My Wonderful Pets Help Me Cope


Pets are usually considered an extension of the family, and I hold that to be so true. As a kid, I always wanted a dog, but my mom was too scared to be around one, and considering the amount of work it took walking and cleaning up after it, the idea quickly went out the window. Instead, my mom settled for a pet parrot and named her Bibi. Oh boy, was that Bibi annoying; the loud screeching in the early morning, the poop mess she would leave on a person if they were holding her for too long, the biting if you messed with her food, and the list goes on and on. However, I still grew to love Bibi as if she were a part of the family. I admired the moments when she would start climbing from the bottom of my pants and make her way to my arms or shoulders. I also liked when she would try to repeat words or sounds I’d make. Most importantly, I loved the fact that even when I was home by myself at times, I never truly felt alone. I would sometimes have depressive episodes when I was at home alone, but Bibi had a way of making me feel like I had company.


As I grew older and moved out of my parent’s home, you would think I would have been happy to be free from Bibi’s loud screeching, but funny enough, I actually missed hearing that sound. Later, when I began living with my girlfriend (who is now my wife) in the first-floor apartment of her parent’s two-family home, that void quickly filled with her parent’s two loving Shih Tzu’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I missed Bibi, but it was the first time I had ever lived with dogs and they grew on me pretty fast. Their names are Teddy and Ginger and it’s incredible how different they are despite being the same breed. Teddy will give his affection to anyone he crosses paths with, but Ginger, on the other hand, will only share her love with special people. It took her a short while to warm up to me, but with my gentle hands and willingness to give numerous belly rubs, she quickly fell in love.

After living with these two beautiful dogs for a few years, I have grown dependent on them. Whenever I go through my depressive bouts or IBS flare-ups, sometimes I call for Teddy and Ginger to help cheer me up – and it works every time. They’re so affectionate and playful, and they can easily make me forget about my suffering for the moment. Having them around is so therapeutic because they help bring a sense of calmness into my life, especially when my anxiety is going through the woof (sorry, I just had to). At this point, I couldn’t see my life without them and wouldn’t want to either. I realize the importance of having pets, and for that matter, what is a pet? A pet, to me, is more than just an animal who sits around the house; it’s an extension of your family that you build a bond with and in return they give you unconditional affection when you most need it.

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