05/11/2019

The Power of Pets

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , at 10:43 am by The Water Bearer

When I was a little girl I was riddled with fear. I now understand that I am highly sensitive and the world is a daunting place for a child when things overwhelm and impact you severely more than your siblings. I felt misunderstood, petrified, ashamed, and broken. When I talk about my childhood in this blog, I usually focus on healing the trauma, but of course trauma is not the whole story.

Every little girl dreams of owning a pony, but as a child of 3 in a home with a single mum, I lowered my expectations to wanting a dog. It wasn’t just a longing, it was a desperate need. I even stole a puppy from a litter our friend’s dog had and told my Mum it just followed me home. “It must be meant to be my dog!” I fibbed. Even after my Mum caved in and let me keep a puppy from another litter the same dog had some years later, we soon realised it was unfair to leave a little dog alone at home all day everyday and my lovely little ‘Buffy’ ended up living out her happy life as a lap dog to my favourite Aunt.

‘Buffy’

Now, when I see how attentive my little Jack Russel is to my mood and sensitivities, and after all the new evidence about the benefits of anxiety pets, it makes sense that as a terrified sensitive child, why I was desperate to have a pet. There is something so spiritually soothing and special about running your hand over the soft fur of a loyal creature who’s purpose in life is simply to make you happy. It’s only now that I’m older and more aware of mental health struggles that I realised the profound impact having a pet can have.

Some years later, when I was on the brink of adolescence, my big sister was given the chance to lease a horse. Mum had always loved horses and had arranged riding lessons for us from when we were toddlers living in England, so when the opportunity arose to exercise and look after this gorgeous Bay gelding in a paddock not far from our home, it seemed too good to be true. “Prince” immediately became a treasured part of our family, and once we were in the local horsey community another horse was leased for me. ‘Crinalea’ was a mountain pony with a bad attitude, but we soon became friends with lots of pony club and practice, and my early teen years filled up quickly with all things horsey.

‘Prince’

Despite the financial struggles, Mum worked her arse off for us to eventually buy Prince, and while Crinalea wasn’t for sale, Mum allowed me to buy my own horse from the Trading Post. He was a stunning chestnut Arabian gelding called “Rusty”. Rusty quickly became my best friend in the entire world! (I have goosebumps covering my legs as I write his name, and happy tears well up). Rusty had been trained to be a dressage horse, (which if you don’t know, is prancing in boring circles) “He doesn’t jump, and he doesn’t do sporting events, he is only a dressage horse!” His owner informed me emphatically. I would have agreed to anything, because I had fallen in love with him the moment I saw him. Rusty and I had some amazing years together, he was the best therapy pet, so trustworthy and such a good listener. Galloping on his back was powerful enough to wash away the most painful of tears and his kisses gave me the unconditional love I craved. Funnily enough after a few months of pony club Rusty proved to be a ribbon-winning sporting horse and a brilliant jumper. He would do anything I asked of him with his whole heart, and soon it was clear that neither of us much like dressage! I was in horsey heaven.

Having a horse taught me so much more than I ever imagined. It taught me the internal fortitude needed to control a huge animal, and a sense of confidence from all that I achieved on Rusty’s back. It taught me about responsibility and duty of care, and once I started working and had to take on the financial burden, I realised Mum had made an impossible dream possible for us. I eventually sold Rusty when I no longer had the time or finances to keep him, and he spent his last years as a cherished horse at a riding school for the disabled. He was the most trustworthy horse they’d ever had and I took my daughter to spoil him with carrots when she was 5 years old. He was fat, happy and retired by then. It was a grateful and teary farewell.

Those years with Rusty remain as the most wonderful part of my childhood, I will forever be grateful for them.

Thanks so much Mum xxx

If you have sensitive children or perhaps you struggle yourself with anxiety, let me give pets a plug. They teach us so much while bringing many blessings. Thank you Lord for the power of pets! 🙌

‘Rusty’

2 Comments »

  1. What is so exciting to me about all animals is each has a unique personality; each are truly one-of-a-kind and bring a unique charm that is a joy to observe.

    Like

    • Hi David, Yes I agree, it just proves to me how amazing our creator God truly is! Thanks for your comment. Blessings to you!

      Like


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