What are the health benefits of sharing your life with a dog?
I live alone and don’t have any family, but I have always had animals, usually dogs and cats.
They take up my life and give my life meaning. I feel I am valued by them and I am trusted.
This is a calming thing for a human to feel. The more I give out to my animals the more I gain in return.
I now have a small black cat. I found her in a cat shelter when she was nine months old. She had been pregnant and lost. I safely assumed it was her first heat and had wandered far from home.
By the time we met, she still had stitches in her tummy where they had removed the kittens and spayed her.
I had a miniature poodle at the time and before many days were out she and my poodle were firm friends.
Silkie (I named her when she responded to the name) slowly began to relax, but she knew little about how to respond to me. She would let me pick her up, but she always turned her head away and there was not sense of feeling from her.
I was upset (naturally) but decided we would just keep going and see how we could change things. I assumed she had not had any petting as a kitten and so knew nothing about how to respond.
A couple of years later my poodle had to be put to sleep. She had developed tummy cancer. I remember the last morning where she was sitting on her blanket and Silkie was sitting nearby. I swear Gem the poodle was passing on all the things Silkie would have to do to take over from her.
Things changed after Gem was gone. Silkie stayed closer to me and although it didn’t seem to be very personal I felt a sense of unity with her.
It’s been a long and slow growing of our relationship. I talk to her a lot and now she responds to me and chats away endlessly during the day, making comments on everything.
She knows English pretty well and understands the words I use like ‘front door’ or ‘back door’ ‘brush’ and dozens of others like ‘bed time’.
Nowadays she’s rarely away from me and appears almost magically if I call her.
Just recently she’s done something I never expected her to do. For all seven years we have been together she would never let me pat her tummy. I understood it was a matter of not allowing anyone to ever touch her there again, so didn’t even try.
Suddenly, when I called her for bed I would bend down to speak to her before picking her up and she would lie on the floor and stretch out her tummy for rubbing.
At first when I tried she would gently bite and hold me with her claws, so I would say ‘Gently Silk’, over the next couple of weeks she stopped guarding and now stretches out and enjoys a good gentle rub.
I feel I have achieved something with this little cat that was not ever likely to happen. She is now affectionate, loving and very trusting.
I feel complimented and loved. When you feel loved you feel secure and safe and that adds to your well being. When it comes to animal’s love there is not fear of it turning on you (unless you are suddenly very cruel). You are not going to be hurt or ignored or any of those things families can do to you.
The love grows and is safe, so you are safe and well, even with health issues.