You aren’t alone. Depression affects over 18 million adults (one in ten) in the United States every year. It is the primary reason why someone dies of suicide about every 13 minutes – over 41,000 people a year. It was the reason why Sara Carson, now Sara Carson Devine, almost took her life.
We first met Sara back in 2017 on season 12 of America’s Got Talent when she and her dog Hero performed their pirate trick routine for the audience. They had mixed reviews from the judges on whether or not they should be allowed into the next round, but Simon Cowell fought for her and Hero to stay in the competition.
Flash forward, Sara and Hero made it to the finals and placed 5th in the competition, but it all started with a simple act of belief from Simon to allow them to get that far. Without Simon,they wouldn’t have gotten that far, but without Hero, Sara wouldn’t be here today.
Sara suffers from depression. Raised in a military family, Sara was a quiet child but had a deep bond with animals. When she chose to have a career in training animals, a lot of her family didn’t agree with her choice, saying it wasn’t a real career, and they cut her out of their lives.
Sara almost didn’t make it. She didn’t want to get out of bed, didn’t want to do anything, was living in her car, and almost gave up until one day. That was the day she met Hero, and her life was forever changed. Hero saved her life. She frequently talks about how she wouldn’t be here anymore if she hadn’t met Hero. He saved her life.
Hero the Dog is a Real Life Hero
Animals love unconditionally, are unselfish, and would do anything for the people they love. The way they light up when you walk into the room is something that 80 million households in the United States who have a pet understand profusely.
They are a constant companion that will give you love and affection 24/7. When you suffer from depression, you feel as if you are unloveable, unworthy… but an animal will never let you feel like that. They love you no matter what you look like, or what you are going through.
In a survey of pet owners, 74% of pet owners reported changes in their mental health and 75% said that a friend’s or family member’s health improved from owning a pet. Pets and therapy animals can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and social isolation, stress, anxiety, and depression. Daily interactions with animals can help people manage their long-term mental health conditions.
Today, Sara is happily married, living in Los Angeles and spends her days performing with team the Super Collies (Hero, Marvel, and Loki) and teaches dog trick workshops all around the world. Hero has lived up to his name and saved Sara.
Animals save lives everyday. If you suffer from depression, consider heading down to a local pet store or shelter and look into owning a pet. Or if owning a pet is too much for you to start off with, volunteering at shelters is a great way to get out of the house and spend time with some animals that will remind you on a daily basis that you are lovable and worthy!