Bentley: My Emotional Support Dog (Because, really, isn’t that a dog’s actual job?)


Today I woke up feeling kind of blue. It was like all the air had gone out of me. I felt flat, empty, blah. And then I remembered, it’s February; gray, chilly, damp, middle of nowhere, February. This happens to me every year after the festivities of the holidays and the exhilaration of the New Year. When February rolls around I can almost start to feel like Spring is just around the corner and then, sometime after Ground Hog Day it hits me: it’s still winter and I just feel droopy. When this happens, I often spend some time cuddling with Bentley. Bentley is my four-year-old Australian Labradoodle. He’s 29 pounds and just the right size to lay around with. He’s doing it right now, see?


Something that always helps my mood, in addition to a cuddle with Bentley, is taking him out for a walk or run. But this L.A. girl doesn’t run outside once the temperature drops below 55 (okay, 60) so it’s been awhile because, well, February in Nashville. But today, something lovely happened. Sometime in the late morning, the outside temperature hit 73 degrees! In February! And it wasn’t raining! In fact, it was kind of, dare I say, nice. So I decided it was the perfect time to get my little buddy some real exercise. So I laced up my shoes, wrapped my running leash around my waist and off we went.

I have the good luck to live near one of Nashville’s greenway trails. They wind throughout the city, giving folks paved pathways perfect for running, walking, biking and dog walking! My greenway is only a block away from my front door and gives us a perfect 3.3-mile loop. So, off we went on our walk/run.

At this point, I should explain the title of this post. In our family, we have a pet peeve (pun intended). It’s when people claim to need an “emotional support,” pet and it’s clear they’re faking it. Recently the news had a story about someone wanting to take a peacock on an airplane for emotional support! Really????? Anyway aren’t all pets technically “emotional support?” I mean, isn’t that their purpose? I don’t know about you, but Bentley’s job is to be my pal, keep me company and generally just make me happy. He’s soft, fluffy, affectionate and co-dependent. Why wouldn’t anyone want to take him everywhere? But alas, not everyone loves my pooch as much as I do.

But today was a good day. Smack in the middle of February, Bentley and I had a great run and it really feels like Spring is near. I know, I know, there will be more rain, more frost, maybe even some snow before Winter fizzles out. But today, we celebrate a respite and I count the hours of daylight, waiting for Daylight Saving Time to begin again. And Bentley, well he’s doing his job. Staring out the window, keeping me company and comforted. Now, if only he could fold laundry and put the groceries away!!!!  Oh, and here’s Bentley after our walk today.  Whattayathink?  Pretty cute, huh?


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