This News in Mentalists – The Dog Gone Bowls Edition

Ed’s note: To celebrate Super Bowl XLVI, TWIM is bringing you an extra edition for this weekend! I hope all the Americans (0r, obviously, non-Americans that follow this type of football) that read this site enjoy the year’s biggest sporting event! Thanks to Holly and Susan for the idea of a Super Sunday Super Bowl post, and (obviously) for writing it too :) ~Pan.

Hi, it’s Holly the cat again – back by popular demand – along with my typist and human, Susan. (I’ve trained her very well).

It’s a doggy weekend here in my neck of the woods. Saturday Susan spent the entire afternoon with some friends and their fabulous, cute as a button therapy dog, Miki, the Pomeranian.  How cute is he? So cute that she wants to adopt a dog! OH NO!

Miki the Therapy Pomeranian

Miki the Therapy Pomeranian

Miki was on TV yesterday. National TV. You see, Miki got the ACE award from the AKA (American Kennel Association) in the field of therapy dog. Both Susan and I are friends with Trish Baker, who is “mom” to Miki.

Trish started A.I.R., “Attitudes In Reverse”, an organization that brings awareness of suicide prevention to students. Miki attends A.I.R. awareness events and starts many conversations regarding mental health and suicide prevention.

“He goes everywhere with me,” Baker said. The little dog has helped her through many rough times, including the death of her son. When they wear their green and white AIR t-shirts out and about, people stop to ask about the organization. Baker explains that the white part of the shirt represents hope and the green represents children’s mental illness. Baker said that since children were their main target, they “saw a benefit in having a dog there.”

The award that Miki will be receiving on Saturday afternoon on ABC at 2pm is for ACE, Award of Canine Excellence. He was entered into the Therapy category, which was the largest one with about 200 entries, according to Baker.

After narrowing down all the entries, the judges decided that Miki’s was such a powerful story, it needed to be told.”

Here’s a video of Miki and the other four dogs that got medals in this category.

I defy anyone not to get weepy at viewing Bingo, a service dog that helps his boy with cerebral palsy.

For those who want to get in touch with Miki, you can find him on Facebook under “Miki The Parti-Pomeranian” and “Like” his page. I hope you will. He can also be found under the A.I.R. website.

To add more dogs to my weekend, today is the Super Bowl. It’s also the Puppy Bowl, with a kitten half time show. Puppy bowl is in it’s eighth year and it has a huge cult/fan following. 59 puppies this year will be participating.

Animal Planet and have searched shelters and rescue groups across the nation for the toughest pups to compete on the mini football field to show their skills and cuteness. A total of 58 puppies will compete and they will be joined by other adorable animals, who will cheer on their canine friends.

The kittens are providing the halftime entertainment at the “Bissell Kitty Half-Time Show” (for those who aren’t fans of Madonna) and the piggy pep squad will “ham” it up on the sidelines. Birds will be tweeting updates from the twitter handle @MeepTheBird on game day for the latest updates and hamsters will be “flying” the “Ice Breakers Mints blimp.”The event, which was originally created as a refuge for animal lovers bored with Super Bowl pregame shows, Puppy Bowl has become one of the network’s most popular event. Last year’s Puppy Bowl set records with at total of 9.2 million viewers tuning in to watch the puppies wrestle each other to the end zone.

The Puppy Bowl will air on Feb. 5 from 3-5 p.m. ET/PT on Animal Planet.

Sigh. So it’s puppies and football.

It’s a big day here in the US; it’s the Super Bowl. To put it in perspective, the Super Bowl is the most watched TV show in the US year after year. Last year’s show had 111 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings, or if you will, 1 out of 3 people watched. It’s probably more than that because a lot of people have Superbowl parties. It’s also the day where Americans eat more pizza and chicken wings and nachos than any other day.

This year, the teams playing are the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Madonna will be the half time show. What else do you need to know about the game? Well, the quarterback for the Patriots is a guy named Tom Brady [Ed - initially I was a bit freaked out by this name as I misread it as "Ted Bundy". FAIL!]. He’s married to supermodel Gisele. Eli Manning is the quarterback for the Giants. He’s been a guest on “The Simpsons.” I am more in awe of the latter. Ay Carumba!

Eli Meowing vs Tomcat Brady

Eli Meowing vs Tomcat Brady

I’m not a fan of football. Neither really is my mom, she’s got her Giants hat as I sit on her lap. Mom likes the commercials better. Ah the ads! Where else do you see an ad every three or four minutes for beer, cars and girls and chips. No ads for tuna, though there will be a very good ad by VW with dogs that sing the theme from the “Empire Strikes Back”.

With all those Americans watching TV, eating fattening snacks and drinking beer, trouble occurs. Here are the sad facts about football- both in the US, and overseas, where  football, (soccer in the US) has even more of a following.

It’s a known fact that after a major sporting event, calls to 911=999 go up from people who drank too much getting in car accidents, bar fights, or domestic calls. It’s a known fact that people gamble on the results of big games, sometimes loosing too much money than they can afford.

But what about the players? It’s a lot of work to play (US) football. The men are huge, usually weighing close to 300 pounds. It’s not fat, it’s solid muscle. They tackle each other hard, thus the helmets so the brain is not shaken.

I confess, I’m not really much of a football fan – this is a baseball house. What I do know about humans though, is that a lot of them are “in the closet”, when it comes to disclosing mental health, and this is very true in professional sports.

One player who has come out recently, is Miami Dolphins player Brandon Marshall. In an article from November, 2011 in USA Today newspaper, Brandon says he was diagnosed and treated for borderline personality disorder.

Marshall has been under scrutiny this summer after his wife was arrested once for allegedly stabbing him in the abdomen with a knife in April, then again on June 10 for violating a protection order when it was discovered that she was living in the couple’s Florida home.

At the time, Marshall was in the midst of three months of therapy and psychological examination at Boston’s McLean Hospital, were he was diagnosed with BPD.

“Before this ordeal I kept asking God to show me my purpose. He gave me this,” Marshall says. “I’ll be the face of BPD. I’ll make myself vulnerable if it saves someone’s life because I know what I went through this summer helped save mine.”

Hershel Walker, former Olympian and football star, also “came out” in 2008 about his dealing with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder).

Many people think they know the legendary Herschel Walker: 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, pro football star, Olympian and last week in San Francisco, an Olympic torchbearer.

But not only did the public not know the real Herschel Walker, the athlete himself said he didn’t either. In his just-released book “Breaking Free,” Walker reveals he has a form of mental illness called dissociative identity disorder, or DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder.

“I didn’t really learn about this until about 10 years ago,” Walker tells CNN. “My life was out of control. I was not happy, I was very sad, I was angry and I didn’t understand why.”

Players across the pond also wrestle with it, but seem to be more open with it, judging from what we found on Google.

Stan Collymore tweeted last November, 2011 about his bout of depression.

Man behind the mic: Collymore has revealed his depression anguish

Football [soccer] pundit Stan Collymore has revealed how he has again been struck down with severe bouts of depression.

The former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker has been gripped by the mental illness before but, in a series of brutal Twitter updates in the early hours of Friday morning, he described his fresh suffering.

He wrote: ‘Haven’t tweeted most of this week and wasn’t going to until I felt 100 per cent but it’s important I do (I think).

I found this article about Gary Speed, and several other players from different teams who succumbed. I’ll put a trigger warning on this article only, but the excerpt is trigger free.

It is a subject often neglected by much of the footballing world, with sufferers even enduring ridicule for their afflictions. The obvious example is that of Paul Gascoigne, a man whose demons float never far from the surface, being made into a comedy figure in the British media.

A recent example of the media trivialising such issues involves Paul Merson. The Sun claimed an exclusive story of him crashing his car after a drink, and referred to him as ‘a soccer bad boy’ [Ed - the link is clean; you can read the story without giving The Scum any hits]. The truth is that Merson suffers from mental illness, and has previously admitted to addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling. Lumping a man with genuine medical problems with wild but (as yet) mentally healthy individuals such as serial car-crasher Mario Ballotelli is at best, insensitive, at worst, deplorable journalism.

A similar situation arose surrounding Brazilian striker Adriano, then of Inter Milan. As his on-pitch performance plummeted, critics pointed to his late-night drinking and suspected alcoholism, dismissing as him another lazy Brazilian party animal. However beneath the hulking forward’s surface, a much darker truth was to be discovered. In 2009 he told Globoesporte:

“Depression also exists in the world of sport, and we shouldn’t estimate the problem. It happened to me in 2004, after the death of my father. I went through it, and for this reason I had problems with alcoholism. I started to drink because it was my way of trying to avoid the problems, and also because I suffered from insomnia. I forgot all the responsibilities I had.”

And now for something completely different. An important announcement. You may not know but my human Susan has been going through the worst depression she has gone through in ten years. It was so bad she’s almost been hospitalized and her agoraphobia has gotten so bad she didn’t leave the apartment for over two weeks. She’s been unable to write. Most days she can barely get out of bed [Ed - get well soon, Susan. Thinking of you. x]. So she decided it might cheer her up to give me a web page. She’s been playing around on WordPress, and added a fan page on Facebook  (click, or search for ‘Holly the Cat’). I expect shortly to have the webpage up and this way, I can post directly to TWIM instead of mailing sweet Pandora emails with instructions on jpegs, videos and whatnot. I’m making Pandora an honorary cat. There is no higher honor in a feline’s eye to bestow to a human [Ed - awesome! Srto Gato and Mr Cat (my two felids) sleep all day, doing so with utter impunity. So I'm well up for being a cat. It's just such a shame that I'm no longer studying].

If anyone here is on WP, and has tips for me – please send them.

Thank you again for letting me blog, and remember, give your dog or cat a big hug and tell them you love them. They do so much for us, and all we want in return is love.



Holly With Her Panda!

This piece is dedicated to Kenny Baker, April 19, 1990 – May 19, 2009. I wish I had met you.

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About Pandora

Award-winning ex-blogger. Complex PTSD, (predominantly depressive) bipolar disorder with psychotic features, and a side order of severe anxiety. So basically mental.

One Response to “This News in Mentalists – The Dog Gone Bowls Edition”

  1. There was a documentary here in the UK a few weeks ago where sports personalities talked about their various experiences with depression, mainly included a famous cricketer. Someone else might be able to elaborate more on it.


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