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BellaOnline's Midlife Editor

Pets - An Uplifting Gift for Your Emotional and Mental Well-Being

I never had a pet when I was married - my former husband was extremely adverse to having pets of any kind. I should clarify that by saying that for a very brief period I was 'allowed' to have a cat; however, one day when the cat decided to go up on the roof, my then husband decided he wasn't going to let the cat back in the house. We (my daughter and I) were forbidden to ever let him back in the house. Why, I really don't know - it's been a lot of years, and my ex-husband never needed a reason to be irrational. For some strange reason, animals and him never mixed well together.

Needless to say, my daughter and I were devastated that suddenly our pet was taken from us. Our 'Ginji" was relegated to being an alley cat that roamed the streets. It broke our hearts. That is why, years later, after an acrimonious divorce, it was good to know that no one had that kind of power over me and my household anymore. We then inherited a poodle through a good friend of mine - she knew of an elderly woman who could no longer take care of her dog. Even though I did not have much experience with dogs, coupled with the fact that I worked full time and knew it would also be a hardship on the dog - I felt sad and empathized with the woman and her situation, so I decided to take the dog into my home. He was kind of scruffy looking, but he became a member of our little family of two where he lived to a ripe old age before he passed on.

Then there was a period of years before my house saw another pet. I don't know exactly when - or why - I switched my thinking to cats, but I did. I never really liked cats - or saw myself ever owning a cat, but someone told me about a woman who lived near my neighborhood who was selling Persian kittens, and when I saw them, my heart melted. At the time I was dating a guy who wanted to buy one for me, and when we went to see them, I wanted to take them all. I picked one out of the litter, most of them white, but my baby was champagne colored -- and today he is 16 years old, my Macho. He's been my buddy through thick and thin - and there were a lot of years when it was just me and him against the world. He was there to listen. I have always said to him -- if only I could suit him up and put an attache case in his hand, then we would really have been a dynamic duo.

Ten years after bringing Macho home, I saw an ad for Sealpoint Himalayans for sale in the newspaper. I talked my fiance into going with me and looking at them. I explained that Macho was ten years old and he will never know what it is like to have a companion to play with. Well, long story short - we came home with a white and partially grey Himalayan - we named her Chloe Souffle. Today, six years later, she and Macho live together sometimes in harmony - sometimes not - with me. They are my babies and they are spoiled rotten. I love having cats - no walking them - and I can even go away for a couple of days without worrying about who is going to take care of them, or wonder who I could leave them with.

They have been around longer than a lot of supposed friends who have come -- and gone. They are always such a source of comfort and companionship. They've been with me through some tough times. I wouldn't trade my two buddies for the world!

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