Who Rescued Who?

“Who rescued who?” is a well-known sentiment in the animal rescue world. Indeed, the Center 4 Research points to studies that have found people who have a pet are less depressed, stay home sick less, and make fewer visits to the doctor. A pet can also have a significant impact on the interactions of pet owners with others. Overall, pets bring wellness, and hence often do “rescue” their owners.

Photo from Tanya
Photo from Tanya

This is the certainly the case for Tanya. She bought the family’s female pit bull off Craigslist after seeing how skinny Marley was in photos, but Marley wasn’t the only one rescued that day.

Tanya says she suffers from anxiety, depression, and undiagnosed bipolar disorder. In her lowest moments, she closes herself off from the world; she shuts down and doesn’t talk to anyone.

In those times, Marley is always beside her. Sometimes Marley will start rolling on the bed, grunting and snorting, just being silly, which makes Tanya smile and laugh. Other times Marley will give Tanya lots of kisses. In either case, Tanya says, “Marley helps snap me out of my moods and to act more social with my family and my friends.”

Photo from Tanya
Photo from Tanya

On better days, Tanya takes Marley to the dog park, which benefits both of them. “It gives her time to socialize with dogs and helps me be more social with people.” Tanya also takes Marley for walks on the trails at Humble Park and for swims at Fremont State Lake.

According to Psychology Today, studies have shown that caring for a dog can help increase our capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, and in doing so builds greater coping skills to ward off stress, anxiety, and depression.

“If it wasn’t for Marley,” Tanya said, “I would’ve probably gone back to doing drugs because of my anxiety and depression or I would have been dead.”

Tanya believes that Marley has been good for her family too, because of the Marley’s positive pit bull temperament. Three years ago, Marley’s owners brought Marley to Tanya in a Walmart parking lot, where they had Marley sit to show how well-trained Marley was. “She did a great tail wagging, wanting to greet everyone with kisses, and was super friendly,” Tanya said.

Photo from Tanya
Photo from Tanya

She was pleased then with how gentle Marley acted when introduced to her daughter and remains pleased to this day. “She has a goofy smile, and playful nature,” Tanya said, and told how when in a mischievous mood, Marley will run and leap on the sofa, then start rolling around and whining in fun. “She’ll also do a low barking with a long bone in her mouth,” Tanya said, adding that “it’s the cutest thing ever.” The whole family loves her.

According to Psychology Today, compared to people who do not share their lives with a pet, pet owners have greater self-esteem, are less fearful and lonely, and are more likely to regularly work out. For these reasons, pet owners were found to offer strong support to family members.

Although Tanya doesn’t have the resources to register Marley as a registered emotional support dog, she believes that Marley serves that purpose for her family. As such, Tanya believes, “Marley rescued us and brought us closer as a family. I don’t know what we would do without her.”

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