This I Believe

Bill - Carrollton, Texas
Entered on March 24, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe in children and pets. There’s a link between pets and children. It’s not that some people treat their pets like children or that some children act like animals. It’s more cosmic than that.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo have found that owning a pet can reduce your blood pressure by half. When I got a check up soon after getting our puppy, Wiggles, my doctor commented my blood pressure was lower than usual. Thanks, Wiggles.

I don’t think there are any studies showing that having children will lower your blood pressure. There are cynics who will probably claim the opposite. But, when my children were growing up I thought they were cute, fun to play with, and smart – just like Wiggles.

I have not always been able to enjoy children and pets. My divorce after nearly 20 years of marriage got in the way. The months leading up to it were not healthy, either. I went into the hospital with chest pains. At it turns out, it wasn’t my heart acting up, but my stomach. The stress was building up acid. I was also in debt, working two jobs, and felt isolated from my kids and my dog.

None-the-less, things changed for the better. I met and married a wonderful woman who had an exceptionally friendly cat. Somehow I was able to pay off my debt and help put my kids through school.

My children have grown. We don’t play anymore, but I do enjoy their company. We talk about movies, books, and relationships. My kids say clever things and we laugh a lot. Sometimes they call me just to talk or come by just to visit. Having felt isolated from them after the divorce, their unsolicited attention is now a tremendous gift. I think if the researchers at the State University of New York studied that, they would find it’s very therapeutic.

Wiggles gives me unsolicited attention as well. She lives to play. She never tires of tug of war or fetch. The world has wars and poverty, work has stress, but at home there’s tug of war and there’s fetch.

It sounds flaky, but I believe there’s a lot of negative psychic energy floating around this world, and it’s not healthy. It bombards us like cosmic rays. Interacting with children and pets, though, somehow deflects this energy. I guess I sound like those people who swear chihuahuas protect them from allergies.

You can have your pills and vitamins. Just give me a time with my kids or a game of fetch with Wiggles. I believe that being with pets and children can heal your body and soul.