It seemed worthwhile to look at everything that’s happened since we got Dora a little over a month ago. It slips away too quickly otherwise.
- I have started talking to several new people routinely. Mostly about Dora, when I’m with Dora, but still- we recognize each other now. That’s pretty good for a hermit.
- I have started taking the car much more often. My husband and I share a car, and I feared becoming house-locked because without my own car I wouldn’t feel free to join things. It happened, but slowly. Now, I take the car at least 3 days a week- dropping off my husband and picking him up- mostly because of Dora.
- I’m using public spaces for my own purposes. It’s cold. Really cold with windchill, and I can’t walk my dog outside for long periods of time. But Dora needs exercise and leash training. So I go to the stores. Pet stores, home improvement stores, any place that allows leashed pets. I still feel a bit guilty about it, but I do it anyway.
- I talk to strangers as one off encounters too. Again, it’s usually about Dora and with her, but still, having a handful of positive conversations with dog lovers about how well behaved Dora is, how cute her ears are, how nice she looks, how old she is and so on, does brighten my day (which I could use).
- A friend of mine has been coming over to play video games and hang out for about an hour, three days a week. She works at a school nearby and has an awkward break between her morning duties and school starting. It’s been good to see another person routinely.
- I have asked people to accommodate me. If something is scheduled and I feel exhausted, then I contact them and ask to reschedule, or to change things somehow to allow me to complete it anyway. (As opposed to worrying about being a burden to the extent that I never allow anyone to be kind to me.)
- I talk, sing, and laugh more during the days (because I’m not alone). Having Dora around to interact with does help ease the social isolation. I know she’s not an eloquent conversationalist, but she’s a responsive listener. That’s something.
There are probably a few more changes, but I think my husband was right about the benefits of getting a dog quickly and then training it ourselves (via co-training). Dora has been good for me.