I have learned that things come in threes. Perhaps it is the old rule of three – that which you put into the world comes back to you in three fold – or perhaps Murphy and his laws. But whatever the cause, I find whenever a challenge comes my way, it is always in threes. And this last week that has been the case.
I have been dealing with the muscle spasm from hades in my right trapezoid. If your shoulder is supposed to make a 90 degree angle with your neck, mine has gone another 45 degrees and has been like someone is constantly pulling down on my right arm. Its had me on some pretty strong pain killers and muscle relaxers. I have had some logistical challenges in my personal life that somewhat derailed me. And this weekend, I got my number 3.
This last week my body had been fighting some kind of infection and my body seemed to be winning. As it turns out, the virus won. Flu…all…weekend…long. And it came with all of its wonderful (NOT) symptoms. On a positive note, I’m sure I have lost a few pounds as a result.
But these challenges have been made easier by the healing effects of my four legged family members. Specifically my two yorkies and fluffy Persian. This weekend, my little Chanel (photo left of my 5 pound wonder) took the daytime shift as she curled up next to me in bed, even in my not so fine moments, and kept me company. She would give me kisses every now and then. And as if on cue, when I was feeling really crappy (I really would love to insert another word here but I’ll keep it clean), she would do something silly. Chase her tail. Bark for no reason and trill at me with her tail wagging. And it made me laugh.
Prada, my fluffy princess, took the night shift. Whenever I came back to bed, she was there to plop down beside me (and I do mean plop – for a graceful cat, she lacks all grace when settling in), nuzzle her head in the crook of my arm and start to purr. That simple act of love would help me relax and fall asleep with as much ease as my flu allowed.
On trips downstairs – mainly to shift from sleeping in the bed to sleeping on the couch – Dolce, my living teddy bear (and yes he is a Yorkie but no one told him he was supposed to stay small), would curl up with me, smile on his face, tail wagging and lavish me with his kisses. His kisses are magical. And frankly, he just makes me smile. He is one of the smartest and silliest dogs I have ever had. He looks like an Ewok and is as cuddly as a teddy bear.
And this was not the first time they have given me their healing magic in my times of need. Throughout my life my pets have had a sixth sense of empathy. They always, and as do my current pets, knew when I needed some extra attention. I had one little kitty who would just sit and listen as I talked to him and poured out emotions only a young girl could. He would sit and stare and would even nod as if he was truly understanding what I was saying. Reality, I’m sure, was he knew I was upset and he cared. I had a wonderful dog name Blacky, who sensed a fellow lonely sole, and would walk with me everywhere when I was outside. We had many a walk together and many an adventure. And I know I am not alone.
My great aunt had a dog that would mimic her pain as if trying to take it from her. He even limped on the same foot as she did. And that act of love did give her comfort. My grandmother, after losing my grandfather, adopted a little terrier mix from the pound she named Baby. The joy and light she brought my grandmother was priceless and achieved by no one else. I heard of a pitbull, when brought to a sanitarium, was latched on to by one of the patients who refused to let go. The pitbull just lavished this patient with love and kisses.
There are amazing stories of how pets have brought out kids with autism, how they have helped vets reconnect after PTSD, horses who amazingly allow for some healing in MS patients, and so much more.
Animal therapy is used in so many different ways for healing. The purr of a cat has been shown to lower blood pressure and help anxiety and pets have been linked to higher survival rates in people with coronary heart disease. Loving and caring for a pet has helped people with depression and other mood disorders. They have been used to help people cope with cancer, Alzheimer and other devastating health issues. I’m sure we are all aware of service animals.
Not only your seeing eye dogs, but service animals help with stranger interaction with the mentally impaired, detect epileptic seizures, conduct common tasks, and that is just the tip of the list. It is not uncommon to find pets of all varieties – dog, cat, bird, reptile, horses, and more – being used in hospitals, schools, jails, mental institutions and as therapy. Frankly, pets, and animals in general, are just amazing.
The relationships we form with our four legged family members, our beloved pets, is more than one of master and owner. It really is a symbiotic one. And for me, this weekend, that was especially true. In fact, you could say that my three fur babies served as nurse, doctor and therapist! At least their bill is in kisses, cuddles and kibble. See you next post. And, until then, give your furry baby an extra cuddle. They deserve it!
If you have a similar story of healing with your pet, I’d love to hear! Drop a line in the comment box below.