Becky Baker approached me to help with publicity for her new website and app for dog owners, K9Nation, which led to a feature about post puppy depression in the Sunday Mirror newspaper.
You can read the online version here.
NEW puppy parents can experience symptoms similar to post natal depression as they come to terms with having a young dog.
Psychologist Emma Kenny says that while getting a pet doesn’t create the same chemical and physical response in the body, it can be emotionally unsettling.
She said: “Post puppy depression isn’t a recognised condition but when you get a dog, people have the perfect picture of how things are going to be.
“When the puppy arrives the reality is quite different. It wees and poos everywhere, needs you all the time, takes away your independence and brings so much responsibility.
“Feeling overwhelmed, fearful, trapped and anxious are totally natural. But once the initial period of grieving for your old carefree life is over and the puppy settles, the joy from the unconditional love they give takes over and it’s so rewarding.”
Becky Baker, 34, from Wakefield says she experienced the blues when she took in Cockerpoo Buddy two years ago.
At the time, she was living alone and soon felt overwhelmed with the demands of the young dog.
She said she experienced emotions her friends with babies described when they became mums – exhaustion, anxiety and feeling like a failure.
Becky, a product developer, said: “Buddy was adorable but into everything.
“He’d whimper at night and even if I tried to have a shower he’d cry for me. I tried to crate train him and during those first couple of weeks I would barely sleep because I’d be up and down checking on him.
“Because I was so tired and cranky, I’d get frustrated and be snappy with him when he misbehaved and when I was at work, I’d fret about leaving him with the dog walker.
“I’d read books about what to do beforehand, thinking I was full prepared and when he didn’t respond to training, I felt like I was doing something wrong as everyone else appeared to have lovely calm well behaved puppies.
“All you see online and on social media are wonderful cute pictures of gorgeous puppies and so you have this picture of what life will be like. The reality in those first few weeks is very different though and no one seems to talk about it.”
Becky says she understands Post Natal Depression is a very serious condition and that having a puppy doesn’t bring with it the hormonal highs and lows of having a baby.
She wanted to share her experience so other new dog owners persevere through the first few months. She said: “I want to let people know it’s ok to have those feelings and not to give up when they find it tough.
“When I told my new-mum friends about how I was feeling they said that’s what it’s like having a newborn baby.”
Becky has now used her own experience to launch a website and app supporting new pet parents called K9 Nation where owners set up profiles of their pets and make friends with other pet parents nearby.
Becky said: “I thought about what I needed when I first had Buddy and I was struggling and set it up to help others in my position.”
To find out more visit www.k9nation.uk