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#407271 - 08/20/12 05:15 AM Pets and recovery
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
I've put off posting this for a few days while I've gathered my thoughts because this is loaded for me (mods please note, if appropriate).

My pets have been incredibly important to me.

On one hand, I recall abusing them at the worst of my times. A lovely lab who didn't understand why I was kicking her (yep, following the abuse)...and I didn't understand either, except I knew I was mad as hell about something. Years later, at the worst of my depression, I kept my mixed shepherd locked in a basement which had its floor covered in feces, etc., because I couldn't deal with her enthusiasm and, yeah, unconditional love. I'll tell you guys, I've never been able to forgive myself for either...and it's hard for me to even write about it.

Switched to cats 25 years ago and have had nearly a dozen over the years. Perhaps I'm simply better suited to them. I particularly like that they're not so...well...codependent! But in my experience, you know damn well when they've adopted you.

(Don't get me wrong, dogs sense something about me and usually take to me immediately).

Since cats are smaller and, with humans, remain childlike and absolutely dependent on me, I know I have to be gentle and particularly nurturing with them.

One thing I never expected is that their companionship would save my life. I bring it up because feelings of suicide occasionally come up in the threads. I was seriously considering suicide ten years ago as my world was collapsing around me...loss of my business, foreclosure, bankruptcy. The main reason I didn't - strange as it sounds - is because I felt my "kids" would suffer the most: loss of "Dad", confusion, perhaps being separated from each other, etc. It was particularly true of my oldest, who passed peacefully 18 months later, I believe, having fulfilled his purpose in life, which was to save me.

Last year I was overwhelmed with my birthmother in the hospital twice in as many months, more work than I could handle and multiple hearings on a restraining order I was seeking (and got). Though not as devistating as my other experience, the suicidal thoughts were back again. I'd only one remaining cat (who, though elderly, is doing fine today but would never tolerate a new cat). Especially because I'm all he's got in the world, even the slightest thought of abandoning him like that was more than I could bear.

In both cases my thought was that, even if I didn't feel could stick around for myself, I absolutely must stick around for them.

The thoughts passed, btw. Having the "kids" around convinced me to stick it out just long enough - sometimes an hour at a time - to call the suicide hotline, in tears, in the middle of the night a couple of times. And they helped me stuck around long enough to hear a phrase which has resonated with me since about "a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

#407276 - 08/20/12 09:54 AM Re: Pets and recovery [Re: Lancer]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4284
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
Lancer -

i don't minimize your feelings or experience at all. i am thankful that your "kids" kept you with us!

and i hope no one will be offended by my comparing my experience and feelings to yours. the last and most serious time that i considered suicide, it was the thought of my human kids that kept me from going through with it. i couldn't stand the thought of them growing up without a father - or heaven forbid - a step-father like mine.

and i don't want to hijack this either - just saying that i believe that pets can be every bit as important to people as literal kids.

thanks for telling this part of your story,
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#407323 - 08/20/12 08:23 PM Re: Pets and recovery [Re: Lancer]
Country Offline

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 654
Loc: Alabama
I have never really had sympathy for dogs or animals. Maybe my childhood hardened that in me. I have a dog and it is a good dog. After I faced recovery it is a little different now

Edited by Country (08/20/12 10:42 PM)
Ephesians 6:13

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

#407324 - 08/20/12 08:35 PM Re: Pets and recovery [Re: Lancer]
bodyguard8367 Offline

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""

Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 12:59 AM)
Edit Reason: SILENCED

#407338 - 08/21/12 12:05 AM Re: Pets and recovery [Re: Lancer]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Nice sentiment Lee. Thank you.

#407376 - 08/21/12 06:25 AM Re: Pets and recovery [Re: Lancer]
learning2luvme Offline

Registered: 06/12/12
Posts: 50
Animals have always been apart of my life. One of my closest friends was a rabbit named Isabel that my friend Vannie gave me because he found him in a park and his Mom wouldn't let him keep it.

He was a dwarf bunny, all black with a white nose. After he grew up I realized he was a boy...but I still called him Isabel. That damn animal was so important to me. He had the personality of a cat...would sleep in my bed, he was potty trained and went in and out of the doggy door.

He thought our Irish setter, Hollie was his mate. When he wasn't sleeping in my bed, licking the tears from my face after having been abused by my perp, he would be laying next to the Irish Setter. It's like he knew...he knew I needed the comfort.

I had him for almost 14 years...even into college. The night he passed away from old age, my Mom called my then girlfriend and told her I would be pretty emotional. She loving came over to try and cheer me up but realized that night that she was in love with me because I cried when he passed away in my arms.

Now 23 years later...I don't have the rabbit, but I do have the most amazing spouse a guy could ask for.

Today I have a parrot named Lucy (who is a male)...go figure, my favorite cat named Simon who's old and majestic....and two weenie dogs.

I'm grateful for animals. I cannot begin to count how many times the cold nose of an animal helped to calm my fears, help me take a couple more steps, etc.

I wouldn't be here were it not for the unconditional love of my furry friends.

Thanks guys.

#407495 - 08/22/12 03:31 AM Re: Pets and recovery [Re: Lancer]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Love the wet nose thing L2LM. I'll sometimes be roused from sleep by a wet nose buried in my hand. Had a Momma kitty years ago who'd sleep on my back and bury her nose in my ear, purring away. (Of course there was another who'd simply contentedly drool uncontrollably instead of purring...THAT was wet).

Sounds weird, but that's powerful emotional stuff for me. Thanks for the memory.

#407574 - 08/22/12 08:52 PM Re: Pets and recovery [Re: Lancer]
kpntreal Offline

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 11
Loc: USA
To those of you who are pet savvy,
My English Springer has started something new. During our usual round the block walks, he now stops about 2/3 of the the way and simply sits down and ignores any invitation to continue on.
There is no panting or limping leading up to this, and he is in good health.I have to pick him up and carry him the rest of the way home.
This is the third time in the past 2 weeks that this has happened.

He has been a faithful rescue dog for the past 12 years and a great listener.

Does anyone have any ideas?

#407599 - 08/23/12 01:51 AM Re: Pets and recovery [Re: Lancer]
G5 Offline

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 204
Loc: New Jersey
Had my best friend Odie, a cat for 20 years. He was there through all of the deep, deep depression and suicidal times. I sometimes took my pain out on him with yelling or a push with the foot. But I cared for him always and did my best to make up for my short comings. He was a dear friend and companion and when I put him down after his long life with me, I cried like I never had before. I had had him for half of my life at the time.

I celebrated his life by adopting two new cats a short time after...Sam and Lilly are my new loves and they will be experiencing all the new joy that I wasn't able to express before in my past.

Pets help ground me. If Odie wasn't there for me, I might be dead...he was that important to me. I can't imagine not having a pet to love...

WoR Kirkridge '08
WoR Alta Advanced '09
International Conference '10, '12, '14
Oprah 200, and "Silence Buster" Contibuter
NYC Support Group
WoR Alta Advanced '12

#407664 - 08/23/12 06:18 PM * [Re: Lancer]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline

Registered: 03/26/12
Posts: 2217

Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (04/29/13 03:58 PM)

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