Dog ended Sarah’s illness and inspired books

Sarah Shearer with Kia the dog. Picture: Joey Kelly
Sarah Shearer with Kia the dog. Picture: Joey Kelly
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Leisure worker’s depression cured by rescue husky

As the saying goes: “If you want a friend, get a dog.”

This was the advice given to former Edinburgh Leisure worker Sarah Shearer in 2010 after her depression became so crippling she did not leave her home for a year.

Little did she know that the rescue dog she adopted from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) would end up rescuing her and providing the inspiration for her series of children’s books.

Sarah, 45, who now divides her time between her father’s home in Whitecross and Italy, explained: “I’ve suffered from depression off and on throughout my entire life, but it became extremely bad about three years ago, so much so that I wouldn’t leave the house unless someone made me.

“My friends were very worried and one of them suggested that I get a dog, as walking it would force me to go outside.”

Sarah decided to visit the SSPCA kennels in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, and knew from the first moment she saw husky Kia that she was the dog for her.

“Kia was about 18 months old then and very timid. She hadn’t been at the shelter long, and I think she was scared. As soon as I saw her I said – ‘That’s the one’.”

Sarah now describes Kia as her “constant companion”, adding: “It’s funny, I like animals more than people most of the time, but she prefers people to animals. She always wants to socialise when we go out walking and I can’t exactly stand there and say nothing, so while I still don’t like large crowds, she’s helped me come out of my shell a lot more.”
Sarah’s life changed again in 2011 when she was given the opportunity to move to the small municipality of Villar ­Pellice in the Italian Alps.

“My friend was moving there to care for her mother, who is Italian, and asked me if I would like to join her. I’d just been medically retired from work and thought, why not?”

As Kia has her own ­passport she was able to travel with Sarah to their new home.

Sarah continued: “It’s such a beautiful, quiet place. I’d done a bit of writing in the past and had some ideas, but everything seemed to come together up there and I wrote my first Adventures of Kia book, The Unicorn’s Magic.”

The self-published book tells the tale of Husky ­princess Kia’s battle to stop an evil force from turning all magic in the kingdom bad by stealing a ­unicorn’s horn.

“I’ve since done readings in lots of different places, including my old schools Abbeyhill Primary and Portobello High – it was quite strange being back. I’m now getting ready to publish the second book in the series, Huskyville Winter Olympics, which will hopefully be out in time for the real ­Winter Games.”

And since recently being diagnosed with painful condition Fibromyalgia, Sarah has started blogging about that experience in the hope of raising awareness. “It’s a very hard condition to live with and I want to show other sufferers they are not alone. I do have painkillers, but I save them for when it becomes unbearable. But I also have Kia by my side to keep me strong through the bad times.”

This was the advice given to former Edinburgh Leisure worker Sarah Shearer in 2010 after her depression became so crippling she did not leave her home for a year.

Little did she know that the rescue dog she adopted from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) would end up rescuing her and providing the inspiration for her series of children’s books.

Sarah, 45, who now divides her time between her father’s home in Whitecross and Italy, explained: “I’ve suffered from depression off and on throughout my entire life, but it became extremely bad about three years ago, so much so that I wouldn’t leave the house unless someone made me.

“My friends were very worried and one of them suggested that I get a dog, as walking it would force me to go outside.”

Sarah decided to visit the SSPCA kennels in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, and knew from the first moment she saw husky Kia that she was the dog for her.

“Kia was about 18 months old then and very timid. She hadn’t been at the shelter long, and I think she was scared. As soon as I saw her I said – ‘That’s the one’.”

Sarah now describes Kia as her “constant companion”, adding: “It’s funny, I like animals more than people most of the time, but she prefers people to animals. She always wants to socialise when we go out walking and I can’t exactly stand there and say nothing, so while I still don’t like large crowds, she’s helped me come out of my shell a lot more.”
Sarah’s life changed again in 2011 when she was given the opportunity to move to the small municipality of Villar ­Pellice in the Italian Alps.

“My friend was moving there to care for her mother, who is Italian, and asked me if I would like to join her. I’d just been medically retired from work and thought, why not?”

As Kia has her own ­passport she was able to travel with Sarah to their new home.

Sarah continued: “It’s such a beautiful, quiet place. I’d done a bit of writing in the past and had some ideas, but everything seemed to come together up there and I wrote my first Adventures of Kia book, The Unicorn’s Magic.”

The self-published book tells the tale of Husky ­princess Kia’s battle to stop an evil force from turning all magic in the kingdom bad by stealing a ­unicorn’s horn.

“I’ve since done readings in lots of different places, including my old schools Abbeyhill Primary and Portobello High – it was quite strange being back. I’m now getting ready to publish the second book in the series, Huskyville Winter Olympics, which will hopefully be out in time for the real ­Winter Games.”

And since recently being diagnosed with painful condition Fibromyalgia, Sarah has started blogging about that experience in the hope of raising awareness. “It’s a very hard condition to live with and I want to show other sufferers they are not alone. I do have painkillers, but I save them for when it becomes unbearable. But I also have Kia by my side to keep me strong through the bad times.”