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Dogs and Despair

Oct 06, 2023


Dogs and Despair


We often look at our dogs as symbols of unconditional love and loyalty. They wag their tails, their tongues dangling, eager to give us the biggest welcome home after a long day. They gravitate to us when we're sad, just being there, offering silent comfort.


Their joy is infectious, giving us that often-unavoidable hit of dopamine to raise our mood. Their natural ability to live in the moment is something many of us, me included envy.


Despair, on the other hand, is a deep, all-consuming emotion. It's the feeling of hopelessness, of feeling trapped in a dark endless tunnel with no light in sight. When we feel like this, everything around us seems devoid of colour, joy, and meaning.


But what happens when the two meet?


For someone suffering from despair, a dog can be a lifeline (not a solution). Their constant affection and presence can remind us that there’s still good in the world, that life is worth living.


A dog's simple needs, like being fed, walked, and loved can provide structure and purpose in our most trying of times.


On the other hand, a dog senses their owner's emotions and may become more clingy, anxious, or even depressed themselves. They can bear the weight of our emotions, often without us realising.


As we share our life’s together, dogs and despair are joined in complex ways. Dogs can soothe our wounded souls, pulling us from the brink with a waggy tail, a ‘kisses on the nose’, or a loving look.


Remember though that they’re also sensitive animals, deeply tuned into our emotional state.


In our darkest hours, they offer love and companionship and ask for little in return.


Despair is an emotion people hide well, it’s important to be kind to people, as you never know what’s going on behind that thin veil of strength. Everyone is fighting their own battle, often a small gesture of compassion, a kind comment or a reassuring nod can make a world of difference.


Dogs are just one way people find solace in difficult times.

It's essential to seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with despair or depression.



Film by Eleonora Stella Hariyono Oei

Music by Alia Martin