Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pet Therapy

I remember a point of quiet desperation in the midst of a time when my marriage was falling apart. I was sitting on the floor and two of our kittens started frolicking around and playing in a way that only kittens do. For that moment in time, I thought of nothing else but the kittens performing just for me.

When that marriage reached an end, I sat in a state of fear and paralysis. I was overwhelmed with the idea of navigating the path before me. I was broken into small, shattered pieces. Then our three month old son smiled. A smile of innocence, straight from the heart from a young soul who knew nothing more than the moment he was living in. And he was loving that moment. Every other worry in the world melted away while I sat still and enjoyed the moment with my small parcel of joy.

I was falling to pieces in public. My current job situation was taking me down. Swiftly. I was fighting for air and doing everything in my power to make an impossible situation work. But I was a small, frightened child inside. And I broke. I ran to the bathroom and who was waiting for me outside the door? But the ‘mascot’ of the place of business I was in. This dog sensed my vulnerability and was there to console me. And we had never previously bonded. It was an intrinsic, mystical, need-to-heal power that brought a dog-who-was-not-my-family to my side.

Whenever I have felt a little blue or lost in the world, I have a cat or dog (or baby) tale to tell about the way they carried me through a moment.

Pets are not fair weather friends. Dogs are notorious in their ability to love without condition. Even though cats have a bad rep about 'taking a message and getting back to you later', in my experience, they have provided endless hours of peace and serenity into my world when I needed (or wanted) it the most.

Listening to a cat purr is one of my favorite sounds in the world. Being the 'chosen one' by a cat is one of life's great honors. What cat lover hasn't had a cat fall asleep on them and force 'their person' to sit in a position far longer than intended so they didn't disturb that sleeping ball of fur snuggled up into the crevices of their body? Watching a cat in a sunbeam ... or sleeping ... or stalking a bug ... or bird watching from the window. These are just a few of my favorite things...

There is a sense of sadness that I feel from people at times. People who live alone. People who have a whole heart full of love to give and no one to share that with on a daily basis. People who could benefit greatly by taking care of another being. People who need to feel needed in their world. I wish (and I have tried, trust me ... I have tried) I could prescribe a pet to add a piece of joy into their lives.

People have many reasons (and most of them are very good ones) for not adopting a pet of their own. This is when I would prescribe a good dose of pet therapy. Find your pet of choice - everyone has different bias and natural affinity to love one furry critter over another. And let yourself love, feel, touch and be touched by this force of energy.

Feeling a little blue? Visit a friend with a pet. Offer to take a neighbor's dog for a walk. Visit a place of business that has a pet-mascot within. Wander through a pet store that allows interaction with the pets. Watch the birds frolicking in a park or your own back yard. Go for a walk and chances are that you will find a dog out walking with its person. Dog lovers are known for being friendly and willing to talk about and share their dog's story.

Animals have a way of breaking down barriers. They are non-verbal in their communication but they are masters at communicating. They give without expectations. They don't care who you are, how much money you have, how you look, if you had bad breath or a bad haircut. They accept you at face value and don't judge you.

Go out and enjoy an animal today. I think that you will be glad that you did.

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