Comfort Animals

I often have trouble sleeping and have a lot of stress-induced nightmares. I find great comfort in reaching out in the darkness to feel the furry warmth of a dog next to me or a cat sleeping on top of me (yes, even Shiva). Their soft, warm presence is a tether to reality in the misty haze of dreams; everything is fine- it’s only a bad dreamsleep. Okay…sometimes Shiva IS the nightmare.


Since my soul dog Guinness, I have slept with at least one animal either in a dog bed right next the bed or (preferably) in the bed with me. I like having the pack all together in whatever form that takes. It brings me peace and makes me feel safe.

Over the years I have enjoyed the solace and companionship of several different special animals, each ferrying me through periods of my life, each with distinct personalities and each with a direct impact on enhancing the quality of my life. If I’m honest, I often prefer the company of animals over most people.

Cooper, the ultimate nap bud and footboard tap dancer.and bed hog.

Sophie, the best bed buddy, always moving to accommodate her humans.

What is it about being with animals that is so comforting, that brings such a cocoon of safety to us? I know that part of it is genetic- we’ve had a bond with animals over the millennia, but why? For me, perhaps especially as such an introvert, I gravitate to the quiet, grounding presence of an animal. They don’t judge us (okay, maybe Shiva does), they love us unconditionally, they give us something beautiful and peaceful to focus on in a world that it often cold and harsh. I look into their eyes and see the wisdom of old souls. Marley…

Nothing is more calming to me than sitting by the fire with our animals or enjoying the beauty of our gardens or views of the city, Marley at my feet. Animals- especially dogs- have shared my life since I was born. As a toddler I walked around our back yard holding onto the fur of our collie, Pat. I learned responsibility caring for dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, goldfish, and turtles (my mother was a saint…a saint who also loved animals).

My animals have been with me through my greatest joys, my deepest sorrows, and everything in between. They’ve kept my secrets and eased my heartache, their fur sometimes wet with my tears. They’ve been there with me for beginnings and endings, and I’ve kept my promise to them and have always been with them to the end.

Sweet Sophie, young and old.

I can’t imagine not having an animal in my life, not being greeted by a wagging tail when I walk through the door after a long day at work. They are touchstones to me, constantly reminding me that there is good in the world. They ask nothing of us but love because they are nothing but love. Love wrapped in fur.

4 thoughts on “Comfort Animals

  1. Beautiful post, Denise….my feelings about my two pups exactly. Couldn’t imagine life without them. And it’s funny, my husband and I refer to different times in our life in terms of the dogs or cats we had at the time…the “Beagle” era, or “when we had a housefull of Labs”, etc. Makes me smile with all those wonderful memories.

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