My Shaya: How a Dog Helped my Depression

Every day I am asked why we chose the name Shaya. The short response is that the name has two special meanings: Gift from God from the Bible and worthy in Farsi. I talk about the process in our blog post Shaya Means Something, but I wanted to talk more about personal story behind our name.

When I got back from studying abroad for a year, I was truly struggling with who I was and what I wanted out of my life. I had one more year at UCLA and felt like I had no true purpose. My family, seeing how much I was struggling, spoke to me and together we decided I should get a dog. I spent weeks looking for the right dog and, in the end, it was my grandma to who found Baby G. I was showing her a photo of another dog I was going to see, and she saw Baby G, pointed to her, and said she was my dog. She ended up being right.

Baby G quickly became an integral part of my life and mental health. She provided me with a sense of purpose and hope when I most needed it. When I read about dogs (or pets in general) helping with depression I never imagined the positive impact one would have on my life. My entire life changed the day I became Baby G’s human. I went from feeling lethargic and dejected every day to waking up excited to go for a walk with her, excited to meet other dogs and their humans and hopeful that the day would hold joy for me. And still, five years later, I have at least one moment of joy a day because of Baby G.

When I found out the meaning of the word Shaya, it clicked with me and with my dream for the brand. There is no other way to describe Baby G’s presence in my life, other than to say she is my Gift from God. It’s also special because the name has a Persian meaning. In a way, I get to honor what Baby G and other pets bring to our lives as well as highlighting my Persian background.

I’ll end by suggesting anyone struggling with feelings of depression or sadness try visiting your local shelter and volunteer with pets. It could be a great way to lift your spirits and bring joy to pets who really need it. If you end up having one join your family all the better!

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