Thursday, 2 April 2015

Dogs - a sober girl's best friend

Whilst it's great being on holiday in Switzerland (despite 2 days of total white out), I really miss my dog.

A number of people commenting on this blog have talked about how walking their dogs really helps them take their minds off drinking (or not drinking). It definitely works for me.

To start with, dogs get you out in the fresh air doing some exercise - and both outdoors and exercise seem to really help banish the wine witch. Plus, dog walking is one of the few regular activities I do which is not at all associated with wine. Even I never got so bad that I'd pack a hip flask for the dog walk!

On those days when you just want to hide under the duvet for ever, dogs make you get up and outside. And on the days when you hate yourself and assume everyone else does too, they prove you wrong.

For me, another huge benefit of the furry friend is that I usually arrange to meet a friend (plus dog) for my walks, and we spend an hour gossiping and drinking takeaway cappuccinos while the dogs chase each other around the park. Given that I'm avoiding parties as much as possible for the time being, this gives me a much needed social event.

Dogs are also a great reminder that we don't need artificial stimulants in order to love life. And now when my dog leaps onto my bed in the morning with a look of utter joy that it's a new day I know how he feels! Yay! It's morning!

It's not just me who believes in the power of pets. The Betty Ford Centre use canine therapy, and Hazleden use equine therapy. In fact, many studies have shown that 'interacting with pets can reduce stress and anxiety by reducing cortisol levels. Pets can also decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels' according to

So, go hug your pet. Or, someone else's. Or get one.

But remember, dogs are for life, not just for recovery ;-)

As Flasheart used to cry in Blackadder, "Woof, Hurrah!"

Love SM x


  1. I love this!!
    My dog died many years ago, but I miss him everyday.
    I used to take him for long walks, and met people on our route.
    You are right. Never felt like drinking walking my dog!

    1. That's so sad Wendy! Perhaps it's time for a puppy? Or a rescue dog? Xxx

  2. I've wanted a puppy for ages maybe this is a good time to investigate further just need to convince my other half ;-)

    1. He must be hugely impressed by the new you, Kags! Surely a good time to make the suggestion? X

  3. Hi, I don't have a dog but have a 7 th old baby so he keeps me content. But he will grow up like the other pair! other than that i found hot yoga, i think its a good soul saver when you're in trouble. i love exercise but it is yoga that has changed me. Its hard thou, i think i am more emotionally fragile since i have started, i suppose that is because I am being more honest in general about everything. enjoy rest of hols!!

  4. I have had a rescue dog for about a year and he is the sweetest, loveliest dog imaginable. There is nothing quite like a day at the coast in the bracing sea air with the dog running along the sand to blow away the cobwebs and make me feel alive again. It is also great to go to the park every day at about the same time and see the same dogs and owners. We all chat together about everything. It is a bit like the hairdressers in that we don't socialise outside of the dog walking but a nice bit of social time. I would never have pegged myself as a doggie person but I love the wee mutt so much. Often go at wine o clock to distract myself. When I come home I'm not bothered about wine any more. Works for me. Glad you are enjoying your holiday SM

  5. Dear SM
    Today I had to say good bye to my old girl after 16 years of brown pointer madness. It was the right thing to do at the right time and I'm relieved tonight but last night was a different story.
    I really, really wanted a drink last night. I was sad and scared and wanted comfort. i had to go to the shop for some dog food and was determined to buy a bottle of tonic to go with the gin in the cupboard. In my mind that was less of a cheat than opening a bottle of wine.
    Somehow I came home from the shops without the tonic. it actually wasn't deliberate, I just forgot. Like a lot of things.
    By then I didn't want it and I read your post about hangovers and thought that I am glad that I won't have one tomorrow because it shows just a little respect. Both to me and her.
    I then remembered the lead up to the trip to the shops. I had come back from the country after a family lunch and felt the following:
    Wow, long drive in the rain, I'm tired. Would love a champagne!
    Phew, family lunch with brother's new girlfriend and no disasters and no drinking! Took some effort though and feeling it in the neck and shoulders. Would love a champagne to relax!
    Gosh, got husband to the airport with phone, passport and all his underpants and now for a week of single motherhood and cheese on toast for dinner! Celebratory champagne for me!
    How am I going to cope tomorrow? Will my son be broken hearted? I'm going to miss her. I need a champagne for my sadness.
    Wait a minute.
    happiness, sadness, tiredness, physical stress, every emotion requires alcohol? What sort of crazy rubbish is that??
    Anyway, here I am. Haven't been drinking. The world hasn't ended and the cycle of life has turned. My son is planning for new puppies and is glad that the house won't smell so much, (the old girl had 'bladder control issues' ) at least until the new puppies arrive!
    Thanks SM, I'm really grateful that you and your blog exist.

    1. I'm so sorry about your dog, Bubbles. I'm so glad you managed without a drink. If you can get through that you can get through anything. I hope she's bounding around in the great woodland in the sky and is proud of you. As I am xxx

    2. Thanks SM, that's nice to read. She's joined her old buddy and they are resting by the fire gazing at the slow cats and bunnies that hop in straight lines waiting for them outside. xx