I believe that animals are healers. Even when there’s nobody else to turn to, a loyal pet is always willing to provide comfort.
When my brother died suddenly, I felt very alone. I didn’t think another person on earth could understand what I was feeling. One day, I went outside to feed my Samoyed, Samson. Instead of running to his food bowl or jumping to play, he sprawled on the ground as if wanting a good scratch. I leaned down to rub his belly and he knocked my leg with his front paw as if to say, “Sorry about your brother.” I wasn’t getting much sleep then. I lost my balance and ended up on the ground next to him. He put his front paw on my knee, like a friend would to console another, and the tears finally came. It was as if he understood that I was grieving and he wanted to comfort me. As I ran my fingers through his fluffy white fur, I felt more relaxed. I lay on the ground for about an hour, petting my dog and staring at the sky. I began to accept the loss of my loved one and felt peace for the first time in days.
My children missed their uncle as well and we’d talked about getting birds to cheer them up with singing through the dark days of winter. A month later, I was purchasing dog food at the pet store when I saw a cage with two Parakeets on the front counter. There was a sign attached stating: “Free to good home.” I tried to contain my excitement as I asked the manager if I could have them. I purchased bird food and treats along with my dog food, and brought our new pets home. We named the yellow one Sunshine and the blue one Bluebelle-not very imaginative but fitting for our cheerful friends. Now, we never have to wait for spring to listen to the joyful sounds of birds.
Finally feeling that our family was complete, we suffered another loss. Our loyal dog Samson was stolen. We did what we could to find him, but failed in the end. We missed him too much to try replacing him at first, but eventually started looking for another dog. We found TWO…at the dog pound. We now get to cuddle and love a Maltese named Maggie and a Schipperke named Dakota. Every day they are faithful friends…happy to greet us at the door, napping at our feet, and nudging our hands to get their ears scratched. They offer us a very important example of unconditional love. And we feel happier by having them in our lives.
No matter what kind of day I’m having, the love from these animals warms my heart. I’ve realized that having pets has supported the emotional health of my family. Hugging our dogs and listening to our birds, helps each of us to feel good because animals are healers. This I believe.