At first, I thought it might be a bit odd to wax poetic about Duncan for several hundred words for this project. About 2 seconds later, I realized a memoir or biography of my life would be incomplete without a chapter about how big of a part of my life Duncan has become.
If you read my first post, you know that I do not take anxiety or depression lightly. But I can say, aside from Zoloft, the single biggest help for my anxiety and depression has been Duncan. The amount of love I have for this dog is genuinely hard to put into words. Developing a bond with him has been so important to me and I can't stress enough how much I care and worry about him.
Humanity's relationship with dogs is an interesting one. In some ways, I almost feel guilty about our collective domestication of dogs. I feel weird when I realize that he ultimately has no control over his life and that he fully relies on me. But I also feel responsible for his well-being and that has taught me a lot. I joke a lot about how I have learned what it's like to be a father because of him, but that's actually true in a lot of ways. I can now understand why my mom worries about me so much; I can see why my dad wants to steer me in the right direction when it's clear that I'm making a mistake.
Duncan is such a precious part of my life and has been such a crucial stress relief. Whenever I'm having an anxious time or need some time alone, I take him on drives or walks at a park. In those moments, it's the most surreal peace I feel during my entire week. I don't feel consumed with the stress of CF or my job or the burden of the world or my grief on my conscious. Spending these moments with Duncan is what gets me motivated to pursue my passions. Trying to put this dynamic into words feels fruitless. At this point, this piece feels emotionally weak and pointless, but, if you've seen me interact with Duncan, you have seen that there is never a time I'm not excited to see him.
I talked about him during my talk at CF Family Day the other day, and when the picture of him and I pops up on the screen, it's obvious how much I love this dog. Talking about him makes me happier than anything else. He's my best friend, so why wouldn't I write this about him?
Spending these moments with Duncan feels like how it felt to be a kid. Having Duncan around means I never feel totally alone, it means I feel like I always have a reason to continue on. I'd be lying if I said I don't vent to him even more than my therapist. He's the best listener and gives great advice (likely because I even talk as him so I give myself my own advice lol).
Growing up, our family dog Bo loved my mom more than anybody else. I always teased him so he didn't love me very much and would growl at me all the time. But Bo, then Coco, were both dear parts of our family. Having the dogs around made Alyssa and I happier. I was so thrilled when I realized that Duncan has a very similar relationship with me as Bo did with my mom.
Whenever you're fully prepared, get a dog. Treat them with the utmost love and give them a chance to develop their own personality, and they will reciprocate a love that humans can't mimic.
Some scientists believe that maybe dogs domesticated us; since we provide for them and take care of them and they have to do practically nothing to survive, then maybe they're our masters. It's an interesting thought, and based on how Duncan pretty much gets whatever he wants, I think there may some truth to that.