Parenting a spectrum of girls

Posts tagged ‘therapy pets’

Pet Therapy


A & me with Vienna

I am a cat person.  For a long time I pestered my husband to get a cat, but he claimed allergies and a general dislike for the animals, so we never got one.  I am not much of a dog person and with both of us working a dog was not a great choice for our family (especially since hubby insists we can only have a BIG dog, and we have small children who were terrified of dogs anyway.)

Actually, M was terrified of all animals, and A was petrified of dogs.  I really felt that getting a cat would be good for the girls, especially M.  I also wanted one for my own selfish reasons…not only had I grown up with cats, but I suffer from time to time from Anxiety disorder and anxiety attacks, and felt a pet would really help soothe me.  Eventually, he agreed to let us get a cat.

January 2012 (K’s 10th birthday actually) I took the girls to visit a local no-kill shelter where a friend volunteered.  At first M was terrified.  There were many cats wandering about and they are quiet, so she thought they were sneaking up on her (planning to do what I am not sure).  She screamed and hid behind me a lot.  Finally one of the volunteers coaxed the girls over to pet Vienna, a beautiful, calm, friendly girl.  I had let them know ahead of time I wanted an adult female who would tolerate our loud & chaotic home.  After a while of some gentle talking and petting, the girls agreed we should take Vienna home with us.

She couldn’t have been a better fit for our family.  Everyone got used to each other quickly, and she calmly let the girls carry her around, push her in the doll stroller, whatever they wanted.  She also has an amazing sense of when someone is sick or sad, and she cuddles with that person.  I have seen her many times go to M when she is upset and having a meltdown and just lay on her and purr.  Even better, after adding Vienna to our family the girls were no longer afraid of any animals!  A now adores dogs and goes up and pets them at every opportunity, and M loves hanging out with my mom’s dogs and helping take care of them.  Vienna even won over my husband.  In fact, she prefers him & M as her people.

July 2012, after much pleading, my husband let us add a second cat, Honey, to our family.  She was a cat born to a feral in a friend’s neighborhood and seemed to want a home.  She was not a good fit for my friend’s home and she was looking for someone to give the young cat a chance.  At first Honey was very timid and stayed in one room of the house, but after 3-4 months she started to warm to us and became part of the family as well.  She has made herself my cat, but the girls adore her as well as she is very sweet and gentle.  I think of her as my baby.

I began to volunteer with the shelter where we got Vienna, doing adoption booths at local stores.  I love it, though right now I don’t do it too often since we have been busy and the girls need my time.  Finally, this January, I found out that a cat I had fallen in love with named Recycle (because he had been found in a dumpster, sent to be euthanized then saved by a woman from the shelter we got Vienna at) was available for adoption, and we took him home as well.  He has made himself K’s cat and prefers her over everyone else. 

3 might seem like a lot of cats; growing up I had 3 cats and it feels like a completion to our family.  They have all been wonderful for our girls, and calming for M.  The girls each have jobs: K cleans the litter boxes, M gives them water and A feeds them.  I think it is also great for them that they all have jobs that not only help around the house but are caring for other living beings that depend on them.  Some people have therapy dogs, we have therapy cats.  Some might say we rescued our cats, but I think they rescued us. 


Honey & Recycle

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