Meet Lobo the lab!
The black spot on his left eye makes him look like a pirate.
Unlike pirates, Lobo doesn't force people to walk off planks and fall to their doom.
Instead, he's chosen to help his owner heal and deal with a rough mental health struggle.
"One day I decided to get a dog, even if was just for a little bit."
Before we get into Lobo's story, let's cover the difference between adopting and fostering.
Adopting a dog isn't the only way to help. Some people aren't willing or able to provide a forever home.
That's totally fine. If you're not ready for that level of commitment, consider opening your home to a dog for a little while.
It could be weeks or months. Either way, the dog gets to live in a comfortable environment and adjust to being around humans.
"Lobo has become my best friend."
Lobo made a strong first impression on his foster (Jakora).
Jakora went through a rough break-up and often struggled to get out of bed.
As someone who's suffered from depression, I can easily relate with that feeling.
It's a crushing condition that sucks all the love and light out of you. Dogs help though!
The depression didn't hurt as much with Lobo around. He made it easier to enjoy everyday life.
"He has helped me get back into a normal routine, which is especially important when you suffer from mental health issues."
A dog won't let you sleep all day.
They need food, affection, and time outside.
And they'll express those needs in a tail wagging frenzy.
By taking care of a dog's needs, you also take care of your own.
The simple act of going outside is scientifically proven to boost mental health.
Even though Lobo doesn't understand the concept of fetch, Jakora enjoys playing with him.
Lobo chases the ball or frisbee, looks at it quizzically, and finds something interesting to sniff.
I had a beagle named Dixie who did the same thing. She wouldn't fetch anything that wasn't a squirrel or rabbit.
"Lobo has given me hope. When the time is right, I'll be where I need to be."
Self-worth is a huge component of mental health.
If you feel unworthy of love or success, good luck finding it.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, caring for a dog helps.
It feels nice to see how happy a dog gets when you care for their basic needs.
All they need is a drive with the windows down or butt scratch that makes their paws tippy tap.
Dogs get more ecstatic about a new toy or puppuccino than we would about a winning lottery ticket.
As humans succeed at making a dog happy, they become more confident in their ability to care for themselves.
Along the way, the dog's enthusiasm rubs off on us, and it gets easier to appreciate the little things we take for granted.
Adopting Lobo was 100% worth it to Jakora. He's slowly but surely recovering and starting to see the possibilities ahead of him.
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We could all use a heartwarming read. Plus you might inspire somebody to adopt or foster a dog.