Have you been blessed by the love of a pet? Has your bond strengthened over the years? Perhaps you cherish the memories of a dependable, four-legged companion that has passed on.
Growing up in California, my family enjoyed the company of dogs: Chihuahuas, Doberman pinchers, German shepherds, mutts and runts. However, since moving to Illinois years ago, I have not kept a pet. Two of the main reasons are weather and space. How do you keep a pet active in snow and ice and freezing temperatures? And because I don’t have the luxury of a large yard, there’s little room to romp. I realize pet lovers manage to engage their furry friends by devising seasonal plans, but I still wonder how that will work for me. Honestly, I miss my beloved pets and periodically get the canine blues. Every time I see someone with a cute, cuddly bundle, I promise myself that this will be the year.
Of all the precious, poochie pals I enjoyed over the years, I cherish the special memories of Jon Jon, the Dobie we rescued from an abusive farm environment at the age of seven. Sadly, as a result of the trauma, he developed a nervous, menacing twitch around his mouth where he displayed all 42 pearly whites. To someone who didn’t understand his background, that nervous twitch was frightening. Remarkably, through our care and nurturing, the sting from the suffering softened, and the twitch disappeared within the first few months in his new, loving environment.
And do you recall the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Well, we earned a trophy to prove otherwise. Slow but true, Jon Jon won first place in obedience school and easily captured the hearts of the judges and other contestants. Also, he was a great guard dog. But what I found most endearing was his gentle and generous side — sharing his meals with his feline friends that he welcomed into our yard. And get this: On many occasions, I’d find them snuggled up together. Certainly, uncharacteristic of the “ferocious” reputation Doberman pinchers have earned.
Further, we shared many unleashed weekend hikes and heartfelt conversations. Through his doggy language—barks, whimpers and grunts— Jon Jon proved to be a good listener and devoted confidant. For ten years, I pampered my loving and loyal friend until eventually I had to put him down, due to a debilitating illness.
Pets teach us so much about compassion, patience, understanding and responsibility. And they captivate our hearts as they entertain us with their unique personalities. For many people, pets bring joy and comfort.
Research shows that pets are good for our health. They can lower stress, decrease blood pressure, boost moods, help us move more, stimulate social interaction with other pet owners, and more. Pets definitely have admirable attributes. And not only can they be a wonderful addition to families, they can also offer great companionship for older adults. However, is pet ownership right for you and your lifestyle? What type of pet fits comfortably into your budget? Would you have room in your residence for a cat or a bird? Do you have time to train, feed, and walk your dog? Weigh the advantages and determine if the scale tilts in their favor.
Tabby and Fido are not the only potential pets. Some may enjoy rabbits, hamsters and turtles. And just because you may not have space in your home, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits that spending time with animals offers. Consider volunteering at an animal shelter or zoo. Or start a pet grooming business.
Four Steps to Nourish, Transform and Flourish
• Set a loving intention to explore pet ownership this week.
• Begin by weighing the pros and cons, especially how a furry companion will make you feel.
• Consider how a dog, cat or another pet may improve the quality of your life.
• Close your eyes and visualize how this lifestyle change can prepare you for your amazing second half.
Need help deciding if this is the right time for a pet?
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In love, peace and health--
Your feminine glow guide,
T. Kari Mitchell, M.Ed.
Certified Holistic Health Coach
When your spirit is nourished, your inner light produces an outer glow reflecting your beauty and truth.