Yesterday I ran down to Blue Umbrella Books to meet local (Enfield, CT) author Shawn Flynn whose book The Kitty: Who Rescued Me After I Rescued Him was added to my local authors bookshelf a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed the book, his account of moving to a new home where a marmalade cat with big green eyes greeted him and soon became his companion through thick and thin.
It's long been known in the medical and psychology fields that companion animals are quite powerful in their ability to help heal and manage emotional, psychological, and even physical injuries and wounds. Nursing homes have been bringing in cats and dogs as therapy animals for some time now. How does it work? An animal is far less complicated than a human being. Animals do not carry with them all the emotional baggage we human beings do. They love unconditionally. They are affectionate and outgoing, quiet, soothing, undemanding. They listen without judgment or overlaying their own experiences and opinions on top of what you may be suffering. They keep their mouths shut and just offer a very simple type of love that reaches deep into the human heart and psyche and asks for nothing in return. We all need that kind of good medicine in our hectic, crazy, self-centered lives where our brains have been trained to argue and disagree with our fellow human beings because we are always right and everyone else is wrong. We're too quick to give harsh or snappy responses. We have lost the ability to keep out mouths shut and think things through, to look at something from another person's point of view. We inflict psychological and emotional wounds upon one another with careless abandon.
Dogs, cats, birds, snakes, hamsters, fish, horses- whatever our companion animal, reptile, amphibian, avian companion may be- there is no backtalk, no coarse or reckless remarks, no verbal barbs or assaults. There is quiet listening only.
I enjoyed The Kitty because I work as a medical secretary and often write the letters requesting permission for patients to keep a companion animal in their apartment when pets are not normally allowed. I have researched the topic and have a saved copy of a letter in regards to companion/therapy/emotional support animals in my computer that just needs to have a patient's name and type of companion animal added to it.
I do, quite passionately, believe in the ability of companion animals having the ability to make life better. Any pet owner would also agree. A pet brings great comfort in times of emotional upheaval, personal tragedy, times of anxiety and during illness and injury. I recently injured my shoulder and Revere was a great comfort to me. I was not comfortable lying down, sitting in a chair...basically in a lot of pain with no respite from it as I am limited due to multiple allergies as for pain relievers I can take and anti-inflammatories I can use. Revere laid down beside me and purred when I was in bed trying hard to find a comfortable position for my left arm that I could not even move, which also caused me a tremendous amount of anxiety since nothing like that had ever happened to me before- the near total loss of function of a limb. When I was sitting in the recliner he sat on my lap and tried several times to lie across my injured shoulder but I couldn't tolerate his weight on that joint where the injury was located.
During yesterday's presentation Shawn Flynn read from a list of things a cat's purr can heal- and one of them is physical injury. The purr is both soothing, plus the vibrations produced when a cat purrs can cause the physical body to jumpstart the healing process. It promotes healing- therefore, my cat was trying to heal my injury, not just lying across my chest trying to soothe me.
If you have a bookstore in your city and town that hosts author events I strongly urge you to take an hour or so of your time and go to listen to the author's presentation. An author of fiction writes out of their own imagination most times, but many topics are drawn from real life and the author often has some insight into things that may be enlightening. An author who writes about real life experiences that have changed their lives may have something to say that would be of interest to you. Shawn Flynn has a life changing experience to share, but he's also done the research on companion animals and shares that knowledge with the audience and readers. Those of us in attendance yesterday were able to validate our own experiences with the companion animals in our own lives, where they were past or present.
The other asset to meeting local authors is that you are supporting their work, and supporting your local bookstores/businesses, something that helps your community instead of further lining the pockets of the big box stores and online merchants where you are just a credit card number. You gain a personal experience by connecting to a real person. As an author, I know from experience that meeting people in the community often opens new doors and windows in my imagination and in the whole scheme of life in general. Writer's are like therapists, they enjoy listening to your stories because it gives them the ability to make their fictional characters speak more realistically.
Therefore, please excuse me now, I am going to go give Riley Beans and Revere a cuddle before we go house hunting with Kelly this afternoon. Did the household shopping this morning so my shoulder is a little aggravated...maybe I'll encourage my lighter weight Beans to lie across that shoulder for some healing time!
In the meantime, check out Shawn Flynn's book, The Kitty: Who Rescued Me After I Rescued Him. It's available to order from Blue Umbrella Books in Westfield, MA (413-579-5383) and on Amazon.com. I'm sure it's also available at bookclub bookstore and more in Broadbrook CT as well, unfortunately I do not have their new address or their telephone number, but that can be found easily enough with an internet search. Shawn also sells his books at events that help raise money for local animal shelters, donating a part of the proceeds to whatever shelter/ homeless pet project that is hosting the event. Please help support these shelters and homeless pet projects who are often overwhelmed with unwanted kittens, cats, dogs, or animals whose owners have passed away or can no longer care for them. Adopt a companion and live a happier, healthier life for it!