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The Healing Power of Animals

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Like most children, when I was young all I wanted was a puppy or a kitten. A small, cuddly, fluffy little soul that was all mine to love and adore as much as I wanted. With already two dogs in my family, and my mom’s allergies to cats, my pleading for a kitten didn’t seem like much of a possibility.

When my cardiologist said a third open-heart was in my near future, I continued to plead with both my parents for a new addition to our family. Knowing the trauma I was about to go through, my mom decided it was perhaps a good idea: a therapeutic release amongst a long and very painful recovery process.

The surgery came and went and when we eventually got back home from a week-long stay in the hospital, it was time to bring home a new arrival. We drove to our local pet store and found the two most adorable kittens you could ever imagine (we had to get two as my sister would have been very upset not to have a kitten of her own). We got to the store, Chelsea chose her kitten and I chose mine.

From that day on, Lucy and I have had a very special connection. She is a tabby cat with Maincoon in her somewhere; feisty and fierce but with a soft spot for me. I’m the only person allowed to hold her and it’s me who she looks for when she wants a cuddle. She has an instinct when it comes to my wellbeing. Whenever I’m sick, or upset or just generally not myself, she will come and make sure she’s as close to me as possible. It is as if she’s wanting to look after me.

After my last my fourth open-heart surgery, when I eventually came home from the hospital, her first instinct was to lie on my chest. After much persuasion, she eventually settled right next to me and spent the whole night sleeping in my arms.

I do believe an animal of any sort can provide the most wonderful support to anyone going through or recovering from a trauma. I am very grateful for my little Lucy and the amazing connection we have.

Originally published: June 3, 2018
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