From the time that I was a child, I have always had a pet in my home. As a child, we always had dogs, specifically beagles, and they meant the world to me. For many years after that, I had one or two cats that always made me laugh with their ridiculous antics. And after that, it has been birds. First, I had a canary and then added a finch and then the canary joined the cockatiel that Kirk has had for the last 22.5 years. And yes, you can play with and enjoy birds if you take the time to learn how to handle them and give them love.
I don't know what life is like without a pet. Each one that has been a part of my life along the way was as unique and different as each person that I have known. And I can't help but wonder what it would be like if I didn't have the added joy of them in my life.
I think that having a pet is such a help when it comes to healing both mentally and physically as we go through life. A pet gives us unconditional love and a sense of purpose when there seems to be no other reason to get up in the morning. Knowing that someone needs us gives us a reason to keep going. And when no one else is around and you need someone to talk to, that pet seems to know and is there to listen.
I guess that is why I am such a big proponent of pets being in every household. I can't imagine going through a journey like cancer or any major illness where a patient doesn't have a focus outside of himself or herself. Even if a person is really ill, there will always be a drive to either take care of that pet alone or to make sure that someone else is looking after it.
I think that the recognition of the benefit of animals is also seen in the therapy dogs that are brought into hospitals to interact with the patients. I know what a difference it made for me before my last surgery when one was brought to my bedside. The energy in the room changed completely and I know that I not only felt a sense of peace that I had not known before any of the other previous surgeries but also it made a difference for every other person in the room at that time. We also see now where there are cats and dogs being adopted into nursing homes where they have been such a great therapy for those living there.
I have also spoken to people who have rescued an animal and have ultimately felt like they are the ones who have been rescued. The love and sharing and interaction between the person and their pet is indescribable. They have a mutual dependency upon each other and there is nothing more rewarding to anyone than knowing that you are needed and loved. So I would like to suggest that if you know of someone who is in need of companionship or some unconditional love that you might want to help them adopt a pet. That pet will add meaning to a person's life unlike anything that another person could ever do.