I have always wanted a dog of my own. Growing up, we had a German Shepherd mix that I adored, and when he passed it was like there was a void in my heart. Maybe that is dramatic, but dogs have always helped my mental health. When I finally got a place with my fiance, we both decided we wanted to get a dog ASAP. Coincidentally, we found out a friend’s sister had just gotten a Black Lab mix puppy and the lady she got him from still had two left. We had intended to try to adopt, but this fell into our laps at the perfect time. So, on May 4th, 2017, we made our way out to pick up my little 6-week old puppy. She crawled into my lap as soon as we got there, and she became my Emotional Support Animal.
An Emotional Support Animal, or ESA, is an animal that provides emotional support to a human. Generally, they are dogs or cats, but I have seen lizards, hamsters, and snakes, among other things. As an ESA, Abaddon is allowed in housing that doesn’t allow pets, and we are not required to pay pet rent for her. She is not, however, allowed to come with me to a store or any public place that pets are not normally allowed. There is also no registration process for an ESA, but most landlords require a note from a health care provider; in my case, I had my therapist write me a note basically prescribing a dog for me. You can read more about what an ESA is here.
When we got Abaddon, I was going through a dark time. I was self-harming again and had texted the crisis line several times. I also attempted suicide during this time, as well as spending some time in the psychiatric emergency room, though I was never admitted. As soon as we got her, I felt a connection. The longer we had her, the more our bond grew. Now, she is always in the same room as me, usually on top of me in some way. She sleeps directly next to me and if I’m crying or upset, she is always right next to me. She greets me with kisses and is always so excited when I come home, even if all I did was go get the mail.
I firmly believe that if we had not gotten Abaddon, I would not still be here. She saved my life in more ways than one, and she’s one of the reasons I’m still alive. If I’m in a dark place, she is always there to comfort me and I’m reminded that I can’t die because she’ll never understand why I didn’t come home. She is my absolute best friend.