For Love of Pets
I can’t remember a time in my life where I have not had a pet. I have had everything from cats, dogs, mice and turtles. I can’t even imagine not having a furry family member welcome me at the door and snuggle with me when I need a rest. My pets as you can tell are so much more than pets, they are part of the family. Even though my husband is not a cat lover, I catch him napping with Lucy and Finn. He talks to them, scolds them when they make a mess and giggles along with me about their silly antics.
Falling in Love with a Stray
Finn is our younger male cat, which came to our back porch as a stray. I gave him water, and would not let him in the house at first. He would call me from outside our bedroom window and just would not go away. I did everything I could, but take him to the Humane Society. I just could not do it. He is the sweetest cat, and everyone, including Lucy, our older girl, loves him.
In 2016, I felt some unrest in my heart, I asked myself if was I doing things I truly loved? I observed myself when I was at my happiest. And many of those times, were when I was in the presence of animals.
So one of the projects I did, was design a Pet Lover’s Gratitude Journal. I sent out a message to my friends and community and gathered photos of dogs, cats, horses and a guinea pig named Beatrice.
The second thing I did, was respond to a friend’s request for dog walkers. Ciara has started a company called LovePup and it appealed to me. My first clients were Connor and Molly. I was taken back by the size of these two beautiful dogs, but I am enjoying walking them and they seem to be pretty happy too. Being outside and walking dogs, seems like a simple thing, but it keeps me mindful, and right now in my life, simple is good.
Having a pet not only makes you happier, but it can help people adopt healthy lifestyles by getting them outside and thinking about something other than themselves. Studies show that interacting with a pet helps to reduce levels of harmful neurochemicals in the body and raise the good ones. Kind of like Prozac.
The bond we have with our pets leads to stress release and even a short visit with pets can support health improvements, mentally and physically. That is why Therapy Dogs are so great, either having a full-time therapy dog or having a dog visit you can be so beneficial for your health and wellness. My friend Charmaine Hammond found this out with her dog Toby. They visited people who struggled with mental illness and saw people who hardly spoke, open up and not only talk but smile.
In fact, one study showed that when people are presented with stressful situations in four different situations - alone, with their spouse, with their pet, or with both their spouse and their pet - they experienced the lowest stress response and quickest recovery in the this situation where they were only with their pet.
Even if you can’t have a pet, for whatever reason, you can always go to the Humane Society and volunteer, go to the dog park and hang out. Or call a friend that has a pet and visit. Sometimes when I have had enough of politics and negativity, I just watch cat and dog videos on Youtube. One of my favorite Instagram accounts is Cats of Instragram. I know it is silly, but I laugh, which relaxes my body and I feel better. It does not have to be all or nothing. Enjoy the unconditional love and joy of these beautiful creatures. If not now, when?
Dianna Bowes is the creative director of Fabulous@50 and editor of Be Fabulous! Dianna is also the author of The Fabulous@50 Re-Experience - Refresh your mind, body and spirit. Dianna Bowes is the creative director of Fabulous@50 and editor of Be Fabulous! Dianna is also the author of The Fabulous@50 Re-Experience - Refresh your mind, body and spirit.