What makes our pets and animals so special?
This weeks Blog is written by a good friend and mine who lives in the Principality. I present it as it was presented to me. It's short and sweet. It's honest, brave and from the heart and demonstrates to us (as if we didn't already know) the importance that our pets and animals can have in helping us cope in our battle with mental health issues.
A question I have always asked myself is; am I a cat person or a dog person?
As a child we had two Cats, Smokey and Bandit, who were brother and sister. They were part of an abandoned litter left in a box. One day we had a knock on our door from a man asking if we would like to take the last two kittens. Of course we couldn't refuse!
So, we were now a feline family. Within minutes Smokey had made her way upstairs and got stuck at the top. Smokey soon became my best friend and would follow me everywhere. So, was I destined to be a cat person from then on??
I certainly loved these cats but i always had a soft spot for our canine friends. My Dad once had a Boxer called Tammy and his love of dogs rubbed off on to me from a very young age. Whilst we never owned a dog I would always be the first to make a fuss whenever I saw one. So did this mean I was a dog person? Can you be both?
I always envisaged getting a cat of my own, and even convinced my children this would be a good way to go. However, my husband was not a fan so years went by without pets in our family home.
Then my best friend got a boarder collie pup called Emma and I immediately became 'auntie Inge' to her.
We walked miles with Emma and I loved it. All over the mountains and our favourite Bluebell wood. Emma always felt just as much mine as my friend's and i was now starting to see why people refer to them as 'man's best friend'.
I walked Emma once a week and she even came to stay when her Mum went away. However every time she left I felt slightly empty. I was definitely becoming a dog person, wasn't I?
I started looking at breeding websites to see if I would suit a dog, how much they cost and any other information I needed. Then one trip to a Labrador breeder in West Wales changed my life forever. There she was, the last fox red left, and it was love at first sight. We called her Tammy.
The following two weeks seemed to be the longest ever as we prepared for Tammy to come to her forever home. I remember being so nervous the day she came home, constantly worrying she would be lonely or miss her siblings. I needn't have though because she was brilliant. No crying and she slept soundly through the night.
A year and a half later and she is truly my best friend! I have suffered with depression for the majority of my life and Tammy really is the best medicine. On my dark days she pulls me through with a cuddle, a walk and by just being by my side. I can be having the worst day ever but as I walk through the front door and see that bouncy, wagging tail it makes me forget my troubles and simply smile.
I suppose the advantage of having a dog (opposed to a cat) is the amount of time spent walking around this country of ours. I've seen spectacular views ranging from tops of mountains to windswept coastline paths. But perhaps the best walk is my local one, the bluebell wood, watching Tammy run and play with her collie friends, Emma and Emma's new brother Kam.
So, what do we think? I must be a dog person, right? After all I wouldn't be without my Tammy. Mind you, I'd never turn a cat away either. So I'll leave you to draw your own conclusion on that one!
If you would like to contribute to my Blog, then do get in touch. I'm particularly interested in those of you who fancy telling us about your particular breed of dog or cat - and what makes them different or special.
Take care and have a great weekend.