Mental Health: A Birthday Wish

Last night I went to my first Nar-Anon meeting in hopes of finding a community and healing among other people who have loved ones suffering from addiction. It was not fun. It was not peaceful. But, I acknowledge that in the long run it may be helpful. Just walking through the door for the first time was a huge step for me. There were a lot of heartbroken parents, spouses, siblings, and adult children in that room. Like mental illness, knowing someone else suffers is the worst, but it also helps bolster a feeling of normalcy.

It’s been a blue day, a blue month, a blue season. But, my birthday’s tomorrow, so I’ve forced myself to the keyboard.

Meet Achilles.

I’ve been open about having mental illness, and I cannot begin to explain the significance of having the comfort and joy of our family’s golden retrievers to get through hard times. We have two, and one of them, Achilles, is a precious senior at 14 years old. He is at once gentle, ornery, funny, and whip-smart. Most of all, though, he’s provided critical companionship to both me and Rick (and every other Aldrich) during hard times in our lives.

my and Rick’s wedding party + Achilles because, of course

Golden retrievers live to love, and not all seniors are doted upon, snuggled, and cherished like our sweet boy Achilles. Often times senior goldens are dumped because their care has become too much time-wise or financially or, worst of all, because they’re no longer a “cute puppy / young golden” anymore. When I think about the state of our world and the great comfort our goldens have brought me in the throes of it all, I’m crushed to think of senior goldens not receiving the amount of TLC they so selflessly give during their younger years. They care for us and, when they’re no longer able to, we should care for them.

So, for my birthday this year, I’m asking for donations to Golden Retriever Senior Rescue Sanctuary and Educational Center and I hope you’ll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me. $1, $2, any amount helps these precious seniors who have spent their lives loving. All donations are tax-deductible.

I love the description on their site:

All GRSRS&EC Sponsored Senior Goldens receive life-long housing and care at the Sanctuaries we support nationwide. We all know how expensive geriatric care can be, especially when multiple life-enhancing therapies are provided on an on-going basis. So, you can understand why we need and deeply appreciate your financial support. Together, we can provide nation-wide life-long, caring support for senior rescued Goldens in their most vulnerable time of life.


Christmas ‘Chilles

On the support page you can choose from a few options, including donating specifically to the food supply or the safe transport of the goldens as needed. They also have an annual silent auction to support “sugar-face senior goldens” (I’m not crying you’re crying).


big, big wags

Of course I spent an inordinate amount of time looking at photos of Achilles because of this post, but it made me feel better. Happy birthday to me!

one more for the road

Related on Bummed Out Baker:
Mental Health: Guilt and Golden Retrievers and Headaches

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If you or someone you know needs help right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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