Having A Pet Changed My Life For The Better

Four women share how raising their pets made a huge difference in their lives.

As a child, I have always wanted a puppy. Watching shows like Punky Brewster, where the girl and her pet were the best of friends, made me yearn for a dog of my own. I wanted to feed him Puppy Chow and take him on long walks. I had visions of washing my pup and laughing hysterically as he splashed me with water. I daydreamed of my little pup cuddling with me on the couch as we watched TV, but it was my mom that burst that bubble.

My mom made it clear that the cute puppy that I so desired would become a big dog, that would become a huge responsibility. Not to mention that we lived in an apartment that was not pet-friendly. So alas, I had to settle for a Black Molly and a few other fish in my aquarium. While it was very relaxing to watch them swim around in the tank, it was nothing like having a puppy.

In honor of Love Your Pet Day, Black Ruby talked to a few women that shared how having a pet made a difference in their lives.

He saved me from stress.

It had been two months since I lost my job. It was an amazing job with the opportunity to advance, the pay was solid, but my level of stress and anxiety was through the roof. How was I going to support my family? Was it time for a change after 12 years in one field? Should I consider working from home? These questions loomed as I tirelessly applied for any and all jobs.

My spouse saw that I was stressed, depressed, and lonely. We had been talking about getting a puppy and were trying to decide on the best breed for us. My wife jumped on the chance and drove seven hours round-trip to pick up our sweet little Samson, a miniature Dachshund, on New Year’s Eve. We were told he was six weeks old, but his behavior signaled that he was much younger. He was our baby.

I carried him around all day. He slept around my neck at night, and he sat on my shoulder as I continued applying for jobs. He was so tiny, and he was constantly shivering. The pet stores didn’t sell a dog jacket small enough for him, so I broke out my sewing machine and made a jacket and bandana for him. Samson and I truly bonded, he needed someone to care for him, and I needed someone to care for me.

A month later, I took a position as a writer working from home. He’s now grown out of sleeping at my neck, and he’s too big to sit on my shoulder while I write, but we still get to spend all day together. Four months after we brought him home, we adopted a second miniature Dachshund and named her Xena. Watching them play brings so much joy to our home. It turns out losing that job and gaining two friends reduced my stress level and opened a new door into a new career.

Zaneta, Managing Editor for ExpertInsuranceReviews.com

He brought joy into my life.

I suffered from mental health difficulties since my childhood, namely social anxiety, and complex PTSD. During my teens, I isolated myself a lot and there were periods when I wouldn’t leave the house at all due to my anxieties. As you can imagine, being stuck inside for an extended period didn’t help my mental health and as a result, I felt very lonely and suicidal.

When I was 16, my parents agreed to get me a dog, as a kind of “therapy dog.” Shortly after, we welcomed a miniature dachshund into our family, named Frank. It was such a joy to bring this puppy home. He gave me something positive to focus on, which distracted me from my emotional difficulties.

Seven years later and Frank still brings so much joy into my life! I find that having a dog helps to combat feelings of loneliness. I often find myself chatting away to him even if he can’t speak back.

He is a big lover of cuddling, which is a bonus. He loves to snuggle up on the sofa with me and he would always choose my company over his own. Having an animal that wants to spend time with you, as this dog does, makes you feel wanted and appreciated. On days when you might be doubting your human relationships, you know you always have your animal companion to count on.

There have been many occasions when I struggle emotionally, but Frank makes me feel better. I think we underestimate the intelligence of animals because Frank always seems to know when something is up. If he notices I’m feeling down, he’ll try and make me feel better by jumping on me and giving me kisses. It’s a lot harder to stay sad when he does that.

Esther Cundall, Holistic Healing Blogger at Hopeful Lotus

She taught me the importance of rescuing others.

I got married later in life at the age of 42, and I became a stepmother to 11-year-old twin girls. I longed to have a baby of my own, but that did not happen for me. After dog sitting for my sister-in-law, my husband saw how much love I had to give that sweet animal, and two weeks later, he bought my fur baby to me.

Sammi has been the light of my life. When my Mom got sick and subsequently died, she was my rock. When I was stressed at work and started to get NYC subway anxiety, she was there. After losing my job of 21 years and moving to a new area where I know no one, she was my best friend.

I cannot express the love and support she gives me enough. She made me aware of animal rescue as well. I used to do home visits for rescue groups when I lived in NYC, and now that I have moved, I use my picture and video skills to help animals looking for forever homes at my local shelter.

Taking care of Sammi is sometimes rough, but it helps me to keep the structure at certain times when I feel anxiety. Now that I am going through perimenopause, I sometimes feel depressed or can’t sleep. Having her curl up to me in bed at night or just sit next to me and give me kisses can change my mood instantly.

Sammi also assists me in my YouTube videos. She steals the spotlight and is so good on camera. She is good with children, and I am convinced the only reason I have over 700 followers on Instagram is because of her. Wherever I go, people young and old smile, and it feels good that she can give someone who may be having a tough day, a little sunshine just like she does for me.

Jayne Nicoletti, Actress & Host

He allows me to shed tears and get his hair wet.

Growing up, I was raised by a mom that was unable to show affection. Because of the relationship that I had with my mom, I often worried about how it would affect me as a parent. Would I be the same way?

Unfortunately, I learned that I was unable to have children, and my husband and I decided to get a pet. We adopted our first cat, Sake (like the Japanese drink) when she was a couple of years old when we returned from a three-year tour in Okinawa. Every time I feed him, groom, care for him, pet him, and snuggle with him, my heart nearly burst with love. When Sake greets me when I come in from work, it soothes me and releases the stress of the day that I didn’t know was there.

There are other perks to owning a pet. No other ‘friend’ would allow you to shed tears and get their hair all wet. Sake made me realize that I was extremely nurturing and would more than likely make a great mom. All the cats I’ve had since Sake have reinforced this feeling.

Carol Gee, author of Random Notes (About Life. “Stuff” And Finally Learning To Exhale) www.VenusChronicles.net

How has your pet helped your life for the better? We want to know.

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A conversation for women 40+ who are fun flirty and fabulous!

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