Helping Us Heal: The Power of Our Furry Friends

Helping Us Heal: The Power of Our Furry Friends (Courtesy of Ashleigh Ewald)

I remember being greeted by dogs and cats when I entered the door to my forever home. Little did I know they would become my first best friends, specifically, the big cat. My big cat did not hesitate to sit on my lap the first week at home. His starry blue eyes grabbed my attention at the beginning of getting to connect with him while I gently grazed my hands on his grayish hair and poured out all my feelings. 

My big cat became my first best friend, and his passing marked the end of my childhood chapter. In memory of him and other furry friends worldwide who have helped foster children heal, this piece is dedicated to them. 

Here are ways our dog(s) and cat(s) help us heal from hardships. 

Dogs and cats provide unconditional love that seems never to fade. 

When I was a small child, it was not only plastic toys and luggage that came with me to my new forever home, but also trauma. My cat helped me through challenging moments by having a friend to hold and tell my secrets to. Cats and dogs are there for you in the darkest moments and are a source of reassurance.

They teach us how to care for living beings. 

Ensuring that the pets are fed, clean, healthy, and well taken care of will teach young children to understand the importance of caring for their loved ones. I became more compassionate and empathetic when I learned how to care for my furry friends. I was a child that lacked an emotional bond with my biological parents and did not understand what it meant to be loved. 

Make you feel more at home or content with your environment. 

Pets love their owners unconditionally, and for myself, I refrain from calling them pets and instead call them furry friends. Taking care of your cats or dogs encourages you to look beyond yourself and become a part of something bigger. Being a dog or cat relative means having a bundle of joy as a companion that will never cease supporting you and vice versa. 

Furry companions teach you how to love and experience it. 

Our furry friends teach us many concepts of life, regardless of whether it is responsibility for caring for them, time management, patience, or even better, what it means to develop love. A sensational bond between pet owners and their animals form with how much time each spends together. This relationship allows human beings to interact meaningfully, whether playing with furry friends or simply taking their dogs for a walk. Thus, having furry friends is experiencing love for your best friend so you can learn how to love others too. 

Our furry friends leave such an irreplaceable impact on us for numerous reasons. I listed four ways my furry friends helped me heal when I moved into my forever home. Undergoing foster care, adoption disruption, adoption dissolution, and abandonment, my big cat made my six-year-old self welcome. I dedicate this piece to my beloved best friend, who passed away a few years ago, which seems like yesterday. In the name of my big cat, I will forever encourage families to adopt, not purchase, cats and dogs. Understanding the power of furry friends, anyone can and will learn that caring for pets is not about you. It is about bonding and loving. 

Ashleigh Ewald (she/her/hers) is a Georgia-based journalist who attends Oglethorpe University. Follow her on IG: @ashleighewaldofficial.

Edited by NaTyshca Pickett

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