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Living with Anxiety & George

Pet Therapy—Does it work?

By Ellie MayPublished 6 years ago 3 min read

Growing up, I always had pets—cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, chickens, rabbits.

In my final year at university I was struggling; the work load was too much, relationships were strained, and I was suffering a relapse from my Anaemia. One night, talking with my house mate about pets, she had just had one of her rabbits pass, so after a lot of tears and memories shared, we decided to look into a house pet.

Next thing I know, I'm sitting in a ladies house with 5 bouncing kittens running around me. My house mate was sitting next to this gorgeous timid black one, my heart melted; he was the one. George came home with us that night and after spending £100s in pets at home, he was the most spoilt kitten on the planet. George is 2 now and still the most spoilt cat on the planet, but I cannot imagine life without him; he is sweetest little cat.

After uni my mental health spiralled, with the lowest points being spring last year. George gives me a reason to get up in the morning—if I don't he meows and doesn't leave me alone until his breakfast is in his bowl. He goes everywhere with me, to family's houses, sits in the bathroom with me, likes to help try and cook, anything I do—he will be there! Since that night we got him, he has slept next me on my bed—if you turn off all the lights and he isn't in, he comes bolting through the cat flap meowing until he hears you call his name. He HATES being left on his own.

If I'm having a bad day mentally, a cuddle with George can make everything go away, he brings a different type of happiness to my life. Even in my lowest moments, I always think about him—what would happen to George, what if the person who has him doesn't love him like I do, feed him his favourite food, let him sleep on the bed..

George was recently attacked by a big dog and he currently at my mum's whilst I finish moving house and getting repairs done. My mum didn't tell me for a week, she knew how upset I would be and wanted to make sure he didn't have an infection and wasn't badly injured before telling me—even though he is insured. The hole was in the back of his head, around the size of a 5p. I was horrified, he was so timid and not his normal self when I went to see him, I broke my heart that I wasn't there. I went to my boyfriend's that night and burst into tears, all because my anxiety has me thinking in a way that made the situation so much worse than it was. "What if he died, what if he never came home?"—These were the thoughts I was having, when I spoke them out loud, my boyfriend simply said, "He's not though, he's alive and hole is healing and soon he will be living with you." How does he do it? Why doesn't my brain work like that?

To anyone suffering, honestly, George sometimes is my saviour, he keeps me on the straight a narrow. Sometimes now amount of talking to someone or trying to meditate can clear my thoughts, but a cuddle with George does. I recommend getting a pet to anyone suffering from anxiety or depression—it is a therapy like no other.

*George is all healed, has a big bald patch on the back of his head and is back to his normal self since being attacked!


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