My husband and I have a cat and two dogs because I believe no home is complete without pets to love. Our animals sleep in our bed and come along on family trips — they are our “fur-children.” As my health has declined, I’ve come to see these pets as therapeutic. They don’t care if I slur my words, and they even love it when I drool!
They cuddle up close on days I need to stay in bed to preserve energy — the gentle vibrations of my cat’s purring lulling me to sleep. During the day, my dogs know when I will fall and refuse to leave my side. My pets have gotten me out of the house when my weakened muscles have discouraged me. I often sit on the ground while my husband throws the ball for the dogs, and my little cat rests next to me. Being outside with my family provides some sense of normality, plus vitamin D is so good for my soul and happiness. I would be hiding in a sad hole if not for them.
My pets have even saved my life. My dogs have woken me up when I have stopped breathing during the night and have licked away my tears when overwhelmed by stress. I often choke on my food while in a separate room from my husband, and my dogs run and jump on him to alert him. Once, my cat laid on my chest for some time until I eventually went to the doctor and discovered that I had a life-threatening lung infection and 20 percent lung capacity.
I hope to one day take my dogs through therapy pet training so that they can come with me for my monthly hospital admissions. People may doubt the capability of animals to detect physical and mental health problems, but I have experienced firsthand their caring natures and they have saved my life.
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