On the 9th Day of Self-Care Katie gave to me . . .
Nine ways animals help!
It was one of those days that you just want to skip. Black hose were not enough to keep my legs warm on this frigid New York February, my throat was already dry from small talk, and my earrings already felt like they weighed a few hundred pounds. This was the third uncle I had lost, but the first one on my dad's side. Watching his mom grieve at the wake was enough for me to want to head back to Oklahoma. I longed for the short viewings that were popular there instead of the all-day affair New Yorkers made it. In the mist of my longing and the sea of dark clothing, came a different kind of wardrobe. A furry one. Not the faux fur like what's in my closet or the real fur like many of the wealthy Long Islander's were sporting, living fur.
An adorable black lab gently walked through the room, wagging his tail and greeting guests. Boy, was he was a sight for sore eyes. He was by far a better greeter than any member of my family. He welcomed hugs from anyone that was sad, gladly gave kisses to those that ran out of tissues, entertained weary kids, and wagged his tail at those needing their spirits lifted.
My grandmother is one of the classiest women I know, but even in her dress clothes this dog was a welcome addition. Petting that dog brought a wave of light through her darkened, grief-stricken face.
Animals help. The funeral director knew that (hence, his dog was his star employee), hospitals know that, and so many other places know that. So why do our furry friends get boarded and left home alone more during the holidays than any other time? Because we're too busy to take care of them and us. I am not the person that thinks pets are people (though I am the person that has my dog in my Christmas card). I believe God gave animals to people and we should take care of them well (check out the beginning of Genesis for that story), but I don't think they should come before people. So, no, I'm not suggesting that we don't do the things that bring us joy during the holidays because Spot doesn't like car rides. I am merely suggesting that they are often an untapped (or under-tapped) resource for those holiday blues.
So here's 9 ways they help and a few practical ways to let them do that during the hustle and bustle:
Now go hug an animal or watch a puppy video!