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There is a website called doesthedogdie.com where you can search books and movies to find the fate of canine companions. While not listed on the website, I can reassure you that the dog in this story is very much alive. And that is a true doggy miracle.

My family is composed of dog people. We stop to pet dogs on the street, have canceled plans because there was a dog sleeping in our lap and often remember dog names better than those of the humans that care for them. I begged for a dog almost as soon as I could talk and have successfully been surrounded by dogs since I was 7. It seemed only natural, when my parents separated, that my dad got a big black pitbull named Kal from one of the local rescues. Depressed, heartbroken and lonely, my dad needed a companion. He needed someone that was happy to see him and would give him reason to get out of bed in the mornings and leave the house. …


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Photo by Engin akyurt on Unsplash

We have all been there. Your dream job turns into a nightmare, and you begin to dread the sound of the alarm clock going off in the morning. Whether the company wasn’t a good fit or someone flat-out lied to you, the end result is that you feel trapped in a job you have come to hate.

Over the last six months, I have applied for upwards of 150 jobs and had a total of 1 interview. This is not a good time to be job-hunting. I kept telling myself that I could tough it out for just a little bit longer, just until I found something else. …


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Photo by Dmytro Davydenko on Unsplash

angst noun: a strong feeling of worry about what you should do, how you should behave, or what will happen in the future

The pungent smell of brimstone wafted through the corridors as Herman hurried along, tea slopping out the sides of his cup as he waddled side to side. His gait was an awkward combination of hop, shuffle and stumble as the ears of his fuzzy bunny slippers got caught on the rough stone surface of the dark hall. It was midnight, the moon was full, and the brethren of hell were gathering.

And Herman was late. Again.

Throwing himself into the door carved with the faces of a thousand souls cursed with eternal damnation, he managed to open it just a crack and slide into the meeting room. …


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Kal, my dad’s dog, would really like some cheese

In August of 2020, the City of Calgary released a survey asking people to weigh in on their proposed changes to the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw. Phase 1 of their engagement study indicated that people supported more stringent rules and harsher penalties for dogs that were determined to be dangerous. Somehow the word “dangerous” was extrapolated to include all dogs that have the capacity to cause harm as a type but have not shown a personal history for doing so. I grew up with pit bulls and have seen them demonstrate the most gentle, affectionate behaviour. In June of 2020, a pitbull severed and ate the top half-inch of my right index finger, causing me to require plastic surgery and learn to type with nine fingers. There are friendly dogs and dangerous dogs in this world and, as a dog lover, I have encountered both and suffered the consequences. …


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Post-surgery. I’m not sharing the grisly ones.

I love dogs. This is not a secret to those who know me or even those who are just meeting me. I grew up with dogs, I’ve adopted dogs, babysat them, acted as a travelling companion for rescues, and had them tattooed on my body. So it was only a natural progression that I would foster them. Someone tagged me in a post on Facebook for a local rescue that was looking for fosters, and I quickly applied and was approved. There isn’t much in my house that isn’t already covered in dog hair, and my beloved furry piranha has ensured that no furniture has been left unscathed. …


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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I’ve always loved nail polish, especially the stuff that comes in bright colours and sparkles. As a little girl, my parents would paint my nails for me to prevent the inevitable disaster that would result from a child having free access to a bottle of nail polish. Usually, it was my mom who would take up the role of artist but even my dad could be convinced to help out, especially when it came to painting my right hand. As I grew older and (slightly) less clumsy, I would paint my own nails and those of my little sister. …


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Photo by Dương Hữu on Unsplash

“Do you have anyone who actually understands you?”

Throughout the last 7 years of my depression, I’ve been exceptionally lucky to have encountered many people who have shared my journey. Unfortunately, the first 21 years were not so blessed. Those who are familiar with the monsters of mental illness will also be familiar with the haunting feeling of loneliness that it brings. Even the most well-meaning comments can only serve to enhance this loneliness. My father’s initial assessment was that “I needed more sunshine" and there are more people than I can count who have urged me to give up my medications. This doesn’t even touch on the people who are not quite as generous in their goodwill. …


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Photo by Gaurav Dhwaj Khadka on Unsplash

Sometimes I am required to sit quietly and wait. I hate it.

It’s been an awfully long time since I had a particularly clear job description. My job is usually to figure out what needs to be done, do it, and then file the paperwork saying that it was done. Technically I am a project manager by trade but, when there aren’t projects to be managed, I also manage offices, crews and sometimes even piles of receipts so large and decrepit that they may as well be considered sentient beings.

The one thing that is consistent is the ebbs and flows of communication. Most of what I do requires some sort of input or response from other people in order to tie everything together. The unintended result of this is large spaces in which I am simply waiting for a reply. I have never been good at sitting still and would much rather get up and leave than sit at a desk as part of the decor. But there is inherent value in being present. The phone rings and I set up a new client or I happen to be around when someone has a question about the health and safety program. …


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Photo by Yuvraj Singh on Unsplash

At some point, I had decided that my heart was tough and scabby; I was wrong.

After a divorce, some truly epic dating disasters and other attempted relationships that had gone sour, I thought that I’d become resistant to heartbreak. It turns out that I was just used to ending the relationship in my head before it ended in real life. When I looked back, every relationship ended with me as the instigator, and a couple had dragged on long past their expiry date. It wasn’t that I was happy about the endings; it was more that I had made my peace with the inevitable long before it came to be. …


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Photo by Loverna Journey on Unsplash

There is an astonishing amount of therapy to be found in making a cup of tea. The last time that I moved, I was fortunate enough to have a whole host of friends who helped me pack everything up and create some semblance of organization in my new home. I had an entire moving box stuffed with tea. Now I have an entire cupboard stuffed with tea and more teapots, mugs and flavours than I know what to do with. Except I know exactly what to do with the tea; drink it and share with friends.

Tea has many health benefits, from reducing inflammation to lowering blood pressure, but there are also many psychosocial benefits to sharing a cup as well. Making a cup of tea is a little ritual in itself. Boiling the water, selecting the brew, watching the timing the steeping to avoid bitterness and adding your chosen accompaniments are all things that take time and can invoke a sense of peace. A cup of tea is not a common choice for when you need a quick pick-me-up. And while I have been known to make myself a pot of tea and down it quickly during a late-night work session, I far prefer to take it one cup at a time and enjoy my tea. …

About

Dakota Montgomery

Crazy dog mom, mental health advocate, project manager and writer

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