Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TO WRITE: The Animals in Our Lives
To my great sadness, an important member of our household died this weekend: Our cat Onyx grew very ill and had to be put to sleep. Onyx was 21-years-old, ancient for a cat. As her name implies, she was black, and though she had a problem being overweight at one point in her life, she had become very thin and weak and had numerous medical issues.

As we drove home from the vet's office, my husband and I reminisced about the little furball she had been when we got her at eight-weeks-old, how she and her sister loved to sleep inside our shoes back then, how loudly Onyx could purr (you could hear her across the room), how she loved to be combed and have her ears rubbed, how in her shy period she would scramble under our bedspread when she heard the doorbell, how she would cheerfully (and loudly) great us, and how we all loved each other. I also recall how comforting it was to hold her on my lap when my depression pressed down on me -- perhaps she is what got me through sometimes. My heart aches for this long-time friend, but I am glad for her long and, I believe, happy life.

Play with this. . .
Do you have, or have you had, a pet? What does s/he mean to you? Is this creature a comfort when you are ill? How? Write continuously for 15 minutes on your pet, or your first pet, or another animal you've had a relationship with.

11 comments:

Kitty Valerie said...

Animals are perfect to take your depression away.

They say that caressing a dog or a cat lowes your blood pressure.

Interestin blog.

sarah said...

depression is huge. so many struggle with it. Feeling life's not worth anything. Wondering if the book came from your own experiences.

Elizabeth Maynard Schaefer, Ph.D. said...

Hi Kitty Valerie,
I've heard that animals can lower blood pressure too. Isn't it amazing? I'm also getting to know some people who use psychiatric service dogs to help warn them of panic attacks, etc. before they happen. All that warmth from another sensitive creature is wonderful.
Be well,
Beth

Elizabeth Maynard Schaefer, Ph.D. said...

Hi Sarah,
That's for sure -- depression IS huge. Yes, I did write the book from my own experiences. I was severely depressed for most of 14 years, and writing about it, along with medical care, let me pull out of it. Now, among other things, I lead a creative writing class for other people with mood disorders and it has proven very helpful for many of them too.
I wish you good health. Check back in again.
Beth

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