I suffer from clinical major depressive disorder as well as clinical anxiety (severe social anxiety, including anxiety attacks), and Ellie & Atlas have truly saved me in so many ways. Their need and want to be outside, explore, work, and play has forced me to be that kind of person, and they’ve helped me discover that it’s exactly what I need to decompress and get myself back together whenever I fall apart.

So many mornings I wake up exhausted, even after a good night’s rest, my body aching, my head clouded. Ellie & Atlas are my purpose to get up every morning, they’re what truly keep me going each & every day no matter how much my body begs me to stay in bed.

But let me start from the beginning, when I met Ellie.

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I suffer from clinical major depressive disorder and clinical anxiety and Ellie & Atlas, my two huskies, have saved me in so many ways

So many mornings I wake up exhausted, even after a good night’s rest, my body aching, my head clouded

Ellie & Atlas are my purpose to get up every morning. But let me start from the beginning, when I met Ellie…

I got Ellie when she was 13 weeks old. Her previous owner had personal circumstances preventing them from being able to care for her

Back then, when I got Ellie, I was severely overweight, and still struggled through dark thoughts almost daily

I knew instantly that she was supposed to be in my life, she was meant to change my life

She was a terror… destructive, independent, and so incredibly stubborn. After days, weeks, months, and YEARS of classes & training, Ellie has turned into the most AMAZING dog & best friend I could ever ask for.

I started walking more, eating better, and realizing how much the outdoors really calmed me. With Ellie’s help, I was able to lose 60 lbs and start achieving dreams I never thought possible

In bringing Atlas home, I realized just how different he was from Ellie. He was laid-back, and so much more interested in what I was doing

His personality taught me how to trust, and how to accept anyone and everyone for who they are

Our true adventures started after Atlas came into my life, when I finally had the confidence to push forward towards my dreams

We climbed our first high peaks a couple of years ago, and are so antsy to continue on through to our goal of climbing all 46 Adirondack High Peaks in NY

In addition, we’ve started bikejoring and mushing together, as well as doing canicross

If they can’t run in the race, they’re ALWAYS on the sidelines cheering me on & giving me more motivation to reach the finish line to get hugs & kisses from them

We began canicross about 5 years ago, and Ellie & Atlas helped me train for the four half marathons I ran last year, as well as the numerous other races I’ve done

Our lives have become full of camping, hiking, high peak hiking, adventuring, mushing, and exploring…

… and I couldn’t imagine it any other way

They’ve pulled me out of so many dark places throughout these last 7 years

They’ve been my shoulder to cry on countless times. Even if I’m just having a bad day, Ellie is right there licking the tears off my face, and Atlas is laying by my side

They’ve been the ones pushing me forward to reach goals

They’ve been the ones encouraging me to find the help I need & BEING the help I need

I constantly wonder where I’d be if I didn’t have them with me…

…or honestly if I’d even still be here

In honor of them I recently got my first tattoo: mountains & trees on my right shoulder

It’s a daily reminder to myself that I’m capable of anything I set my mind to, and it reminds me of all the grand adventures I’ve been on with Ellie & Atlas

I truly worry about the day they aren’t with me anymore…

I chronicle our adventures on Instagram & Facebook through my photography, and use our platforms as a way to encourage an active, healthy lifestyle with your pup, and to help those who also suffer from depression & anxiety, letting them know that it’s 100% ok to admit to needing help and finding the help you need. In finally reaching out for help myself, I know how difficult it can be to even just admit you can’t do this alone. For me, it’s taken two pups, a lifestyle change, and reaching out for additional help to change my life for the better & achieve our dreams as a team.