You’ve had a tough day at work and a horrible commute home. You open the front door to find your two cats and dog waiting to greet you. You smile and begin to relax. What could be better?
“Words can’t describe the excitement that you see in their eyes when you arrive home each day, the devotion they have for you. The love is far beyond what humans show for each other. All they want in return is a little food, a treat once in a while, play time, and most of all, love and attention. My four white German Shepherds make each day on this earth a better day for me,” said member Ron B.
Read on for more pet stories.
Please note that the following tips from members do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These tips are intended as general information only. Please consult your physician for specific advice.
They bring unconditional love and calmness to a hectic day. No one loves you more!
— Suzanne A.
My pet is my treasure. He is a Canine Companion for Independence Service Animal named Luke. I believe he is sent from heaven because He heard my prayers for a sweet dog, and he did not cost me a dime. I have MS, and this qualified me for a service animal.
Luke is my service dog, so he works for me. He is a Golden Lab mix. He knows 40-plus commands he learned as a pup for specific tasks. So smart! He straightens up when I put his vest on, knowing he is not to solicit pets from people and to ignore everyone but me.
I am so grateful for his companionship. I am responsible for his grooming, which includes teeth brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning and bathing/brushing. The gentleness and love he shows me is my present from heaven.
He seems to favor my husband and gets so excited at the sight of him. This is Luke’s down time. He gets to show his puppy side when not working. My husband plays with him and walks with him.
Like all dogs, Luke loves unconditionally and leaves behind his golden hair to remind us.
— Karla B.
I didn’t want a dog. I was a cat person. They are easy, soft and don’t need to be walked. So when my husband, young son and I moved to a new state, we took our cat with us, but my little boy needed a friend. I was suddenly thrust into the puppy world.
Eaten shoes, torn carpet, pet spills — they were no joke. But the joke was on me. I’m actually a dog person now. Ranger — that smelly, crazy, demanding dog — is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. She is addicted to ball-retrieving in our backyard pool. When my older son broke his foot, I resorted to paying neighborhood kids to play pool-fetch with her or she would throw tennis balls at me all day.
My youngest child is frequently ill, and when life gets us down, that dog is there to sit in his lap and force us to get out of the house and get exercise. She breaks the ice with neighbors with her unique look, razor-sharp wit and intense eyes. When my husband is gone on a business trip and I hear a noise, I’m comforted by the fact that if the dog isn’t barking, there is no one there, and I’m safe.
When my boys have had a bad day and they feel the world is against them, the dog is there to prance out to greet them like they are the best things on earth and they ARE special to someone.
When I’m stressed, she and I lay on my bed. Just petting her soft fur makes my heart rate go down and my troubles melt away for a few moments. Yep, I would say my pet does make my life better.
— Christina B.
I have mitral valve prolapse. It causes my heart rate to get very fast, usually in the middle of the night. This is a problem I have suffered with since I was in my teens. I take medicine for it, but I still have breakthrough episodes of my heart racing.
A few years ago, my daughter brought a cat to our house, and he has made a huge difference in my health. When I would get up at night with my heart racing, I believe he could sense something was wrong. He would sit in the chair with me and lay on my chest. We have had our cat for several years now. I have seen a decrease in my heart-racing episodes. I tell everyone that he is my therapy cat. He brings peace and comfort to me.
— Julie D.
We have three cats — two females and one male. While the girls are affectionate, the younger male waits for me to get home and fusses over me. He sleeps with us, and all night he gently walks around checking on us. All three cats will take turns cuddling with us and relax us with their purring.
— Robert M.
We love dogs, but currently have just a cat. But what a cat! Shadow thinks he’s a dog. He loves to play fetch with a little plastic ring that we flip across the room. He chases it, picks it up in his mouth and brings it back to us to do all over again. And again. And again.
And he keeps us laughing (which is good for our health!). Shadow likes to hide behind something, then leap out at us, all four legs splayed in the air, then he runs away. For now, our cat is plenty fun — and cuddly, too.
— Dave and Neta J.
My dog, Sera (short for Serendipity) is a laid back, furry family member that gives unconditional love and never asks to borrow the car.
She generally looks cranky/unamused (that’s just her face), but she is really a sweet dog. She was a rescue that started out as a foster. We walk every day, and she makes my heart and soul smile despite her recent need for 3 a.m. potty breaks. I love my doghter (doggy daughter) and couldn’t imagine life without her.
— Darlene P.
My husband and I have four cats who make our lives better. Aslan loves to play bouncy ball — bringing it to us, meowing to play and bringing it back for more. Ishme loves his whirly gig toy — chasing it and bringing it back to have us re-shoot. Georg talks to us and is very particular about telling us when to go to bed. Leyte loves to either watch TV or sit with me while I read a book. There are certain movies that she likes. She also loves to be read to — stories about other cats of course.
Playing with our cats gets us to exercise and helps us through stressful times (purrs are wonderful). When I was depressed, knowing that I had a responsibility to feed and clean someone’s litter box got me through a rough time.
— Sue T.
Just petting my dog, Cello, brings me joy, and I can feel stress decreasing. But there is also the responsibility and commitment I’ve made to her that gets us out of the house for our daily walk(s). Just that look of expectation on her face is the motivation to get out in nature, breathe and enjoy all that life has given us.
And because she’s so cute, people stop and engage us in conversation. I’ve noticed others, including seniors, walking with their dogs. Dogs get people moving when otherwise they may be alone at home.
I also have love birds. My 90-year-old aunt adopted two. Now most of our conversations are about what Pete and Angie (her birds) did that day. Birds bring good chi into a house — bringing not only positive energy but the joy of their chirps/singing.
I can’t imagine life without pets. They bring so much joy!
— Penny P.
My husband’s grown daughter, Susan, lives with us. She has a myriad of medical issues, including Graves’ disease, diabetes and ulcerative colitis. A couple of years ago, I rescued Kobe, a 6-year-old Cocker Spaniel.
Kobe and Susan took to each other right away. She walks him three times a day. Susan has gone from an unhappy, very overweight couch potato to losing quite a bit of weight. She is more outgoing, she feels better, looks better and is so happy. My husband and I have also benefited from our four-legged family member!
— Deb T.
Having my dog, Jade, in my life makes me love to get up early in the morning. When I'm feeling down or just not feeling good, she makes me smile. When I talk to her, she knows what I'm saying and she reacts. She completes me. I tell her every day how much I love her.
— Dionne H.
About 11 years ago, I gave into my family’s pleas to get a dog. We adopted Cooper, a tan and white lab-mix pup with a black-tipped tail and funny little wrinkles on his forehead. He ended up helping us through some rough times when my husband and I found ourselves out of work, and later when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
After having two surgeries, I was hurting, tired, broke and terrified of starting radiation. My new-found anxiety was making it hard to get out of bed. My faithful Cooper would lie on the floor next to my bed every day. One particularly bad day my husband encouraged Cooper to jump up on the bed, breaking our house rule, to lay with me. That moment changed my life and my recovery.
Cooper would gently lay with his head on my stomach and just look at me, his curious little wrinkles melting my heart. I knew that I had to get up. I had to stop waiting to feel better and get moving to make myself better.
Somehow those soulful dog eyes had said so much to me. My family and friends said a thousand words of support and comfort, but it was the eyes of my beloved dog that spoke to my heart. He continues to inspire me to do more, move more.
— Patti S.
I suffer from severe hypertension, and just looking at Rafa (a Bouvier) makes me very happy. He keeps my blood pressure down. Our daily walks have allowed me to lose weight and maintain it. We talk to people on our walks, and he’s greatly improved that interaction.
Because he is well trained, he comes with me to work. We have traveled across the country. There were times when I was sleepy while driving, and he licked me on the face to keep awake. That’s a good boy!!!
— Mike G.
Shortly after I retired in 2015, my 19-year-old cat died. I grieved long and hard. Though it was difficult to think about another pet, I knew it was important not to live alone.
After searching for a new cat for months, I still hadn’t found the right match. That’s when Rufus found me. He’s a big red and white Maine Coon. He is calm and quiet and a goof. And such good company.
No one should live alone. We all need to give and receive love, to care for something outside of ourselves, to know that we are needed. It’s the most human part of us. A pet fills that need perfectly.
— Nancy W.
I got a cat during a very stressful time in my life. My parents were going through a divorce at the same time I was transitioning from college to a job and moving out on my own. I was so overwhelmed and sad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment.
My cat made my apartment feel more like a home. The relaxation and calmness I felt was such a relief. The best part of having my cat is that he truly helps with my sleep issues. When I’m restless, he comes and lays on top of me, which makes it hard to move, and I fall asleep immediately. Pets are truly their own unique form of medicine.
— Devon C.
I suffer from mild depression. My pets — two dogs and a sugar glider — are my source of peace. When I get home, they are so happy to see me. No human has ever responded to my presence like them.
Sources: How Pets Help Manage Depression , WebMD; Survey: Pet Owners and the Human-Animal Bond, Human Animal Bond Research Institute, 2016; The health benefits and risks of pet ownership, Harvard Medical School Health Letter, 2016; Pets as Companion Animals as a Conduit for Getting to Know People, Friendship Formation and Social Support, PLOS ONE, 2015; National Pet Week, American Veterinary Medical Association; Be Kind to Animals Week, American Humane, 2018