It's what kept me busy this week and jammed my poor old laptop up and all from appearing on ITV's Britain's Top 100 Dogs, well that and 38000 pictures of dogs.....
If I had the time I would love to be able to reply individually to all the messages but unfortunately I just physically can't I'm so sorry! From one line messages to heartbreaking life stories, one thing is very clear, 99.9% of all stories involved a dog. To those people who said Max and Paddy helped or indeed are still helping them through tough times I could not be prouder of what they do for so many. It is quite incredible.
The PDSA (Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals) very kindly put our names forward to the ITV production team. As recipients of the prestigious 'Commendation Award' for the work Max and Paddy have done (and are still doing) in human support and devotion and I'm eternally grateful to them, with a big thank you especially to Amy for her all her ongoing support. Yes I cried at the award ceremony too, my tears have no bounds when it comes to the Max and Paddy (and Harry now!)
So if you are going to talk about depression you may as well do it on national TV right?
However having agreed to take part in the 100 Dogs program I had no idea how my story would be received, believe it or not I'm quite a private person (well I used to be). I love being behind the camera, not in front of it. I can quite honestly say I'd have been happy to pull our story three days before the program was aired, I had no idea how my story was going to be portrayed and not even seen the final edit. Nerve wracking stuff to say the least and a it caused few stressful sleepless nights I admit.
Filming took place over two days a month apart and it stirred up a lot of memories, they actually shot two stories but I had no idea which would be aired and no we didn't know who was going to be number one! It was emotionally draining and physically exhausting taking part. I'd like to personally thank Chris the producer at Ricochet and his team who sympathetically filmed and listened to me blub on and then edited our story. I was surprised they'd captured my ramblings and many tears into five minutes of film. I think they did that brilliantly.
Talking openly about depression is easy for me now and I hope that after watching me on national TV share my story, maybe someone else will find the courage to open up and say "I need to talk" Having depression can put you into a very dark lonely place. But you are not on your own, you are not the only one who is suffering even though it may feel that way. I have been amazed by the amount of people who have stopped me on the street or phoned me and said "I had depression you know....." Total strangers, from workmen, ex service personnel, people from all walks of life, the list is endless. Depression knows no boundaries and we are all susceptible to it.
Talk about depression out loud instead of whispering about it in quiet corners, only then the lights might get switched back on in someones dark place and maybe the darkness will fade.
How I wish we could get some funding to allow us to take the dogs into to schools colleges, universities and businesses and tell them it's okay to talk about this subject.
Our story, that having a true friend in a canine companion can really make the difference.
Dogs or indeed animals break down barriers and I think from the response we've had it certainly proves it.
Walking the boys in the mountains has become such an important part of my daily life, walking takes away stress, it's relaxing and you feel good after it, even in the rain and gale force winds! Nothing beats a good brew and cake afterwards. The feel good factor!
I'm also very proud to support the 'Mountains for the Mind campaign' with Trail Magazine and by clicking the link below you can find out more information and maybe even take part?
We also would like to mention about another charity called 'First Light Trust'First Light Trust supports Emergency Services and Armed Forces Veterans. FLT has 5 Hubs, soon to be six with one opening in Hereford very soon. One in Redcar, Scarborough, Lancaster, Gosport, and Hawick on the Scottish Borders. The Hubs are for veterans of the services to relax in a non military or service environment and have a brew and cake. FLT never turns anybody away, no matter how low they have found themselves or what kind of drama they may have going on. Please click the link below for more information.
As for us we just do what we do walk our dogs met new friends and take lots of pictures. I am the luckiest man alive, who knows what the future holds? I thank Max daily for what he has done for me and may others. I can never repay him for his major role in my life.
We are looking at adding more charity walks to our calendar, so please take a step up and join us. Keep checking out our events page on our Facebook page 'Max out in the Lake District'
We'll be a the NEC Birmingham Camping Caravan and Motorshow on the 23rd and 24th February doing three talks and a meet and greet afterwards.
And also at Crufts on the Orijen and Acana petfoods stand in March so come along and say hello.
p.s If someone could please have a word with Clare Balding we have three beautiful dogs with a amazing story to tell who would love to come and sit on her sofa!