Friday, April 1, 2016

Four Legs - Part II

Thanks for hanging in there while I wax poetic about cats. Completely understand if you didn't run right out and adopt a cat yesterday... that's what today's post is for.

I hope this is not the first time you are hearing that pet ownership is good for your health. There's tons of research out there that supports the fact that cats and dogs make your heart happy in many ways. I'm just documenting here what I've personally found to be helpful since cat ownership was forced upon me.
  1. 24/7 emotional support: Something about a warm, purring kitty on my lap makes everything seem right in the world. It's comforting to know something loves me whether I can run a sub 2:00 half marathon or not.
  2. Stress reduction: When they aren't waking up my house guests or scratching up the furniture, they can actually be pretty fun. Breaking out the laser pointer or a game of "Cat Fishing" on the iPad can be entertaining for them AND for me.
  3. Better self-esteem: I'm proud of the work we did to solve our feral cat problem. I also feel really good about adopting unwanted pets. I just feel needed, ya know?
Of course, all of the above also applies to my dog, Joey, a 9-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel we adopted three years ago. 

And - as a self-proclaimed dog person - he kinda helps me even more than the cats do.
For one thing, he makes sure I get some extra movement daily, a must for someone with a desk job. We take ten-minute walks together four times each day. (Note I said walks... Joey was made for warming up my lap, not running laps. You might want to check out this article if you're looking for a running companion). He's also good for my social life. I've gotten to know my neighbors really quickly because they always love coming over to say hello to him.

I have an appointment in May to screen him for participation in a program called Project Pup - if he passes, I'll be able to bring him into nursing homes, children's hospitals, etc. for therapeutic puppy visits with patients. 

Cats and dogs have really added something to my life, so I'd strongly encourage you to go out and adopt.

But if you can't, there are other ways to help your local animal shelter. When my husband and I started the Dale Road Cat Project, we were flying solo - but as word got out, we got some help, even from those who couldn't adopt a kitten. People donated to the cause - money towards our spay/neuter costs, food, towels (kittens are incredibly messy), cages... there were even a few who gave their time to come sit and play with the kittens, which was incredibly important in getting them used to people (a friendly kitten gets adopted more quickly than a timid one).

So if you have even a little bit to give, consider swinging by your local shelter.

Ok, I'll step off my litter box... I mean soap box... now.

Today's exercise: Rest

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