It’s no secret; I’m as much of a shut-in as you can be. Not as in being a hermit, because I love having friends and family come for visits in my home, but predominately from repercussions of disability. In light of my circumstances, someone recently asked what keeps me happy; what brings me happiness?
There are a myriad of things that bring me happiness. (You can enjoy many of my other delights in Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html .) But today’s happy topic is my cats.
I’ve had all three of my cats since my SCI, so they think it’s totally normal to live from a wheelchair; although, only two of them take advantage of 24/7 lap privilege.
They make me laugh many times a day at their crazy antics, cute faces, quirky behaviors, and expected responses. They are so-o-o predictable. Aside from the mere joys of having a pet, they’re also good for my health. Laughter is always good for what ails me, and stroking my pets lowers blood pressure.
Did you know that animals provide us with similar social support as people do? Although just like people, my cats sometimes make me cuss!
I know. I know. I’m trying to quit. But I promise I’m making progress. Recently, I was telling my sister about something frustrating that had happened. I don’t remember if it was something I had dropped, broken, or spilled OR if it was the day my 21½ year old female feline pranced, with intention, into my bedroom, raised her fluffy tail, and peed on an antique oriental rug.
Anyway, as a response to my dismay, she asked if I cussed. When I proudly remembered that I hadn’t, she said, “Wow, that would have been the right time to.” So much for my support system!
In my sixty-odd years of loving and observing animals, I know they have the capacity to understand and obey instruction (and disobey), retain good and bad memories thus, make associations, communicate with each other and us, if we choose to listen and observe.
For example, one day when all three of my felines were in the same room with me, I said something to Ciati, my only female. She looked at me, as usual, but the boys looked at her. I already knew that each knew their own name, but I hadn’t witnessed them knowing each others’ name. This new data called for a name-recognition survey.
I addressed Fred by name and said what a good boy he was. As usual, Fred looked up at me then, Ciati and Laptop looked at him. Oh-h-h!
I took my experiment all the way. I called Laptop by name and told him he was also a good boy. Laptop looked at me, and Fred and Ciati looked at him. So-o-o cute! How smart! But then, why shouldn’t they know each other’s name. I call them by name a dozen times a day:
“My boy, Fred.” “Fred’s a handsome boy.” “Fred Astaire!”
“I love my Laptop.” “Laptop’s a good boy.” “Bad behavior, Laptop!”
“Ciati’s a pretty girl.” “Ciati’s my best girl.” “Ciati!”
A secondary reason for my happiness is from a choice to forget offenses, forgive, and look for rainbows during the rain. Sure, there are occasional disability downers, but they pass. I don’t let bad memories spoil my happiness. I’ve chosen to cast them to the wind. In fact, I’m a firm believer that Saturn’s rings comprise bad memories, the other sock, and ALL my unintentionally deleted emails, articles, messages, and manuscripts. I’m a very, very, VERY happy girl!
What’s your ‘happy pill?’