From my journal the babes

Cleopatra Heals.

May 12, 2015

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.

 EG signature

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  • This is beautiful. It's amazing to have that kind of connection with an animal.

  • I agree with you about pets in general. I have a little rescue kitten and she absolutely gets me. When I sing alone she thinks I talk to her or need her and she bolts to me and meows to me face. Begs to be pet and sometimes held.
    She makes me step outside with her in my arms every day. She closes her eyes just right and soaks up the sun, and I'm reminded to do the same. To unwind after a busy day. Then we're off chasing ants/ mosquitos, cuddling on the sofa and getting treats. She knows me. I'm happy whenever I hear that a kitten has helped someone heal, helped someone feel better and feel loved. Cats are special. 🙂

  • This is beautiful! I also think my dog stevie ticks rescued me! I got her the week I decided to quit drinking and she gave me responsibility and reasons to go on walks and something to make me laugh. I don't know what I would do without her.

  • Such a cutie! Pets really are the best. You can't help but smile coming home to a wagging tail (or whole body for that matter). My pup seriously has helped me get through my most recent break-up and still feel like a normal person!

  • Yes! I love this. Walter is my ultimate healer. No matter what happens, he is always there and always makes me feel better.

  • Yes! Pets are so wonderful! Sgt Pepper is my baby and I can't even imagine my life without him anymore. He's so sweet!

  • Love this! Animals make the best therapists! All 3 of my dogs have been that for me multiple times!

  • This is making me tear up! Animals are God sends. I couldn't do life without my little one! I'm so thankful that God gave us the blessing of little animal friends who genuinely love us. They make the world a little happier.

  • What a sweet story. Animals are incredibly intuitive and caring. So many lessons we can learn from them if we just pay attention. They are so selfless. x

  • I completely and totally agree with you, Emily. The love an animal has for his or her human is so unfathomable. I can't understand how my dogs love me (and Kyle) so much, and those without pets or without that bond with their pets can't understand the deep need we have for their love.

  • this is so sweet. animals really are the best little companions, it's just so amazing to see that level of unconditional love!

  • Christian Matthew Cullen

    Just beautiful, Em 🙂

  • So sweet! I agree animals are very therapeutic. I am always amazed when Penny comes and sits with me after a bad day and just loves.

  • Cleo is so cute! I absolutely believe our pets are healing. They KNOW when you're sad, when you're sick, I just know it. My kitty Zoe is back home with my parents; I left her at home with them when I went to college and she and my mom became best friends. Zoe was there for me through breakups in high school, drama in college, and through deaths in the family. I would pick her up and squeeze her and cry into her fluffy black fur and she would never put up a fight. Now I know Zoe's at home helping my mom heal through the loss of my grandmother and as she deals with both of her kids moving so far away from home.

  • It is wild how they always just *know* exactly when you need the comfort of their warm bodies against your leg, or to let you wrap your arms around their neck and cry into their fur. Sally was a sweet loyal and faithful dog. I can't even count how many times I found her trying to get into my lap when I was down or upset. Cleo sounds the same! Xo

  • Such a sweet kitty. Bonds like that are special.

  • Omg, this is so heart warming. It is so true, I totally feel like my animals give me what I need when I need it. They bring so much to our lives. Thanks for a wonderful reminder.

  • Before I had dogs, cats were my comfort. No one liked my cats but me but they were there for every long run I had with my emotions, break ups, work issues, etc. Didn't think dogs could ever do that, too much maintenance. Until Molly, my dachshund. She is my snuggler and it is like she can sense what I'm feeling. The bonds you described are so true to all of us mommies of fur babies (like my daughter says).

  • I know without a doubt that the cats that have been in my life were placed there to care for me during some of the most difficult times of my life. We are blessed with their presence.

  • That kitty is so sweet looking! I fully believe that the bonds we create with our animals will remain with us throughout our lives. Love this 🙂

  • so true! and they always seem to know when a human needs them, at least my cat did:-) xx

  • I love this. I really think animals can sense our emotions and they definitely feed in to them. Cats especially I would say! Great post!

  • When I'm feeling a bit blah, I've resorted to youtube videos of corgis. haha. 😉 It really does help!

  • haha! I have not tried the corgis videos yet but it already sounds hilariously cute!

  • Yes, if only Cleo could feed into my emotions when she's wanting me to feed her at 5am! 😉

  • They do for sure!!

  • Agreed, Kel 🙂

  • Love that 🙂 They are definite blessings!

  • aww!! Yes, my dog is the greatest cuddler especially when I'm sick. They just know!

  • I think I'll always have a pet in my home 😉 It feels too quiet without them!

  • Totally!! Aw, they are just the best. Unconditional love! (Well.. sometimes it's conditional for Cleo.. usually if there's food involved haha)

  • I love that she and your mom bonded, gosh that's so sweet. She must have known your mom needed her while you were away at school, and now with the loss of your Grandma. I'm so sorry to hear that, by the way!

  • Not to mention, Penny is the cutest ever… so she's got that goin' for her 😉

  • I'm sure my friends without pets thought we were crazy growing up – we always had so many. But I also think that was one of the reasons everyone loved coming to our house – lots of love! 🙂

  • aw! I had a cat while growing up who loved to listen to me sing too – so funny. So glad you rescued her!!

  • LOVE that. (And her name, ha!) Yes, a dog needing to go out will always pull you out of bed! 😉

  • I know it! They keep us present and moving forward… which is sometimes the exact thing we need.

  • I love that you have your Walter and that he has you.

  • Sgt Pepper – the best name!

  • If they only knew how much we appreciate their unconditional love 😉

  • Agreed, Anna!! Definitely!!

  • Selfless, present, take no guilt in relaxing and yet are always moving forward – life lessons for sure!! 🙂

  • Thanks. It's been a couple of years so I'm doing ok. I just know it's still hard on my mom!