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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The "Living Stress Reliever" Story

Help is on the way ... from Creamsicle the cat.
It was an ordinary day.  Sitting by my computer checking emails and preparing to write this story.  Sleeping next to my monitor is Creamsicle, my constant companion as I work my way around the house.  He falls asleep and his legs begin to move, as if he is chasing a chipmunk or squirrel across the desk.  Then he'll begin to snore and you can't help but laugh and love him.  And, it always makes me feel happy and puts a smile on my face no matter how I felt before I sat in my chair.  When I'm sitting in my recliner in the family room watching TV or reading the newspaper, he enjoys sitting on my lap.  Seems to be the same with Carol.  He sleeps next to her head at night on a pillow and awakes from time to time, nudges her awake so she will scratch him, and shortly after is purring in her ear.  She tells me it is soothing and puts her back to sleep.  Ever since we were married almost 50 years ago we have had pets.  I inherited her long-haired Chihuahua when we got married.  He was Carol's pet for many years and was one of her best friends.  Only problem was ... he didn't like me, since I was stealing his human friend.  I made several pieces of furniture for our first rental unit which "Buddy" found as a great place to lift his leg.  Buddy was rather old at the time and only lived a year or two before passing.  Wasn't long before we had a cat in the house.  Then two cats ... we haven't been without a cat for years.  We had  four dogs during our marriage who were all good companions, but never the same as a cat has been for us.  I can count on Creamsicle to be my companion as soon as I sit in my swivel chair in front of my desktop computer.  He used to be able to jump the desktop height himself, but now needs some assistance.  Instantly he needs some head-butting or human contact, and then he settles into some location in front of my computer.  If Carol and I are watching TV he will nestle in one of our laps, depending upon which one has had the more stressful day.  Funny how he can always sense which one of us needs to be consoled the most.  Pets can be there for you in ways people can't.  
Loves to be held like a baby.
They offer uncondi- tional love and companion- ship as well as comfortable silences.  They are great at keeping secrets and excellent snugglers.  Great stress reducers!!  It has been reported that talking with your spouse or a good friend about your problems helps, but still isn't as good as spending time with a pet.  Pets can stave off loneliness for those who have lost a loved one and they also can help to reduce blood pressure and heart rates better than medicine at times.  But, pets, be they cats or dogs, aren't for everyone.  Some may be allergic to animals as well as some just aren't cat or dog people.  And, others just don't want the hassle of taking care of a pet, since they do take additional work and responsibility as well as an added expense.  But, for those who do enjoy pets, they will be a supportive friend without expecting anything in return.  When my mother lived in a retirement/nursing home, dogs were occasionally brought in for the residents to pet, hold and even take short walks with to help them with with exercise, social support, and loneliness.  
Creamsicle can sit for hours like this.  What a life!
But, it does help relieve stress!!
Recently I read about a local high school that had a dog handy for students who were experiencing anxiety.  If a student arrived in the guidance office or nurse's office seeking help for depression, anxiety or even bullying, the "facility" dog, Maya, was taken to the room and she would "squish" or drape her body over you while you lay on the floor.  Seems students love it and it works for them.  More schools and institutions are getting "facility" dogs to help with mental health problems.  Animals seem to sense better than humans when others are distressed and know exactly what to do.  Of course these dogs are taught what to do, but its tough to teach a dog to know when they are needed, they just seem to know.  Well, I must get back to finishing my typing and hope I don't get too much help with this task.  Seems every now and then a foreign object, namely a cat foot, seems to appear on my keyboard and adds an extra letter or two to what I am typing.  But, that's OK for it makes for some interesting or humorous sentences.  If only I could train him to type.  Still love him anyway.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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