I may not be a dog person, but I am acutely aware of the joy, love and hope a beloved pet can bring.

During the worst of my depression last year, I had nothing left to give. I had no energy, no will, desire or hope. I couldn’t care for, support or offer a listening ear to anyone. I had nothing to give. Nothing at all.

The well was empty.

My beautiful Burmese cat would crawl into my arms and just lay there – warm, soft, peaceful and loving. I didn’t need to give him anything – just soak up his warmth and love and feel a moment of reprieve from the demons in my head and the despair in my soul. I could focus on his purring and remember the world still has warmth and hope in it.

The love of a pet is innocent and unconditional. There is no guilt in just soaking up that purring bliss. I feel no sense of burden – no sense I should be listening to someone else’s story. No guilt that my issues are a burden on someone else’s shoulders. A loving cat curled up on my lap is just pure, unadulterated, unburdened, trusting, giving, love.

I cannot articulate the relief it felt to hold him, pet him and love him. To feel his gentle purring motor sending comfort through my soul. To be loved without need for reciprocation.

The love of my cat gave me moments of reprieve in my darkest moments.

The world needs pets. Whether our furry love is a dog, cat, cow or ferret – or even a bird, snake, iguana or hermit crab – that pet is wholeheartedly an integral part of the family, and can become an essential part of recovery.

I am deeply and intrinsically grateful, for the love of my cat.

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