Alaska and Gideon – My little Heroes
My dogs have changed my life. This statement may sound a little generic and somewhat overused, but there is no other way to put it. It’s the truth however, the bigger truth is that they have actually SAVED my life. For many years I battled with addiction, depression and eating disorders. When my best friend died in December 2020, losing her battle with addiction, my own took a turn for the worse. Angry, confused, sad and alone, I destroyed my mind, body and spirit with alcohol and drugs. I went down the rabbit hole, and didn’t like what I saw there. After 4 months of this, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I voluntarily checked myself into a rehab in Kommetjie for the fourth time and asked for help once again.
Today I am a year and 10 months clean and sober, and my mental health has improved a hundred fold. There are 2 things I can say with pride which are responsible for this change – my two dogs, and my love for Ultra Endurance Running.
I got in touch with TEARS the week after I was discharged from the clinic and I adopted LUX – now Alaska. She was exactly what I needed after transitioning back into my life; a companion, a friend, a little heartbeat that lay next to me each and every night. She would take me for walks in the mornings and the evenings, and eventually would join me on the trails where we would run together.
Not long after Gideon entered our lives and brought with him pure unconditional love, joy and happiness – and a whole lot of anxious excitement! Fostering turned into a foster fail (my proudest fail yet) and I learnt that he’s the vocal one demanding attention, while Alaska is more placid and calm, not really too fazed about how attention is divided between her and him. The two took to each other instantly, brother and sister and best friends – my little family was now complete.
Together they have taught me the value of friendship, trust, and unconditional love, but most importantly – responsibility. They needed me as much as I needed them. I will forever be grateful for the company they give me, the cuddles and kisses they provide whenever they are asked for, and the true love that I have developed for the both of them.
I joined a running club called Mindset Movement, and Alaska and Gideon would join the sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays when we would run on the promenade. They would soon be known by every member in Mindset Movement (and Seapoint), after I’d have to scream for Alaska to follow us. She gets distracted quite easily, but Gideon is my shadow and does not venture too far away from me before coming back to see if I’m still there.
After being a member of Mindset Movement for over a year, what I have learnt from them has been paramount in the transformation I have undergone not only physically and emotionally, but mentally. Running Ultra Marathons takes mental toughness and this is exactly what my coach drilled into my head at every training session. In February 2023, I ran my first 100km Ultra Endurance race at The Tankwa Crossing and placed first overall in my category running 107km in 13hours 28 minutes and 17 seconds.
The passion and the love I have both for my dogs and for running has reignited the fire within me to become a better version of myself each and every day. Where before I couldn’t look into another person’s eyes and tell them that I liked who I was, I can now look into the eyes of Alaska and Gideon and tell them that they have a mother who loves herself, who is proud of the person she is, and who will continue to be the best mother to them always choosing to save their lives everyday, just like they save hers every day since.
They are the reason I continue on this path of sobriety and growth, and I am excited for the many more years I have with them. With the exponential growth I have experienced since having them in my life I know that I have SO MUCH MORE to look forward to with them by my side.
Thank you – Maranda Muller