Catherine Murphy, RN
As a child I always wanted a dog. Any pet actually, something of my own to
love and play with. My own furry little creature to keep me company on
rainy days and blue Mondays. Over the years, my brothers, and sister did
have various pets. However when you are third in a family of four
siblings, you sit pretty low on the "pet Master" list. So
Samson, Tweety, Smokey, Shakespeare, and a few unnamed worms became the
"family pets". It wasn't until Dad had his first stroke that I
finally, accidentally, became a pet owner. "Bailey" was an
8-week-old domestic short hair kitten. I got him for Dad. Everyone knew
what great friends pets were for the elderly, and I believed that Dad
would do very well with this adorable kitten.
Well, to say they failed to bond just might be an understatement. Dad took
one look at "the cat", and said, "just keep it away from
me". I was happy to comply; I figured that the cat would grow on Dad.
I even managed to get Dad to help me name "the cat". Bailey got
his name from a favorite Irish drink of Dad's. You guessed it. Bailey's
Irish Cream!!!! That done, I felt "bonding" was only a matter of
time for these two unlikely pals.
The funniest memory I have of Bailey involves Dad as well. It was a few
months after Bailey joined the household, I was in the living room
crocheting, and Dad was in his room (Dad likes to call his room "the
inner sanctum"). Well I near fell out of the chair when I heard the
terrible scream. I was certain Dad had suffered a heart attack. Running
madly towards him and mentally reviewing my CPR drill, I was stopped in my
tracks by the sight before my eyes.
There in his entire splendor sat little Bailey, atop the back of Dad's
easy chair. Both front paws, and chin were resting on Dad's head as Bailey
sat watching TV!!!! Poor Dad was beside himself. But I knew then and
there, that "true bonding" had begun.
We had Bailey with us for 6 years before he died. It was a loss deeply
felt by both Dad and myself. Not sure if it was the right thing to do or
not, I quickly had Bailey replaced by well meaning friends. Simba and
Chloe have been with me more than 4 years, but they continue in
Bailey's footsteps. They provided companionship to dad when I had to
be away at work, and added a calming peaceful aura to our home. When
the stress of life seems overwhelming, they are here. And I can't
begin to describe to you how much they have helped me as well, to
cope with some of the feelings of isolation I have at times. Pet
therapy works, I can attest to it personally, and highly recommend
it as a wonderful complimentary therapy to your current plan of care.