CPTSD is caused by relationships with bad people, but how do we, as adults, separate the good from the bad. I’m at that point where I’m learning about myself and barely trust myself so the idea of trusting others is a bit too much. So, right now, the only new “people” I trust are furry and can lick their own private parts. Here’s why furry critters help me:

1. They believe me.
I don’t have to worry that they won’t accept what I have to say. In fact, by the second hour of my confession, my dog is usually laying on its back with its feet in the air, snoring and legs moving as it chases rabbits in its dreams.

2. They don’t judge.
I can say ANYTHING to my dog and his response is always the same. I love you (please feed me). I really love you (how about some of that leftover chicken?) I really, really love you (didn’t I see some steak in the fridge?)

3. They trust me.
I love to hike and if I go up the side of a cliff, my dog simply follows. He doesn’t look at me sideways, sit down and tell me that I’m crazy. (I am).

4. They are safe.
Cuddling with a critter is the safest place possible. No matter what member of the animal kingdom—furry, reptile, bird—you can trust them. One caveat is that if you have not fed them on time that day, all bets are off.

5. They love you more than anyone or anything in the world.
When they see you, it’s always like the first time. They immediately run to you for hugs. It doesn’t matter that after a very rough day, you have nothing left to give—they have enough for both of you.

The funny thing about rejecting people and embracing animals is that they are actually a bridge to relationships with people. It’s darned difficult to walk a dog without someone commenting on how pretty she is or without her happily violating someone’s personal space between their legs. An embarrassing situation that is not helped by her happy, sloppy smile and repetition of said offense. It really takes conversations to a whole new level very quickly.

You will find, that no matter the type of pet you have, there is a tight-knit community online and in-person to celebrate your wonderful pets. My daughter breeds geckos (little strange-looking lizards) and she has friends all over the world that are obsessed with the little aliens.

Right now, I am overwhelmed and the idea of owning a pet again—it is just too much responsibility when every day is a hurdle. But, it hasn’t stopped me from being with animals. I am riding a friend’s horse and walking my aunt’s dog. I am happy to be Auntie Bel until one day, I can be a mommy again.

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