I'm hugely grateful to Mike for being so open in this interview and also for allowing me to chat to Piglet .... that really was the dream. Enjoy!
Part of the reason you started your Facebook page 'Piglet and Me' was to help raise awareness of mental health issues. Would you mind telling us a little bit about your background and why raising awareness is important to you?
It was to raise awareness of mental health, we also try to raise awareness of the bull breed and rescue dogs.
I myself have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder after spending many years in turmoil and being fed antidepressants from one GP to the next. It was only when it got so bad I was hospitalised several times was I properly assessed and the correct treatment given did I manage to have a reasonable life.
Piglet herself was put into rescue at only eight months due to anxiety that manifested itself in extreme spinning. Prior to going into rescue she was almost put to sleep due her issues. She is now settled and has no anxiety but is a bit of a loon.
I’m open about my issues because we have to speak up, if we don’t we end up hiding in the shadows and allowing the stigma rule our lives. Mental health is a huge issue and only by being open do we get other to understand and remove the stigma, I am not my illness.
What advice would you give people struggling with mental health issues?
Talk, I know it’s hard to do when you are in the throes of despair but people need to be aware. Sadly unless it’s extreme few people understand or see the signals so at times we need to reach out and let others know we need help. You are not alone, one in four people suffer from mental health issues in one form or another, you are not abnormal, you are not and oddball or crazy, you are going through something a lot of other people have gone through or are going through. Be brave and reach out, there is so much help out there sometimes you just have make the first move and talk.
You rescued Piglet in 2016. Can you tell us a little bit about her?
She’s a loon but she’s my loon. She was bought as a pup by a family who I think had no real experience of English bull terriers and wasn’t really prepared for their rambunctious nature. She developed anxiety and the family struggled to cope, they sought advice some of which was to have her put to sleep. The previous family did the right thing and placed her into Arundawn Dog Rescue so she could get help. I lost my previous rescue bullie to a poor heat and was heartbroken and then a friend told me about Xen (as she was called then) and we got in touch with the rescue, specifically Elaine who does so much for the dogs. A week or so later we went to visit Piglet when she was ten months old and fell in love, after a 500 mile round trip she came home, we carried on with her treatment started by Elaine and within a few months she was both med and anxiety free. We set the social pages up and the story began.
How has she helped you?
She keeps me company and she knows when I’m struggling, she stays with me and I’m busy with her I don’t have time to ponder on darker times. She is such a character she never fails to make me smile or laugh. She is my freelance therapy dog. She is better than any medication I take.
If I was considering adopting an English Bull Terrier what advice would you give me?
You’re not getting a dog! You think you’re getting a dog but you’re not!
I tell everyone this, an English bull terrier is a creature in its own right, it’s like no other and is more commonly referred to as the English bull terrorist or a toddler in a dog suit. If you are after a nice obedient dog that will walk to heel then get a border collie, if though you want a dog full of character, loyal, loving then you need a bullie.
More than anything regardless of what dog you want in your life do your research and when you have do a little more.
Any top training tips?
I wake up with her and let her out for her ablutions, she gets fed right on time and walks are regular. She sits either next to me or in me, she has the choice of four beds but prefers sleeping across mine.
I think she has me very well trained at the moment!
In 2018 you threw yourself out of a plane wearing a pink tutu to raise money for charity. What can we expect this year? Will the tutu be making another appearance?
The tutu and an unicorn headwear will be making an appearance after I was press ganged during a charity auction. It will be donned out in a bike ride but I have used the tutu for various charity raising events previously. Not sure what we have planned this year but we have a few irons in the fire.
Hi Piglet. We’ve had a lovely chat with your dad and I was hoping we could ask you a few questions. Would that be ok?
What’s it like living with Mike?
Coolio, mes gotted im tained jus rite nos. Mes luvs mes famalam dey alls coolio Liked mes mum an de agerteen, mes steelin foodies fim is room.
Tell me a bit about the cats in your life. Do you get on with them?
De meowfia! Dey weevil alls ov dem, dey scatch mes snoz alls de timely cos mes jus wans toos pays wiv dem. Dey wanteded by de FBI toos cos dey nourty.
Which would you say is your all time favourite …. tennis balls or treats?
Haz u gotted don, wer r dey, u hidden dem, fow dem, fow dem, fow dem!
To learn more about Piglet and Mike head over to their website www.pigletandme.uk or you can follow them on Facebook