Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Therapy of Pets

I’m still hobbling around after my bunion/arthritis surgery, but my toe is healing.  I have great hopes of being able to resume my former activities involving feet:-)  On to today’s blog topic.  I love animals; a lot of people do.  We’ve all heard how therapeutic animals can be for us.  Why is that?  Here are some words/phrases to describe animals as a general rule: content, calm, hang-loose, loving, go-with-the-flow, devoted, live in the moment.  They embody so many of the things that so many of us humans lack or have in short supply.  When we need a friend, our pet or someone else’s pet or some horses at a stable or some wild birds are there for us.  I was in a park the other day and chose to sit on the lawn near some migrating geese.  I felt calm just watching them as they watched me.  Years ago I hung out with some gentle cows in a field in England.  Their curiosity overcame them, and they walked slowly toward me–boxcars on legs.  It was special; I still remember it vividly.  I used to be one half of a pet-therapy team with my dog at a local hospital.  We’d visit patients who requested a dog visit.  I’d put Fergie on their bed so they could pet her.  They usually forgot for those few moments about their illnesses or medical conditions, often launching into a discussion about their pet at home which they missed.  It was a beautiful five or ten minutes.  Once, there was a big, burly patient who looked terrified when he saw Fergie.  When I questioned him thinking I had the wrong room, he explained that he’d always been frightened of dogs ever since he was a child and witnessed his best friend being mauled by a dog.  He was amazed when Fergie started licking his hand. “Oh my God, a dog is licking my hand,” was all he could say over and over.  Fergie and I visited him a few more times over the next several weeks.  Just before he was to be released, he told me he was planning on getting his own dog.  Even if you’re not a pet person, maybe a bird or a tank of fish could bring you some joy.  Try it out.
My next author talk/book signing for my memoir: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, will be on February 22, 2014, 2:00pm at the Los Angeles City Library, Central (Downtown) Branch, Meeting Room A, 630 W. 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071.  Join me there if you can, and be sure to come up and introduce yourself.
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