the pawsitive impacts of pet therapy

The Pawsitive Impacts of Pet Therapy, from Dr. Elsey's
Benjamin Burt adopted us when he was five weeks old. He lived under a hedge with five other siblings. We lived in an apartment complex three stories above the hedge, but when I saw him dancing below, I went down to investigate. He immediately danced into my lap, and with his and my husband’s help, we ended up with handfuls of five tiny kittens. In the long run, three siblings adopted us. Years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After my surgery, Benjamin Burt spent most of his days and nights resting beside me, purring. Then I had a stroke. This time he not only purred constantly, but he also head-bumped me day and night. Cat therapy? Oh yeah!
After my first stem cell transplant, I spent several months at home recovering. A lot of that time, I was pretty sedentary and spent time on my couch reading or watching TV while my body healed. My two cats, Martha and her daughter, Stella, took turns lying on my chest, purring. Each would spend 30 or 40 minutes on me, and when one would get off my chest, the other would quickly resume the position. I called it my “feline therapy.” Since that time, I have read articles that the feline purring is at a frequency that actually has healing properties. I believe Martha and Stella instinctively knew I needed special attention and the healing their special therapy offered me.
My dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 4 years ago. He and my mom live in Minnesota. I live in Colorado and was struggling with dealing with his disease. I adopted a cat, Zoe, almost two years ago, and she has become such a great companion. If I’m sad, she knows it, and she sits on my lap, purring. Whenever I talk to my dad on the phone, she always wants to say hi (purring non-stop). When my parents came to visit, Zoe cuddled right up with my dad. She is such a great therapy cat!
In 2018 within three months, I suffered a brain injury and Henry, my cat, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which is very rare in cats. Henry taught me to focus on joy and positivity by taking each day at a time. We really can learn so much from our animals and how they handle illness. Their focus is on resting when they need to and only spending their energy on activities that bring them pleasure. They do not dwell on negativity. Henry is now stable, and I am following a rehabilitation program. I treasure every day we spend together and how Henry reminds me to focus on my recovery.
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Cartoon of a woman in a rocking chair by a fire, reading a book. A cat is in her lap.