Animals as healing members of our families and communities

From NPR yesterday:

Those of us who own pets know they make us happy. But a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier.

That helps explain the increasing use of animals — dogs and cats mostly, but also birds, fish, and even horses — in settings ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to schools, jails and mental institutions. (listen and or read more here)

My animals have always been deeply healing to me. I consider my relationships with my animals intimate. I mention meditating with my cat regularly in a post where I share many of the coping skills I’ve developed since I’ve been ill: 

If you’re a cat lover, I found a nice way to meditate when in a lot of pain is to hold my cat to my chest and meditate to her purring and/or her breathing. It’s very soothing. The purring and the cat become the object of meditation and it allows for a bit of distance from the pain in my body. My kitty is old and more than happy to spend hours with me in this manner. I’m blessed with a super medicine cat. My shaman cat I call her too, as well as my Zen Master Jezebel. Yes, I’m grateful to my cat.

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