Today I experienced the greatest loss I have ever felt in my life.
Without a certain four-legged friend who I’ve had for nine years I don’t know how I’d get through this right now.
Ripley, my mixed breed dog who will turn ten at the end of the summer, has sat with me, felt my tears, and let me rub his ears all the while looking up at me periodically as if to reassure me.
Even when I felt he was ignoring me he came around, curving his tan body up against my legs as I lay there feeling the heave-ho of his breathing, slow and calm.
As if further reassurance in certain moments he would lick my hands or fingers.
It’s not the first time Ripley has come through for me or my cat either for that matter.
I’ve been hearing about the healing power of pets for years through articles and t.v. shows as well as first-person accounts.
Jennifer Solomon who runs a service called Pets Helping People incorporates this sort of healing into her counseling business.
“I travel to all my clients who are all located in residences,” she said. “One of my cases involves a man with Alzheimer’s Disease.”
In the past 15 years scientists the world over have established beyond doubt the therapeutic power of animal companions.
For some people animals can provide more consistent emotional support than humans.
Whether we pamper or depend on our pets few would argue with the World Health Organization’s Pronouncement that companion creatures bring us immense benefits.
Dogs and cats help everyone overcome the pain of loneliness by supplying companionship and affection according to stories.
“When my best friend died last year I took care of her cats for awhile and it was a big comfort,” said Allison. “They followed me everywhere and I became bonded to them.”
“Animals forgive and forget so quickly,” said Dr. Glenn Key. “The healing power of love is not limited to human love.”
“He is a comfort,” said Joe of the part-Siamese cat he took care of who belonged to a girlfriend temporarily and who lives alone.
Everyone, including animals have some wounds that need healing.