I was tired and achey, but Otis gives me va-va-voom
PHILLIPPA TAPHOUSE, 50, works in a cafe. She lives in Oxfordshire with husband Simon, 48, a commercial director of a property development company, their three children and two dogs Otis and Mo. Phillippa says:
I TURNED 50 in April, which I wasn’t happy about. I felt low about leaving my 40s and was experiencing tiredness, aching and the occasional hot flush.
We bought Otis, a miniature sausage dog, as a present for my son last year. We already have Mo, a border terrier, but he’s very much my husband’s dog.
Despite the fact I’ve never been a huge dog lover, the minute we got Otis, I turned into a nervous wreck. I couldn’t sleep or function because I was so anxious about something happening to him.
We’d go out for a walk and I’d be worrying about him running into the road or getting lost. I wonder if this anxiety was another symptom of the approaching menopause.
I went to my GP and burst into tears, saying: ‘I simply don’t feel like me.’ She suggested HRT, but I’m not ready for that yet. It’s not that I disagree with HRT, but I want to try to deal with this as naturally as possible first.
Over the months, I felt like Otis was having a positive effect. He’s so loving, and we shared such a connection, that I felt he was bringing me back to my ‘old self’. I’ve always been one for a daily routine and a balanced diet, but the menopause made me lose track. I was eating lots more and forgetting to exercise — not to mention being tired and achey a lot of the time.
But thanks to Otis, I was forced to get back into a routine and now feel more in control. While my children need me less and less, Otis always seems happy to see me. When they’re all doing their own thing, Otis will come up for a cuddle and comforts me as much as I do him. He makes me laugh every single day. Walking him twice daily has meant I’ve lost half a stone, and am eating more healthily as a result.
It means that I’m entering the real menopause with more va-vavoom than I’ve had for quite a long time.
Comfort and a cuddle: Phillippa Taphouse with sausage dog Otis