Not long a go a friend told me their dog was a therapy dog. Their son has Asperger’s Syndrome and he did rely heavily upon their dog. When he died the child was devastated. We all are when we lose a pet but this was different. I truly saw behaviors that didn’t exist before and so soon after their family got another dog. What I found interesting is that neither of these two dogs were specially trained or special breeds. Both came from the Humane Society and were adopted into the family.
Two years ago next month my lovely Thomas passed away. He was a Basset/Beagle Mix and looked a little funny but meant the world to me. Where ever I went around the house or yard he went with me. Our family decided not to get another dog because first off I didn’t want to “replace” him and 2nd we knew we had some travels coming up. We already had cats. 2 Feral that lived in our barn and 2 indoor cats.
Two months later we came home from vacation and found 2 brand new kittens screaming in the barn. They couldn’t have been more than a day old. We left them alone but watched carefully knowing full well that the two male feral cats in are barn were of course one male and one female. Towards evening when mama didn’t return for her two kittens we scooped them up and started them on kitten formula. More about that story HERE!
Caring for those kittens didn’t make me forget Thomas but they certainly redirected my grief and attention. As they thrived they filled my heart with love and joy. They took away so much of my pain and filled me with love.
Eventually, we ended up with the feral mama kitty in the house and adjusting very well to being an indoor cat. 2 of her kittens (one of the ones we found and one of the ones we found 4 weeks later). We already had a our black cat Poppy. Poppy, she was a special kitty. She was in love with my oldest son and he with her. She lived in his room, sat in his lap when he was at the computer and dried his tears from the pains of growing up. She was his everything. And then she too died. It had only been 6 months since our dog had passed and the grief my son went through was unlike anything I could have expected. Our family had loved Poppy’s gentle soul but she was my son’s best friend. While he loved the cat and kittens roaming the house it wasn’t the same.
In the year that has passed since Poppy died my son has grown up a lot. 2 weeks ago he called my husband and I while we were in town and asked if he would get a cat. I right away said NO. We have 3 cats and don’t need another. However, my husband surprised me, floored me really, by not backing me up on this. He told him yes. He told me he needs the cat. Wow, after thinking about this and pondering on it he was right.
So Ian picked a cat from a local shelter. He filled out the paperwork for adoption. One of the questions was why do you want to adopt a pet. He replied “My best friend died a year ago and my heart has been empty. I miss her terribly, but I’m ready now to love another best friend.” Wow, I cried. My son, that I still sometimes see as a boy (even though he’s 19), had grown into a man.
Only after he brought Jasper home did I learn that he had visited 3 different shelters to pick the right cat not only for himself but for our family. He took into account that the cat he chose would have to get along with our 3 ruffians, and the rest of the family. He most certainly did not want a kitten, because everyone adopts kittens, so he settled on a young male cat who I can only say is super high energy, full of love and a doll. More about him later……
Since bringing Jasper home Ian has been more like his old self. He’s having fun playing with him, loving on him and Jasper has adopted Ian too.
One of the kittens I raised thinks I’m her mom. Izzy, does everything a dog can do. She comes when she’s called, she plays fetch (for hours!), and when I can’t sleep at night she curls up near my head and purrs. Her purring puts me to sleep.
The enjoyment we get from our 4 cats is something that I can’t really describe, but they are therapy to my family. Each in it’s own way and each has something different to give. They have filled holes in our hearts, given us cheap entertainment with their antics, and most of all are giving us more love than we could ever imagine. All pets are and can be therapy pets. You just need to open your heart and give them the love they want to give you.
I would also like to note that if you’re looking for a new pet the Humane Society is such a wonderful place to start. So many pets are given up for so many different reasons. These animals are not rejects, they aren’t there because someone tired of them, they each have their own amazing story and are looking for love.