Spending time with animals has always been a way for me to lift my spirits. Animals have a way of accepting you and making you feel special. Our neighbor has a beagle named Joey who acts as if he is over the moon excited every time he sees you. He becomes so excited that he starts to howl. I know he does it to everyone, but it still makes me feel special.

Animals make you laugh, and it is difficult to be sad when you are laughing. Another neighbor has an Australian Shepard puppy. We are buddies so when she sees me and I say, “Miss Hazel!” She comes barreling full speed at me. The only problem is she does not know how to use her brakes yet, so she is not going to stop. To keep her from taking me out at the knees, I have to time it just right, and I open my legs right before impact, and she races through. I laugh every time she does it. It is pure joy running straight at you!

Animals trust you and want to spend time with you. When I let Bandit out of his crate in the morning, I take a few minutes to rub his belly and talk to him. Both cats wander over to say good morning and see if they can have some attention too. When your animals lie on their backs, it is a sign they trust you. The minute I sit down, there are three animals vying for my attention, and I love it.

Showing an animal love and taking care of it can be calming and rewarding. It gives us a sense of purpose. It is even better when they show us that love. Another neighbor has a massive pitbull named Floyd. He and Bandit love to play, and when I come out to see him, he trots over and leans against me so I can give him belly rubs.

I’m sure there are many other reasons that animals can be therapeutic. They become our family and enrich our lives.

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