Setting: Stereotypical post-World War II Baby Boomers suburban household. Cast: Mom, Dad, three girls and a boy, born between 1949 and 1961. However, no pets, despite Dad being a bona fide dog and cat lover. Mom had often declared that it was her or a pet. While the kids at times considered the potential advantages of such a trade, Dad never challenged it. He was devoted to Mom, so the household stayed furry pet-free, though fish, birds and an occasional turtle were allowed. Dad and the kids lavished attention on neighbors’ and friends’ four-footed friends, but Mom stayed firm. The occasional stray dog found its way into the backyard and was allowed to stay there while the owner’s number on the dog’s tag was called. Mom didn’t hate or abuse animals—she just didn’t want them in her house.
She had her reasons—the family knew them and reluctantly respected them. She had been severely bitten on the leg by a dog while riding a bike as a kid, and when pregnant with her first child, she was chased down the street by a neighbor’s retired police dog. He didn’t get her, but it shook her up badly. She was now deathly afraid of dogs and just didn’t like cats.
As the kids grew up and left the nest, each one quickly acquired what had been denied to them as children. Dogs, cats or both became treasured members of all four households. Mom tolerated the furry creatures, as long as the big Lab at the oldest daughter’s house or the son’s Golden Retriever stayed out of her lap. Dad was in heaven when he visited the kids’ houses and showered his furry grandchildren with attention.
However, all was not idyllic. Dad had developed some severe anxiety issues, mostly brought on by a high-stress job, which became even worse after a close friend died unexpectedly in his late 40’s. Dad self-medicated with a cocktail or two every night along with prescription tranquilizers. The stress took a toll on him physically, and at the age of 60, he began to develop symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. The disease progressed quickly, and at the age of 67, Dad passed away from complications.
When the children got together after that, comments were often made that Dad would have lived a lot longer if Mom would have let him have a dog, particularly after the kids had all left the house and things had gotten so bad at work. Caring for the dog and receiving unconditional love back would have helped release and relieve some of his stress. All the kids freely acknowledged how much emotional support their pets provided them when they needed it—not just dogs but cats as well. “I even offered them one of Brandy’s puppies,” the oldest daughter remarked. “I would have had it trained as a support dog. But it was no-go.”
But Is It a True Story?
The historical aspect of the story is 100% true; it applies to the lead author’s family. But would a pet really have helped this man cope with his stress and live a healthier life?
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Up Close And Purr-sonal
While cat people can seem to be just about the cats, they’re almost always about other things, too. In the case of Sibyl Zaden, that’s actually a LOT of other things: the arts, politics, academia, marathons, triathlons, and more.
Help! My Cat Is Stuck In A Tree!
It happens in an instant. Your door is open a split second too long, and your indoor-only cat is outside and up a tree—way up a tree, beyond reach of most ladders. You hear the piteous cries from above. Now what?
Why Pet Insurance Belongs in Your Kitten Kit
Most of us send our kittens off to their new homes accompanied by a packet of information: food samples, toys, vet records and lots more essentials and goodies. We want our kittens to get off on the right foot! Unfortunately, with the rapidly increasing cost of vet care, there are sure to be unforeseen expenses as the kitten matures, and very few of us educate new owners on how to manage the risk of major vet bills down the road.
What You Don't Know About Burmese
The Chatty Cathy of Cats … Burmese, Please!!!
Patrick Learns of a Sweet Girl's Passing in this 'Life With Patrick' Crossover
Lucille a reminiscence of GC, GPD, NW McPride Lucille Ball of Jaspurrcats, owned by Beth Feiniger
New Rules for Flying with Pets
On December 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it was revising its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transport of services animals by air.5 One of the main revisions to the act was airlines would no longer to be required to treat emotional support animals (ESAs) as service animals. Airlines are required to allow service animals to fly in the cabin free of charge with their owners. Prior to this ruling, pets that the traveler needed to provide them with emotional support had been able to fly for no charge. The only documentation a traveler was required to produce was a letter from a licensed mental health professional that the traveler had some sort of emotional disability that required them to travel with a pet.
If Fluffy Can't Brush The Dental Health Challenge
Part of our everyday grooming routine is oral hygiene; we know we should brush and floss our teeth twice a day, and according to dental hygienists, for two minutes at each brushing. But consider the cat. Unless it became accustomed to a tooth brushing regimen during kittenhood, tending to an adult cat’s teeth may be difficult at best or impossible at worst, compared to “pulling teeth” if our readers will pardon the pun.
Names. Oh, what an important choice in the life of cat! It is how a cat will be known in the show rings and in daily life. A name can alternate between words of delight or new forms of cursing. Each name tells a story and this is the story of GC RW Starbourne Three Ring Circus, aka Ellie
CFA Breeder Publishes New Book About Siberians
A new breed book, The Siberian Cat, written by long-term CFA breeder Alice Wright, was released via Amazon, in paperback and Kindle formats on May 26, 2021. The book is a comprehensive history of the breed, providing extensive details of how the Siberian cat has traveled and expanded its conquest into hearts and families all over the world.
A Short Tale From a Short Season
Most of us have had that special cat—a heart cat with whom we had a deep connection. It may have been one we had as a child, or one that saw us through a troubled time, or one with whom we bonded as we exhibited at cat shows. Whether the cat found us or we sought it out, the connections cannot be denied. These are the stories of some of those special cats and what they meant to us.
KATY'S OLD-HOLLYWOOD DREAMS!
SUPERFAN Katy Perry is playing host on the new podcast Elizabeth the First, about screen legend Elizabeth Taylor.
FOCUSING ON WHAT MATTERS MOMENT BY MOMENT
The Summer 2002 issue of S&H included this still-timely article
RESTORING RELATIONSHIPS to Ourselves, to One Another, and to the Earth
AN INTERVIEW WITH FARIHA RÓISÍN
Surprising ways meditation can help your brain stay sharp and agile.
BRITNEY TOXIC PREGNANCY!
Fears perinatal depression will cripple singer again
To Your Health
Here's what's extra good for you in this issue.
Sex, Love, and Art in the Suburbs
What happens when life doesn't go as planned? Now in his 40s, a former bohemian comes to terms with a kind of life and love very different from what he'd expected.
Is Your Routine Actually Keeping You Stuck in a Rut?
What's the difference between having some structure in your life and feeling like you're on repeat? It has a lot to do with perspective.
Harvey Fierstein's I Was Better Last Night is part memoir and part firsthand account of modern gay history
Love animates the World
CHARLOTTE DUFOUR is a veteran in the fields of international cooperation and sustainable food systems. Here she is interviewed by KALPANA SAI of the Heartfulness Institute about the role of Yoga and spirituality in mental health and wellness. She shares some solutions for a world that seems more anxious and disconnected than ever