Many people grumble and complain about the state of the world. And I have to admit, if I allow myself to focus on the negatives, I am right there with them. There’s plenty to make me grumble. The news, the weather, the economy, the traffic, my latest aches and pains.
But I’ve learned to focus on what brings me joy, and ignore the rest of the noise. At least most of the time. So, what brings me joy?
I wake in the morning and stretch my legs, but the weight of a dog on top of the quilt interrupts my stretch. I roll over and a cat begins to purr. When I get out of bed, three animals weave in and out between my feet as I lead them, or they lead me, to the food and water bowls.
When I open the door after a shower or bathroom visit, one cat is waiting for me, reminding me how much I am loved. While I eat, the dog watches my every move, staring with adoration. When I return home from work, they compete for my attention, arguing over who loves me the most.
Over the course of my life, I’ve had many animals, mostly cats, dogs, and a few horses. And I have loved them all. Not one animal has ever betrayed me, gossiped about me, or hurt my feelings. I’m sure I will always want to share my life and home with a pet. I can’t imagine life without one. Or two or three.
There are many proven benefits to sharing your life with animals. Animals make life more full and meaningful. They can reduce loneliness and stress, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and help keep you physically fit. And that is just a regular pet. Service animals are in a category of their own.
My pets are a part of the family. They shower me with unconditional love and admiration, even on my worst days. They don’t care if I have a bad day, or am too lazy to shower or get dressed. If I’m sick, all three will curl up near me, offering their companionship and encouragement.
They are content to be where I am. If I’m watching television, it’s not uncommon to have a dog on the back of the couch behind my head, a cat on the seat beside me, and another cat on the floor beside my feet. If I’m outside, they follow me around the yard, or lay somewhere nearby keeping an eye on me.
In addition to the joy they bring to my daily life, there is the realization that I have changed each of their lives for the better. They are all three rescues, so it’s possible that I literally saved their lives. It is a bittersweet feeling, knowing that while I can’t save all the stray animals, for these three, I can make sure they are never lonely, hungry, or in need.
If you don’t know the joy of sharing your life with a pet, I hope you’ll consider it. They truly offer unconditional love and bring you joy beyond measure.