Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Billy, a Very Special Therapy Cat

Anyone who knows me could guess that I would raise some concern over a 4 year old child accidentally injuring or unduly stressing the family cat. Billy however, is a wise cat who has clearly chosen a 4 year old boy as his best pal and he acts as a therapy cat for the child as well. The lovely photos in this story demonstrate the obvious bond between the two and obliterate any concern that the kitty is in danger of being misunderstood by a youngster with limited social and motor skills.

Therapy animals are commonplace these days, as dogs, cats, bunnies, and farmed animals visit elderly and disabled care homes and are often adopted to individuals with disabilities. I've wondered though if the animals sometimes become tired or overwhelmed but carry on their duties because they want so badly to please the people around them. I recall reading that cadaver dogs used at disaster sites routinely become depressed with their task of finding the deceased and that trainers would sometimes plant a live person for the dogs to "rescue" in order to combat this depression. Animals, just like people, need to play and relax. I find that my kitties remind me to take time to sit and enjoy the sun, brush them simply for their pleasure, and give them silly things such as a fresh green bean to play with. I think all animals are actually "therapy animals" when we stop doing and take a moment to be.