The story isn't uncommon; we rescue a pet, but that pet ends up rescuing us. Yes, there are tales of dogs that drag children out of swimming pools and owners out of burning homes. You won’t have to look high and low to find stories of pet-saves-owners-life. However, adopted pets save us in many other ways. Adopted pets rescue us from the fear that unconditional love, forgiveness, and endless devotion are mere figments of our imagination.
The sad truth is that most of the cats and dogs in shelters have lived through unimaginable neglect. Whether homeless, abused, or surrendered, these animals have one thing in common: a broken spirit. Sadly, many millions of animals never make it out of United States shelters, and each year millions of cats and dogs are euthanized for the simple reason that there's no space to keep them. The lucky ones wait patiently in small cages and hope they'll one day wake up without stainless steel under their paws.
You may be uneasy, but offer them a second chance. You take them home and ensure they'll never have to go back to that place. Get them a new leash and a matching collar. Somewhere between the brightly colored toys, rawhide bones, and catnip-filled mice, you realize that none of that matters; you were enough. All your pet needed was the love and empathy you found within yourself; the willingness to give something broken the chance to trust again.
And trust they do. With grace and speed that most of us would find impossible, your four-legged friend leaves the past behind. Memories of neglect give way to unconditional love and companionship. Your pet does not love you any less if you didn't make it to the gym, if you didn't get that promotion, or if you only finished half of your to-do list. Your pet will be there when you're on cloud nine and when your tears are falling into its fur. During your most challenging times, you will have a reason to put your feet on the floor every morning — your pet needs you, even when you think no one else does.
You will remember what your rescue taught you; you are enough and always have been. Material things don’t matter. You are worthy of trust, devotion, and unconditional love. Is it time you considered adopting a pet?
PS: Your new pet might even join you for a yoga session. My husband and I adopted a cat, and she's changed our lives (and the available space on my yoga mat).
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