It’s a cold, rainy day. The kind that makes you want to stay in bed with a good book or a movie and a nice warm blanket and cup of hot chocolate, and of course a furry companion. Annie is curled up next to me on the couch. Somehow she knows. She knows I don’t have the strength or the energy to get dressed to go walk in the rain. And that even if I did it would hurt too much. I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. When anyone else is home she goes crazy and begs to be taken out no matter what the weather is because her energy is absolutely boundless. But when it’s just me and her, she knows. She knows my good days from my bad days. Sometimes she even knows them better than me. Knows when to push me when I think I can’t possibly handle a big, long walk but I do it because she seems to not be able to handle staying in. And usually I find that she was right and I feel better.
It’s amazing how much she can tell about what’s going on with my body. Amazing how willing she is at just three years to lie by my side all day long on my bad days without whining or making trouble. She’s so much more than just a dog. She listens to all my drafts before I publish anything or send off any important e-mail or letter. She’s my sounding board whenever I need to work out some problem…whether it’s a real problem or some stupid nonsense I’m wasting time over – she humors me just the same, looking up from under those expressive eye brows, often with paws crossed. She sighs a lot. That’s when I know I’ve been talking too long and it’s time to play for a while or at least indulge her with some serious belly rubbin’.
Piper and Chloe (the cats) are the rest of my furry companion squad. Piper is the comedienne of the bunch, and by far the biggest conversationalist. We have extensive conversations. I have no idea what she’s saying most of the time, but she clearly understands everything I say because she responds to everything right away. She stayed with my mom for a few months once when I was in the midst of a complicated move. Once I was settled I picked them up and I called my mom a few weeks later to see if she was missing them. She said “Well, no. Not exactly. Although it sure is quiet around here. I don’t have anyone to talk to anymore with Piper gone!”
Chloe is my special cuddle bug. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, she is ALWAYS there to cuddle. If I need to cry and cuddle she’s there. If I need to talk and cuddle, she’s there. If I need to sleep and cuddle, she’s there. If I need to write and get some work done, well, she’s still there! But I’ve learned to type with Chloe draped across my arms. And she has the best purr to fall asleep to; it’s hypnotizing.
There’s a lot of research about the positive effects of therapy dogs and other types of therapy animals. I know my three angels haven’t had any formal training, but I also know this…they have done at least as much good as all the medication I have ever been prescribed, if not more. They make me laugh; they lick my tears away and are the most faithful of all companions a girl…sick or healthy could ever ask for. I can only hope to be able to give back to them even a fraction of the joy and comfort they have given me.
- The cuddle chemical effect….no, really. (awinsomejourney.wordpress.com)
- Therapy Dogs: Sharing the Love by Alanna Parke Kvale (wepets.wordpress.com)