There are thousands of human heroes saving us all during the pandemic: nurses, doctors, truckers, janitors, IT professionals, delivery people (UPS, USPS, FedEx), etc. But there are just as many – maybe more – tireless therapists working in our homes 24/7 to get us through the pandemic. Yes, if we are honest, all of our dogs, cats, parrots, etc. have become our therapy animals. Most of them are untrained and won’t get the special vest, but their work is unending. I invite all pet owners to join me in appreciating the round-the-clock work that they do!
River is our youngest, and yet she has enthusiastically jumped into the fray. I see her going to each family member throughout the day, checking in, and dispensing her special brand of love. If someone ignores her, she will lick an elbow to get the human’s attention. She knows that it’s good for us to look up from the screen periodically. She knows that we need quiet affection without judgment for our mismatched wardrobe and stretchy pants. She knows that the love she’s beaming at us is what we need.
We have a new person living in our house, a friend of a friend of our youngest who had nowhere to live when his semester abroad was suddenly canceled mid-semester, and he had no campus housing available. This poor soul doesn’t know any of us, is trying to salvage his academic work and GPA, and deal with our family rhythms and personalities. After watching for a few days, realizing that this new person is not going away and is not a threat, River has taken him on as her own. River has incorporated his young man into her fold, ministering to him just like the rest of the family.
Gracie is also chipping in. She has come to the new guy for petting before laying her head on his shoulder for a good purr. The healing power of the purr is strong in this one, and she ministers to the young man without holding back because that’s what therapists do. She moves on for a nap before engaging with one of the other humans; a cat’s work is never done.
Each companion animal contributes in their way, and we appreciate their willingness to go for a walk or a cuddle – whatever we need. They are supporting us just like they do every day, but now we are home all the time. Just like that, they up their service hours and continue to provide the affection and distraction that we need to stay sane and connected during difficult times.
Three cheers for our home heroes!