Coping with Parkinson's With Help From My Pets

We have had a pet companion in our lives since we moved to our home 20 years ago. Our beloved Golden Retriever, Sam, was our first “furry family” member. We adopted him at the animal shelter at the age of 6. He made us laugh, was the best shedder of all-time, would nap anywhere, and filled our hearts with joy.

Next was Shadow, our British Shorthair street cat, who came into our home because of her love for Sam. She had no time for us until Sam passed away from cancer six months after Shadow came into our home. Shadow went from not wanting to be petted to taking all the space (bed hog) in our bed. We had to upgrade our bed size from queen to king to accommodate her!! She was in our lives for 14 years. This cat surrounded us with unconditional love, eased the pain of grief from Sam’s death, distracted us from challenges of living with Parkinson’s, and acted like a queen! She also trained our dog, Lily on the ways of the household.

The comfort of pets

Lily is our fun loving, goofy, sporty, chocolate Labrador Retriever. Even at 10 years old, Lily has the energy of a three-year-old dog! Always greeting everyone with a bark, big tail wag, and a smile! And yes, Lily does smile. She is constantly acting like a clown; smiling, carrying a toy, and just waiting to dribble water on your lap! We can’t help but smile every morning that Lily sticks that big, dark snout in our faces and gives her morning smile and snort. She keeps us laughing and constantly on our toes. As sweet as she is, she thinks stealing shoes and clothing is hilarious — maybe it is, but we won’t admit it to her.

The most important thing all these creatures have in common is unconditional understanding and love for us both! They comfort us when we have a bad day, they always listen to us in good times and not so good times, and they constantly show us their love. All of this makes every day brighter!

Karl Robb also made a significant contribution to this article. Read more of his articles here.

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