It’s so right that we need is a warm hug and a pet as a companion to soothe our delicate emotional disorder. This is my favorite clip of Peanuts.
When I was hospitalized due to major depressive disorder, the good doctor at Lions Gate Hospital brought pets to work, massive greyhound dogs. Four of them. They were therapy dogs.
I am not a pet person. Never been. Needless to say, I stayed away from the dogs.
For a person with a mental illness, I supposed it shows on my face and behavior even when I don’t talk about it. A sensitive person however, may emphatically pick up on it. A wise manager who lives next door to me in the complex mentioned that it would be good for me to have a cat. So I did.
Enter Maurice and Lucy.
Little did I know, these cats would have a life-saving impact on my life for 20 years. They were kittens when I adopted them. My life changed in a way that my thoughts became focused on them instead of being consumed by automatic thoughts. The cats know when I am feeling down. Instinctively, they come closer to me wanting cuddles when I lie down. There are times that it can be a bit too much when they want attention. I don’t mind it all, it’s a distraction from staying in my head. Who knows, maybe they have given me one of their nine lives or their calm nature made me feel relaxed
Not knowing the benefit of having pets, I paid more attention to the science of how animals alleviate the pain and sufferings of mood disorders. Talking to people on the walking their dogs on the street made me realized I became a social being while the owners are socializing their dogs.
The show The Big Bang Theory made me laugh when I heard what Raj had planned for one episode: “First I’m going to go to one of those spas in Koreatown, take a steam and get a massage. Then I’m going to stop at a pet store and get licked by puppies.”
Sounds silly yet it’s essential to my health– to have a ‘me’ day just like Raj did. I go to the pet store and look all those colorful living animals, from fishes to reptiles, bunnies to rodents.
So, what is your story?
“Bottom Line – The greatest tool you have is to listen. Do this first.”