C & D: In Praise of Cats and Dogs (and all the critters that make life better)

I’m supposed to be blogging the alphabet this year, and by now I should be up to the letters H or I, but I stopped at B. That’s because I’m a dawdler, which would be a good blog to post under the letter D, except today, I’m combining two letters, C & D, and blogging about cats and dogs, and other pets that make our lives better. 

According to WebMD, pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. They also provide some benefit in boosting our immune system. When my mother was in hospice care at the end of her life, my Dad would take their little dog, Butch, a 15 pound Schipperke, in to see her every afternoon. That hour or so, when Butch was snuggled next to her in bed, was the only time in her day she was pain-free. Did that make her life better? Yes. Besides the physical relief she received, she simply got to cuddle with her dog, and that made her happy in her last days.  

There are also the social barriers to consider. Do you really think dog parks are solely for the purpose of walking your dog? What better place to find a like-thinking pet lover? Of course, there are service animals to consider. They aid the disabled, and give comfort and confidence to certain people who have been diagnosed with extreme social anxieties. 

CECIL, the elder
But for me, personally, my pets simply make me happy. I have five of them – an elderly cat who demands as much time and attention as I can give him, plus two other cats who like to stay close while I’m writing. One in particular, Maisey, has a passion for sprawling across my arm as I write. Then there are the dogs. Two cute girls, a mom and her pup, who are lively, happy and always ready to put on a show for me. Oh, and there's Sam. He's not mine, but he comes to visit me at work every day and, like my own, will interrupt my writing every chance he gets.

SAM, the office dog

 Yes, I write with anywhere from 1 – 5 animals around me at any given moment, and I
wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, as I’m writing this very paragraph, one of my cats, Fergus, is crossing my lap, getting ready to take his afternoon nap in the Longaberger basket sitting on the end of my desk. All this while Maisey is snuggled on my shoulder, and Cecil, my elder cat (18) snores peacefully on the desk next to me. 

For me, my pets are an expression of unconditional love. They love me on my bad and grumpy days as much as they love me on my good ones.
And they forgive me everything – when I ignore them, or push them aside to do something else. The pets we love, the pets we bring into our lives remind us that not only are we loved, but we are worthy of being loved. In this great big, difficult world, that means a lot because there aren’t so many things out there bringing us that same reminder. The look Danzi gives me when she’s simply sitting there, watching me write, is nothing but love, pure and simple. 

I know a lot of people who don’t like cats, or dogs, or animals in general. I pity them because they don’t know what they’re missing. The purr of a cat, the thumping of a dog’s tail…these have always been part of my life. And yes, even part of my writing life. It’s what I’m used to. More than that, it’s what I want to have around me because love is love, and being surrounded by it unconditionally and continually makes me a better person, and a better writer. I’d like to think it makes me more sympathetic or empathetic, more understanding, more tolerant.

So, as I titled this blog, In Praise of Cats and Dogs, and birds, pigs, horses or any other animal that brings out the best qualities in you—I am in praise. Always have been. Always will be.  Some people consider their pets their babies or, as many of them are called today – furbabies. Other people think of them as friends. Whatever the case, 19th century British writer, George Eliot, says it best: Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.  In life, isn’t that something all of us want? For me, personally, I get it in five different varieties, as many times in the day as I need it. That, and all the love in the world. I suppose that makes me a very lucky person, doesn’t it?
MAISEY, who insisted on having her face show in this blog

My next book, Saved By Dr. Dreamy will be out from Harlequin Medicals in June. It will be available in all the regular places

As always, wishing you health & happiness (and a house full of loving pets!)


ATTICUS, my nephew-pig, endorses this blog


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