One evening my Fox Terrier wanted to go for his walk urgently, even though it was much earlier than his usual time. I took him out and he pulled as he does down one of his chosen routes to Hampstead Heath, his favourite place. Before we got to the heath he turned and pulled me back in the direction of Hampstead village. He continued pulling me through Flask Walk which brought us out opposite Starbucks, where, sitting on the bench outside was the man who I had promised we’d do a Big Book study that evening and who of course I had completely forgotten. P, London
This indeed a topic very close to my heart. We had a dog Suzy who had to be put down approx 20 years ago. She was a joy to have and I still miss her but just realized how much when I started typing this and its making me cry. Suzy was 18 when she died.
When my son was born she would not leave his side and sat by him when people came to visit she was so protective towards him just like a mother would be. She would growl at people if they came too close to my son. She did not like my ex-husband and whenever we set together she would sit between us and push my ex off the sofa.
We now have a cat, Rocky, who knew my father was ill and I feel that he knew he did not have long to live. He sat on his arm by his bed one day because dad would not let him sit on his bed. He loves my son when I cannot show or give him the love he needs Rocky does. It feels as if he knows my son has issues and my son is so loving and tender with him. When i see my son with the cat it is as if he is expressing the love inside him towards Rocky, which it appears he cannot seem to show to others at the moment. Its beautiful to watch Rocky and my son together – reminding me of the son I gave birth to! S, London
Two weeks out of treatment, I was 20 and standing on my own two feet for the first time ever. I’d moved into a house with five friends, all of whom had jobs, lives, friends and partners. I was re-steadying myself in the world, scared, unsure and vulnerable.
For over a year my default surrounding had been people in recovery, working a programme and we figured stuff out together, supported each other and looked out for each other 24/7, now I had to implement all the resources that had been made so accessible and put them to good use in my life. It was hard, really really hard, I’ve never cried so much. I really struggled to look after myself, not to isolate, get out of bed and dressed, making the little decisions I now make without thinking much about them felt impossible.
There was one day, an afternoon, early July, I was sitting in the house, feeling desperately lonely. I had wanted to get a pet but there was something about that day in particular that made me do it. I found a women who was giving some kittens away, drove to her house and picked up two little girl kittens. In true addict style I hadn’t really thought anything through, I had no cat food, no basket – I just brought a hoodie to wrap them in so I spent the drive home with two eight week old kittens moving around my car!!! Thank god I had enough sense to keep the windows closed.
Those kittens became my reason to get up, they taught me how much love I have to give and how much I can care about another creature – I had never felt anything like it, I didn’t believe I could feel love in fact. Looking after another being, caring how they were treated, exercising patience through their toilet training, trips to the vet for various scraps and scrapes and nursing them after being spayed was an experience that taught me just how able I was to implement care and kindness, so I must be able to look after myself then right?
Now, nearly ten years later, they are still alive and healthy and loved dearly. They are a heartbeat to come home to and I’m sure know a lot more about me than I give them credit for. Without them I don’t think I would have learnt some of those essential things…love, patience, kindness, humour and cuddles. They are frequent stars of my gratitude list! Z, London
Elsa my cat (from the lion in the 60s film Bornfree) is a loving companion, playmate, friend and comfort. Soft, like velvet, she talks to me, is alert and attentive most of the time, bright, and a bit anxious, wild/dangerous, bites playfully with pearly white gripping fangs and slashes her lethal claws. Loves to bite socks…with feet inside! Cardboard boxes are her fav toy, a reminder of when she arrived, tiny, in a cardboard box. She loves the feel and smell. She often thinks inside the box. She’s a hunter, chases and catches wildlife…and eats it! She’s not a big eater, she prefers to snack. She loves the great outdoors, to her nature is a curious beautiful thing, and to lie in the sun is her heaven and makes her calm. Somehow sensitive to my feelings, one night, she saw my trauma. I’d barricaded myself inside a room, she meowed loudly outside ‘til I had to let her in, and then stayed by my side all night. She kept me warm/sane. A kind of saviour. The warm radiator behind my desk is her next best friend! A London
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