The Healing Properties of an English Bulldog Puppy…and Other Things…

It never ceases to fascinate me what sorts of things make people feel better. For my daughter, who has wanted a dog for years, it’s my neighbor’s English Bulldog puppy. He’s one of those dogs who is sweet, friendly, lovable, and adorable with all those wrinkles. When a really bad day occurred earlier in the year, Puppy was just what my daughter needed to feel better. (It didn’t hurt that Puppy fell asleep in her lap. That bonded her to him for life.) When one of her friends had a really bad day, my daughter took her friend over to see Puppy. Something about having a cute furry little thing being overwhelmingly happy to see you makes any day better. Puppy even makes me happy when I pull into my driveway, and he comes bounding over to say hello. And now that he’s gotten a lot bigger, his adolescent awkwardness (and gigantic paws!) makes him even more endearing.

I wish I had a picture of Puppy. I managed to find a similar picture from the web so you can get the idea of why he’s near and dear to our hearts.  (Image found at

I’m just as bad if not worse when it comes to cute babies. Sometimes holding an adorable (non-screaming/puking/stinky) baby who gazes at you with unconditional love just makes awful things seem less so. When I visited my cousin back east and helped take care of her new baby, it helped me in endless ways. But probably the most significant way that being around Miriam helped me was in dealing with the impending loss of two friends: one to Cancer, one to reasons I may never know. When a beautiful little baby cuddles in your arms, the bad things in the world seem to diminish a little. I’m sure some Psychologist somewhere could explain why this is so, but all I know is that I really need to see that little girl a lot more often…

 And then there’s food. It may not be politically correct to eat when you’re hurting and just want to feel better, but if it weren’t at least marginally effective there wouldn’t be so many people in this world who do this. For some folks, chocolate has magical mood-enhancing properties. I have friends who make mashed potatoes when they’re having a bad day. I’ve inherited the Damsky gene for noodle-mania (bad day? How about some spaghetti?). But the one food that always works to help me deal with stress or bad things happening is…anything with soy sauce. Chocolate may be great, but soy sauce simply works better for me. It’s always been this way too; in fact early in my marriage, my husband knew that if I’d had a bad day, he would stop off and get takeout Chinese food for dinner on his way home. (I think I’ll keep him.) Obviously it doesn’t make the problems go away, but it relaxes me enough to be able to cope.  If whatever endorphin-enhancing properties of soy sauce could be put into pill form, I would bet the need for Prozac would go way down in our population.

What do you use to feel better when you’re having a bad time? I’d love to hear about them…(and in the immortal words of Huey Lewis, “I want a new drug…”).



  1. Madalene says:

    Ice cream. When dear husband calls from work to tell me of his really, really bad day, I make an effort to have his favorite flavor in the freezer by the time he gets home (usually very late). Ice Cream makes a bad day melt away for me also. I still miss having dogs in my life and hope to get one soon.They are always happy to see you.

  2. Mary Hennessey says:

    That puppy is something else. I hope the real thing is as squeezable as the one in the picture! I am often amazed by the comfort of a cup of hot coffee. Ice cream and meals with sauce, too, or being close to a loved one, canine, feline or human… I also saw a good friend last night that I haven’t seen in a long time and the cold Molson was wonderful!

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