It wasn’t hard to see the pattern: I would pet an animal, usually a dog, and feel really happy afterwards. It’s probably been that way my whole life, but I’ve been noticing it more over the last few years. I think that as my health has gotten worse and I’ve been leaving the house less, the joy of being around pets has been more pronounced.
The guy on the right is awesome. He almost always makes me feel better. But I don’t get to see him very often. (And yes, there’s a dog under all that fur!) I need to find a way to pet dogs more often.
Some days I don’t leave the house. Other days I just drive to a doctor appointment or do the grocery store. But when I’m able to walk around my neighborhood, I often see people walking their dogs. Like a little kid, I walk up to strangers and ask to pet their dogs. I’m friendly, and I tell the owners how beautiful/cute/sweet/smart their dogs are, so they’re happy to chat while I pet. This helps, but it’s not enough.
I’ve been thinking that since I can’t care of a dog myself, maybe I should find a way to volunteer at a shelter. With my health issues, of course, I wouldn’t be a very reliable volunteer. But when I saw dozens of cute pooches at the Pride Parade this weekend, I just knew I had to try. Businesses of all kinds set up booths at the festival that follows the parade. Several sell gear for cats and dogs (rainbow bandanas, rainbow leashes, etc.) There were also a couple of nonprofits that work with animals. I was familiar with one of them, so I asked about volunteer opportunities. It might be a good fit.
I’m still nervous about trying to commit to something when I can never be sure in advance which days I’ll be able to leave the house, but it’s sure with trying. Because after petting those dogs at Pride I sure felt a lot better!
Most animal shelters are grateful for any volunteer time you can manage, and it doesn’t have to be on any regular schedule. And heaven knows, those animals need the petting as much as you do. I’d say, go for it.
Thanks, CM. I tried that first place, but their location won’t really work for me. But I’ll keep looking!
Hope you find somewhere. I’ve often thought that if I ever am able to retire, I’d like to volunteer at the SPCA because I got two of my dogs there, and each time I wanted to adopt every single dog or cat in the shelter!
Glad you went to Pride. I have a black labrador puppy, Sable is 5 months now. She is an absolute joy to watch and lovely to stroke. She has definitely made a difference. I am going outside more, in the garden and the green and woods just outside our house.
I am sure any shelter would love for you to come now and again for cuddles. Those poor souls need all the love they can get.
Lorna, I wish you could post a picture in the comments. Lab puppies are just so incredibly adorable! I’m glad you’re enjoying her. I’m not surprised you’re getting out more with her. Even when I just stay with my parents for a week, I get out more because of their dog.
The problem with shelters (and the reason I don’t own a dog of my own) is that they want people not only to pet the dogs and cats, but to walk the dogs and clean up after the animals. Some days I’d be able to do that, but other days I wouldn’t, and I need a place that doesn’t mind if I can’t do the harder work. I’m sure I’ll find a place. It’s on my list – behind a bunch of medical stuff, of course. But I’ll find it 🙂
I will email you one. X
That would be great! It’s msrants at gmail.com