted a divorce. There was someone else. So when my family died, and there was no one to help me, I quit my job and moved into my small apartment.
I was sitting on the floor crying with the puppy in my arms for a long time. I’m not sure how long, but it was quite a while. When I finally stopped, the puppy was sleeping again.
That’s when I thought, A champion sleeper. Huh. That should be his name, Champion. Wait, doesn’t that mean that I want to keep him? Wow. I guess I want to keep him. But he’s probably just going to leave me somehow like the rest of them. Might as well give it a shot, though.
“Champion,”I said,”how about Champ for short, huh?” Champ barked and I knew he would be staying. I picked him up and grabbed my purse that only had twenty dollars in it. Champ in the crook of my arm, I walked out to my car.
I drove to the pet store in my town. They were having a sale on puppy needs, which was exactly what I needed. I just hoped that twenty dollars was enough.
I walked in with Champion still in my arms. He barked when he saw another dog, but I just smacked him lightly on the head and he stopped.
Not as hard as I thought it would be, I thought. I walked over to one of the cashiers and waited for her to finish with the customer paying.
“Hi! How can I help you today?” Her name tag read Rachel in nice handwriting.
“Um...Well, this dog showed up at my doorstep today and I want to keep him, but I don’t know the first thing about taking care of a puppy. I thought I would start with buying the needs,”I replied. Rachel looked surprised at first, but then she nodded and motioned for me to follow her. She led me to the very back of the store.
“You can take this list and get everything you need. And don’t forget! Today all puppy needs are 75% off! If you need anything else, Leo over there can help you,”Rachel stated. A teenager, apparently Leo, waved his hand at me. I nodded. I could feel an attack coming on.
“Hi, Leo. Could I leave Champ with you for a second? I have to use the restroom,”I stated. I could see Leo blush, but he nodded and took Champ from me. I ran into the bathroom, and then locked myself in a stall.
I started to silently scream and pull my hair out. I started punching and kicking the stall walls. At one point, I punched the door so hard that I bruised my fist. Then I started to bawl my eyes out. I was in there for a good five minutes, or more, and when I came out and looked at myself in the mirror, my eyes were red and puffy, and my hair was a mess.
I reached into my purse and pulled out a mini bag. It had a small brush and some makeup in it. It was a bag that I had prepared when I got home after having an attack out in public for the first time.
I brushed through my hair and then put makeup on to make it look like I was fine. I took a deep breath and then walked out. I grabbed Champ from Leo, grabbed one of the lists, and started walking around.
There were only a couple of things that I actually needed; puppy pads, a kennel, food, a collar, and a leash.
Since I was broke, I had to grab the least expensive stuff. My total ended up being $19.87. I gave Rachel my twenty and then took the change. I walked out and then got in the car.
I sat there for a moment, thinking about how embarrassing it would have been if I didn’t get into the bathroom in time. Luckily, no one was in there, and if there was, I’m sure they would've left once they heard me, thinking I’m a psycho.
I put the key in the ignition and turned it. The car sputtered, so I took the key out and put it back in. I turned it, and…..Yes! The car started. I let out a sigh of relief and set Champion down on the passenger seat. He curled himself into a little ball and fell asleep.
2 Years Later
I had another attack that night from the fact that I didn’t have any spending money left. But the next morning when I saw Champion sleeping in his kennel, I smiled for the first time in a year.
About two months after I got Champ, I started to feel a little bit better. I still had more bad days than good days, but I did have days where I went without an attack. On one of my good days, it was a Friday, I was having a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper.
I was looking through the ad section when one caught my eye. I looked closer, and it was a group for people who were dealing with depression. I could meet the group at the town library and there would be a positive speaker there to talk to the group. I was immediately interested and went to the phone. I dialed the number and the positive speaker (Carrie) answered.
“Hi, this is Carrie! How can I make your day better?”Carrie asked. I took a deep breath and considered just hanging up, but I didn’t.
“Yes, hi. You can make my day better if you could tell me more about the depression group,”I answered. We talked about what the group did, and how my depression was affecting me. By the end of the call, I was going to go to the first meeting the next Monday at two.
I did the group for three months, and with that combined with the love and affection I got from Champion, I was depression-free by the end of it.
I ended up getting a job. I worked at the thrift store, and I didn't get much money, but I was able to get by. I also dealt with it because I loved working there. The people were great, and I got a bag of popcorn for 25 cents every day.
After being depression-free for three months, I met Alec. We met at the library when I was visiting Carrie and her depression group that day, just to talk.
We met after that, though, when I was checking out some of the romance books that the library had just gotten. He came up behind me, and grabbed a book that was right in front of me.
I turned around and looked at him. I felt like he would be the worst person on Earth. Of course, I was wrong.
“Excuse me, sir. But I believe that was very rude of you,”I snapped. He just shrugged and held up the book he had grabbed.
“Oh, sorry. Just needed to grab the new Romeo and Juliet before you did so I could do some research,”Alec said. I narrowed my eyes as he opened the book and started to read.
“Who are you?”I asked. Alec continued to read, but pulled a card out of his pocket and gave it to me.
“Alec Kingston, huh? I’m Olivia Rose. And if you don’t mind me asking...Wait, I don’t care if you do mind, I’m just going to ask anyways. What kind of information can Romeo and Juliet give you that would help your so-called ‘research’?”I asked. He laughed. He had a big, boasting, laugh. But it was warm and calming at the same time.
“To figure out how to get a woman to like you and how to make sure that she knows that you care about her,”Alec replied. I rolled my eyes, grabbed the book that I was planning on getting, and went to the counter. Before I could check my book out, Carrie was running up to me.
“Hey, Carrie. What’s up?”I asked. She smiled with all of her pearly white teeth showing.
“No time for chit-chat! Alec totally likes you,”Carrie stated.
“You sound like a sixth grader telling her best friend that her crush likes her back,”I said. Carrie rolled her eyes and shook me.
“Come on! Look at him look at you.”
“I’m not denying it!”
“So you do believe that he likes you?”
“No! But if it makes you happy, I’ll go over there and ask him to come here tomorrow and we can ‘hang out’ at the cafe. If he even says yes.”
“Well, when you call me tomorrow and tell me that you’re going out again some time, I have the complete right to say ‘I told you so.’”
Alec and I ended up going to the cafe the next day, and we went out more. After our first date when I was telling Carrie all about it, she did say “I told you so.” But I was happy about it.
After two months of dating, Alec asked me to marry him and I said yes. We had a big wedding, because he had so many friends and a huge family. (I had Carrie as one of my bridesmaids and didn't invite anyone.) They all accepted me right away even though my past was a bit rocky.
It turned out that Alec loved dogs, so I didn’t have to do anything with my Champion. If Alec didn’t like dogs, that would probably be an end to our relationship because I could never get rid of the thing that started me on getting rid of my depression.
On our honeymoon, we went to Hawaii. I don’t remember many details of the trip, but I know we had a lot of fun. There’s one memory that I have that I’m sure will never leave me. We were sitting on the beach on a blanket while the sun was setting. It was beautiful. To this day, my favorite thing to watch is the sunset.
As you can see from my story, just a pet can change someone’s life. A pet can lead from one good thing to the next great thing. That’s what Champion did for me. He brought me up from the bottom.