Therapy animals

Paul Begging

Paul Begging

I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For those who don’t already know, PTSD is basically an inability to re-adjust after some sort of trauma. Our brains and hormones stay in a state that cause symptoms ranging from general irritability and nightmares, all the way up to paranoia and flashbacks that separate the sufferer from the current time, and put their minds back in the time when whatever caused the stress was occurring.

Luna Tongue Napping

Luna Tongue Napping

This is less about the PTSD, and more about how wonderful having pets can be. In my case, they would be called “therapy animals”. We have four cats who also suffered abuse, and Greybo still has issues. They earn their status in various ways. Paul calls in his high pitched, grating meow, flops down on his back, and dares me to rub his belly. Petting cats does indeed help lower the agitation and calm a person. Luna rears up and headbutts or “attacks” me until I reach down and “wrestle” with her – she loves to play.  Or she just flops into your lap and starts purring as loudly as she can, as if she is daring you to not be happy. Piwacket loves to rub her cheek on toes. I suspect she had suffered brain damage before we stepped in, and she tends to leave drool behind on toes, or the side of the fish tank when she tries to catch fish. Greybo usually stays up on some hard to reach “safe” spot, or hangs out with my son.

Greybo Hiding

Greybo Hiding

I suffer from a variety of PTSD related issues, but the one in question now is nightmares. I have nightmares almost every night. Some nights, they are constant. I woke up yesterday after such a night. Usually, after such a night, one or more of the cats will come in and attempt to work their particular form of magic. Evidently, the other cats ganged up on Greybo, and made her come in. Not being familiar with comforting, she adopted a method that worked. She combined everything in a fast, quick repetitive procession. She head butted my knee like Luna, made a quick cheek rub on the side of my foot like Piwacket, yowled at me while arching her back to fall on the floor, exposing her belly like Paul for a split second, and then rolled back up to headbutt my knee and start over again. It was obvious that she was trying to reach out to me like the other cats. It was also obvious that she did not understand a single bit of how it worked. The effect was endearing and comical. My heart reached out to this fellow sufferer, and her antics made me smile. The agitation subsided enough for me to start a more functional day.

Piwacket Fishing

I appreciate these cats. They are our family. They reach out to us, just like we do for them. They love us, and we love them. Everyone should know that feeling. Pet a cat. Scratch a dog… just don’t try to snuggle the fish.

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Published in: on August 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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