A solicitor has revealed how her dog transformed her life after she ‘lost her entire career’ when she suffered a mental breakdown and took an ‘enormous’ drug overdose.
Pamela Leadbetter, from Bradford, appeared on This Morning today when she told the show’s resident vet Dr Scott that she had spent time in a psychiatric ward after leaving her career behind.
She said she suffered years of anxiety and struggled to leave the house before adopting Faith, a rescue dog from Bosnia, whom she credited with helping her through tough time.
Viewers were left in tears after Pamela said she needed Faith more than the dog needed her, with one saying: ‘I’m not crying you are.’
Pamela Leadbetter, from Bradford, has revealed how her adopted dog Faith transformed her life after she ‘lost her entire career’ when she suffered a breakdown and took an ‘enormous’ drug overdose
Pamela said: ‘Overnight, I lost my entire career because of a mental breakdown.
‘It was very serious, I took an enormous overdose and ended up being in the psychiatric unit.’
She explained: ‘After I was allowed home, I didn’t get out of the house for years, literally years. I just felt so anxious about social contact.
Pamela received the help she needed and her youngest son Oliver, who was about to leave for university, suggested his mother should get a dog to provide support.
Pamela, who spent time in a psychiatric unit after having a breakdown, said she ‘needed Faith more than the dog needs me’
How does having dog therapy help people with depression?
Dog therapy has been tried and true for patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, PTSD, and autism. Some of the ways dog therapy impacts mental health patients are as follows:
- Feelings of comfort and safety
- A sense of community and increased prosocial behaviors
- More of a motivation to get better
- Enhanced self-esteem
- Reduced loneliness and feelings of isolation or alienation
- Reduced boredom
It can also can change the way the functions of the human body occur.
Lowers blood pressure
- Releases endorphins such as oxytocin which have a calming effect
- Petting the dog produces an automatic relaxation response: promotes the release of natural upper hormones–serotonin, prolactin, oxytocin, and phenylethylamine (which has the same effect as chocolate)
- Reduces the amount of medications a patient will need to take, causing the chemical makeup of the patient’s body to shift to a more natural level
- Slows breathing in those who are anxious
When she began searching for a pet with the charity Wolfie’s Legacy, she was drawn to animals who had also suffered hardships in their life.
She said: ‘When I saw the pictures of the dog that had special needs, I knew instantly one of those dogs was going to be right for us.
‘I just thought perhaps me and the one of the dogs would make a great package together, I could help the dog with her needs and she could help me with mine.’
She ended up settling on Faith, who came from Bosnia, who had an injury of unknown origin on one of her hind legs ankles.
She agreed with Dr Scott when he suggested she felt a kinship with Faith because she was mentally ‘broken’, and the dog was physically ‘broken.’
Pamela said: ‘I mean look at her, she has us in absolute stitches, I get so much out of having her, I need her more than she needs me, I absolutely adore her.’
Dr Scott met with Gill Daghistani, the founder of Wolfie’s Legacy, who named the charity after her dog, who sadly passed away.
She explained she adopted Wolfie, before learning he suffered from degenerative myopathy, a condition that couldn’t be cured.
She decided to care for Wolfie regardless, to give him ‘the best life’ she could.
Gill revealed she had been inspired to set up the organisation after thinking there must be other dogs like Wolfie out there, adding: ‘(I thought there must be) more dogs that need help that are being cast aside.’
The organisation has now helped to re-home an estimated 500 dogs.
Explaining there is a ‘dog for everyone’, Gill explained: ‘These dogs have had such a bad start.
‘They’ve suffered so much pain and cruelty, to see that the British people want to adopt these dogs, it’s inspiring.’
Viewers were touched by tr segment on disabled rescued dogs, trying to find homes for dogs with missing legs or other special needs
Viewers were blown away by Gill’s passion and Pamela’s love for her dog, with one commenting: ‘What truly incredibly beautiful ladies and dogs.’
Another added: ‘What an amazing lady.’
‘This woman is a hero for what she is doing.’
When Pamela began searching for a pet with the charity Wolfie’s Legacy, she was drawn to animals who had also suffered hardships in their life including Faith, who had an injury on her hind leg
Gill Daghistani, who founded the organisation Wolfie’s Legacy, said there was a dog out there for everyone
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