It’s no secret that we believe that the bond between people and their pets has the ability to change lives, or even save them. What makes Pet Appreciation Week so special for us is that it’s a chance to really showcase how that bond manifests, because honestly, we see it every day, and we love to share examples of the many ways that pets have bolstered the lives of those who love them.
For example, when our friend Barbara lost her mother, father, husband, and sister in a two-year period, her dogs Booter and Mimi were her rock. She says it herself: “If it weren’t for them, I don’t think I’d have made it through.” Even through medical issues and financial struggles, her two sweeties always stayed with her, always took care of her, always made sure she knew she was loved. You can read more of her story here.
That love goes the other way, though. When Dameon brought Blu into us for vaccinations, and we discovered that she was heartworm positive, he didn’t know what to do. She’d been with him through kidney issues, and he wanted to do anything he could to make her better. Unfortunately he was like a lot of people in our community and didn’t know what heartworms were, or what symptoms to look for. That meant that Blu’s chances of surviving treatment were decreased. It was a tense situation, and a long road to recovery, but Blu is now heartworm free. Read about her here, or check out the video we made telling their story.
Pets can bring us back, too. Back to the world, back to life. Our friend Robin suffered a stroke, and was undergoing a long, slow recovery, all alone in his house. The last thing he needed was a rambunctious dog. Yet when Beast showed up in his yard, scrounging for food, Robin took him in, and now he credits Beast with his recovery. “He saved me,” he says.
But it’s not just physical rehabilitation that pets can help with. Take me, for example: a guy with problems with depression and anxiety, not to mention some emotional issues that kept me from having a lot of the personal connections that enrich our lives and bring us some measure of happiness. A few bewhiskered friends later, and lo and behold, I’ve grown a lot as a person, in great part because of what I’ve learned from cats. That’s why I say I was saved by cats.
These are extreme examples, to be sure, but important. And not uncommon. We hear stories about what pets do for us all the time; how they lift us up, how they support us, how they comfort us. It’s one of the reasons why we do what we do, and it’s also why we love holding off-site clinics in neighborhoods in several cities in the area. Going into a community and seeing that bond between pets and people on display is incredibly heartwarming. Families, elderly folks, young couples; we see all kinds of people at these events, and they’ve all got one thing in common: they love their pets. Take a look for yourself.
So Pet Appreciation Week isn’t just about pets being cute, or kind, or nice. It’s about how they enrich us, how they care for us, and how they give us someone to care for and love.