TW // self-harm
Pet parent Meg Biay fell in love with her golden retriever Teddy the first time she saw him at a pet store in Cartimar a couple of years ago. Somehow, the 22-year-old girl felt that the dog could be very loyal to an extraordinary degree. As she remembered thinking then, “I knew that this dog would be with me despite my own quirks, and ups and downs. True to his name, Teddy was with me at all times and loved me unconditionally.” Meg’s forecast was uncannily accurate — Teddy did help her regain her physical and mental health and gave her back the gift of life. This is the moving story of March’s Next Top Pawdel of the month.
Meg did need a loving companion at that point in her life. While recovering from the Bipolar 1 condition she had been diagnosed with, she had been fighting off bouts of depression and loneliness. Meg admitted, “I felt lost at the time. I even went AWOL from college. My mom was with me but she was busy all the time. I needed someone to keep me sane, to keep me grounded.”
“I felt lost at the time. I even went AWOL from college. My mom was with me but she was busy all the time. I needed someone to keep me sane, to keep me grounded.”
The short trip to the Cartimar store was one way to revive her spirit because Meg had been a pet lover since she was a child. There were no plans to buy a dog that day, though. It was more of a window-shopping trip than an actual one. But the lively golden retriever inside his cage, wagging his tail at Meg and her family, was hard to ignore. Meg’s mom listened to her pleas, raised their pet budget—and brought the two-month old puppy with them home that day.
Getting back on the way to health
Meg named him Teddy because “he looked like a teddy bear,” she said, smiling at the memory.
He was what exactly the doctor said that Meg needed. This golden retriever was charming, genuinely liked people, and would go out of its away to cheer up his mistress. If he were a movie star, he would be like Tom Holland, said Meg, referring to the young star of the Spider-Man movies who is known and loved for his spontaneity, sense of humor, and fun-loving ways. Meg affirmed, “Ted does silly things to impress others, even at his own expense, all the while being cheerful. He doesn’t think twice about the things he does for others. Plus, he has a very charming look.”
Meg and his brother would take Ted on regular walks around the park in Laguna where they live. There is something in the way that he bounces and runs that makes her happy. But what really makes her day is Ted, who sleeps at their patio, greeting her daily from the bottom of the stairs as she comes down. It’s one very effective form of emotional medicine that supports her mental health.
Interestingly, Teddy was also instrumental to Meg’s improving her physical well-being, specifically regaining the weight she needed.
“I had an eating disorder before: I’d eat at irregular times only to puke it after,” revealed Meg. “When I got Teddy, I needed the energy given by food. I had to eat at regular hours since he would remind me it’s meal time. From an underweight unhealthy girl, I became really healthy. My change in weight helped the absorption of my medication into my bloodstream.
“It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say it really was thanks to Teddy that I became better. I got over my eating disorder, I took my medications on time, and someone consoled me whenever I had episodes. He was the best caregiver in the world!”
Saved from death’s door
Beyond helping her win over her eating disorder, the golden retriever was also instrumental to giving Meg a new lease on life. Literally. As most patients who have mental condition can attest, there are really bad days when you are just tempted to give up and end it all. In Meg’s case, her quitting a smoking habit led to a “very bad depressive episode,” where her brain and body struggled during one nicotine-free week. The sadness and pain drove Meg to a point of suicide. She went to the hardware store, bought some rope, made a noose, and tied it around her neck. None of her family was around to stop her.
Meg did find herself hoping that someone would stop her. Her prayers were answered by a scratching sound from the screen door. Meg recognized it as Teddy wanting to enter the house. Despite her own suffering, she could not ignore him. She postponed her attempt for a few seconds to let him in.
While mentally bidding her loved ones farewell, Meg did find herself hoping that someone would stop her. Her prayers were answered by a scratching sound from the screen door. Meg recognized it as Teddy wanting to enter the house. Despite her own suffering, she could not ignore him. She postponed her attempt for a few seconds to let him in.
What Teddy, her golden retriever, did broke through her mental health shield, warmed her heart, and saved her life.
Meg said that rethinking that episode always brings grateful tears to her eyes: “Ted brought me his favorite toy which cheers him up. At that moment, I thought how much Teddy would suffer if I were to kill myself: no one would take care of him since it was just the two of us in the house every day. So I cried, hugged Teddy, and put the rope down. I changed my mind about killing myself since someone stopped me.”
“Ted brought me his favorite toy which cheers him up. At that moment, I thought how much Teddy would suffer if I were to kill myself…”
Her brother had been avoiding her that day because he too did not want to be triggered. Her classmates were still traumatized by another friend’s hanging. Her mom was panicking and dealing with her own issues.
Meg said, “I chose not to talk to them. All the help I had was Teddy. He’s everything to me and he’s the reason I’m still living.”
In giving her back the gift of life, Meg gained a renewed appreciation of it and is determined to strengthen her mental health and make each day count. She also wants to become as caring and generous as her golden retriever one day.
Meg shared, “I thank Teddy for everything he has done for me, and I promise I will not do anything that will endanger my life again. I would very much like to stay with him for the rest of our lives. I know this sounds like a wedding vow, and maybe it is. I think I stopped yearning for romantic love because I got all the unconditional love already from Teddy.”
Philippines’ Next Top Pawdel
If you think you also have a heartwarming story that can be told through the lens of the camera – a story of unspoken love by your dog or cat — please join the Philippines’ Next Top Pawdel. Our pictures will not just bring out the beauty of your pet, or reveal what’s inside their unspeaking heart. It will also talk about your connection with them, your relationship, your love affair.
Tell us your story. We’d like to hear from you.
How to win?
- Answer the pre-qualifying questions of love for a chance to be the Next Top Pawdel of the Month.
- Monthly winners must have their winning pet’s portrait taken in full Pawdel pawllection at The Pet Visuals’ studio.
- Top Pawdels of the Month are entitled to a free 3-hour pet portrait session (both solo and accompanied).
- One (1) pet is equivalent to one single entry.
- Only one (1) qualified pet can be admitted to the pet portrait session.
- Top Pawdel of the Month winners are ineligible to join the succeeding monthly Top Pawdel.
- Top Pawdel of the Month is limited to an undisclosed number of entries each month.
- Once the monthly contest is closed, wait for the next month’s contest to reopen.
- Free 25 post-shoot processed images in full Pawdel pawllection.
- Monthly winners will be transported for free via Pawdel’s private service vehicle to The Pet Visuals’ studio. *pick-up and drop-off is limited to Metro Manila and nearby provinces only (Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan)
- The grand winner of the Philippines’ Next Top Pawdel will be selected by a panel of judges by rating the 12 Top Pawdels of the Month’s portraits on the merits of who best articulates their unspoken love through the lens of the camera.