I truly believe pets have healing powers. Their love and support can be instrumental in seeing us through life’s most challenging moments. There’s just something about their calm, unwavering devotion that helps us cope with not only physical illness but emotional pain as well.
The pets in this month’s Mewsings have all lent a helping paw to their humans – lifting them up and reminding them that they’re never alone.
Shortly after he left for a tour of duty in 2011, former Marine Robert Connell was devastated to learn his cat, Hemi, had gone missing. For him, the grey feline was more than just a pet; he was a lifeline in helping Robert cope with PTSD. “Before I had kids, the only thing I could connect to in life was a cat,” he told TV station WNCT.
Four years later, the Connells received a call that Hemi had been found in North Carolina, where they used to live, and identified by a microchip. Although the Connells were now in Bismarck, North Dakota, Robert made plans to hop on a plane to get his best buddy. But when a snowstorm grounded air travel, Robert decided instead to drive 1,700 miles to retrieve the cat that meant everything to him.
Recognizing the powerful impact animals can have on seriously ill patients, most hospitals have permitted visits from therapy dogs for years. But despite how wonderful these furry angels are, they don’t compare to cuddles from one’s own pet.
That’s why the Juravinski Hospital in Canada recently adopted a program – called Zachary’s Paws for Healing – that allows companion animals to visit their owners while they’re being treated. Not only is it beneficial for the patients, it helps reduce stress the pets may be feeling while separated from their humans.
So far, the program has been a huge success. Its founder, Donna Jenkins, hopes that it spreads to other hospitals in Canada and beyond.
When she was only 10-months-old, Scarlette Tipton had to have her arm amputated because of cancer. Although Scarlette is now a healthy two-year-old, her mother Simone knows that as the little girl gets older, she will realize that she’s different from her friends.
Wanting Scarlette to know she’s not alone, Simone decided to adopt a pet that was an amputee, but she wasn’t sure where to find one. Then one day, she turned on her television to see a story about a kitten that had been rescued after suffering an injury that caused her to lose one of her front legs.
When they met the kitten, named Doc, they knew it was meant to be. According to Scarlette’s mom, “She recognizes that the cat has similar struggles as she does.”