Animals are incredible healers, you know. They are. Most anyone who has ever rescued a pet will at one point in their life say or think, I don’t know who rescued who and I’ve always loved that notion, because it’s so true. The rescuing doesn’t always happen in a way that’s grand or some huge memorable moment though. Sometimes the rescuing happens over time.
I grew up fortunate enough to always be surrounded by animals. Many of them wild, but I also always had a pet (or five). While I’m sure my dad would have liked to think this taught me responsibility, I think it also taught me just how special it feels to be loved on by an animal. They may be completely covered in slobber with a wet nose pushed to your skin, or maybe a paw to your face as you’re trying to sleep, but make no mistake: this is the way they love, and they always just seem to know exactly when you need it the most. (And that’s the most astounding and curious part.)
Rotten day at work? Being greeted by a wagging tail seems to make it okay. Breakup? The close snuggles, by the one completely covered in fur, seem to eventually soak up the tears. Stomach flu? Who should lay beside you on the bathroom floor, giving you only looks of sympathy with occasional deep sighs (true story), but the one who happily eats the same dry food every day. And on the really hard days? When you can’t get a word out or even a cry? Somehow, they just know how to comfort you in the silence.
I have had many pets and furry comforters in the last 31 years of my life but to this day, Cleo has been different, special. Even my husband, who swore he’d never be a cat person, has not only fallen for her too but still marvels over the fact that this cat and I have the craziest (and probably weirdest) bond. Maybe she’s like my animal soul mate or something? Whatever it is, our bond started back in 2009, back in the very beginning of her days…
Journal Entry noted: 2010 – Cleopatra Heals (Chicago, IL)
This one. Others will say I rescued her but no, I am for certain it was the other way around. She came into my life at just the right time, I don’t know how it even happened but she’s helped heal my breaking heart. I hadn’t realized just how much I needed to be loved in that time. She knew. In times I could not talk and felt so much pain, she quietly stayed close – for the sake of being near to me and asking for nothing in return. She has loved me unconditionally – something God knew I needed to feel. I remember, last year on this day this photo was taken, I’d been crying and she walked over to me on the bed and got as close as she possibly could get to my face. She stared right into my eyes, with a focused and confused look on her face, her nose so close I could feel her breath on my cheek. She looked at me ever so closely… intently, as if to say, “It will be okay.” And I realized that she was so “into” my sorrow in that moment that I picked her up, got out of bed, and sat with her on the couch and in the sunshine. And I pet her until she fell asleep like this on my lap. And I took this picture thinking, ‘Okay, Em. No more sadness. It ends right here, today.’ And that was that and she’s been close by, with a watchful eye, and loving me ever since.