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!