Turning to your pets for healing

The events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 on the United States' East Coast affected people worldwide. We all have different ways of dealing with the fear and anger that this arouses. My way is not recommended by most professionals: I sat home alone and watched the news reports television for hours on end. Since I work from home, I had little need to leave the house and interact with other people, and therefore isolated myself in grief. My husband works during the day, and so I spent hours alone with my thoughts.

Like many people, I questioned my safety, and wondered what our nation, and the world, should do now. I mourned the fragility of life, and wondered who, or what, could now be trusted. So much will change, and has changed, because of this tragedy.

However, I was quickly reminded just whom I could trust, and of things that had not suddenly changed: my pets don't care about what happened on Tuesday, and demanded that they be fed and played with on their regular schedule.

I'm reminded again of how much we depend on these animals who share our homes. No matter what else changes in life, they remain constant. They want attention and food, and remind us with meows and pointed looks that life must go on, and their needs be met.

Pets have no political or geographical agendas. My dogs simply want another snuggle, another toss of the ball, maybe even a treat if they can get it. My iguana wants a scratch on the head and his dinner served at the same time every day. My guinea pigs want a piece of the orange I'm eating. My cats want to sit on my lap. My frog wants some of the baby crickets that hatched in the tarantula's tank, and my tarantula wants peace to build a new home in the clean tank I moved her to.

Our pets don't understand why we are sad. They love us, and they want us to fuss over them as usual. They want to hear our voices, to solicit belly rubs, and for us to follow our usual routine. At a time when we feel violated, they can be trusted. They provide comfort, unconditional love, and won't let us forget that life goes on.

We can all be healed by our pets. I trust that yours have provided you the comfort that mine have provided me. In sad times like this, which remind us of the value of human life, let's all remember our non-human companions, and be thankful for them.

Copyright 2001, Steph Bairey -- All Rights Reserved

Steph Bairey is a web developer and pet owner, with 25 years of pet care experience and 30-40 pets at any one time. Get immediate, reliable answers to your pet care questions at Steph's website, Practical Pet Care, located at http://www.practical-pet-care.com.

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