Cats and Dogs and Trauma Survivors By Kathy Broady MSW 9 Comments My cats and dogs have been so very important to me… How about for you? Related Posts Cats and Dogs and Trauma SurvivorsPets are very important to trauma survivors for a variety of reasons. Cats and Dogs and Trauma SurvivorsPets are very important to trauma survivors for a variety of reasons. Hotmail, Mailboxes, and Dissociative Identity DisorderA fun metaphor of how a mailbox can relate to dissociative identity disorder.
Kelley M Gaither says
I don’t have D.I.D.,but I am a molestation survivor. I’m also studying to become a mental health counselor so I can help kids and teens as I was helped. I’m owned by two dogs, Tatonka(17 yr old cairn terrier/dasuchund mix that has been with me since she was six weeks old) and Strider(4 yr old Lab mix that claimed me at the humane society with his look of ‘so,when we goin’ home?’),and three cats..4 yr old Sanchez(Ragamuffin mix,and such a lover!)Selina(3 yr old Calico,named after Selina Kyle,aka Catwoman,my comic book hero growing up!) and my newest addition,Dakota(3 months old,adopted from my vet after he was left out by the local bank..best 30 bucks I’ve ever spent!). I can totally relate to the maternal outlet because I’m the one all my friends come to when they find a suckling kitten,lol. I’ve fed so many out that it’s become routine,and it really is like being a new parent in a lot of ways. You have to get up every 2-4 hours and feed them,make sure they go potty(my advice to anyone considering doing this is the same as for a new parent..snatch sleep when they do!),and when you have to go somewhere they can’t(i know for me it was most often my horseback riding lessons),have a reliable sitter. I thank God for ‘grandma’,my mom is always willing to sit them for a few hours while I go do what I need to. My molestation happened quite a bit in the side yard of the house I now own,so having Strider and Tonka with me as ‘anchors’ has been vital to desensitization. They’re an anchor to the here and now. Strider makes me smile as I’m unwinding for bed,and the feeling of safety while I’m sleeping that he provides is incredible. Tonka’s my car riding buddy,and while her steps have slowed,and I know that she’ll soon cross The Rainbow Bridge, the friendship and stalwart guardianship of my sanity will live on far past her.
I lost both my cats ( mum and daughter) both to inoperable cancer just 3 months apart 14 years ago. That was my ‘annus horribilus’ – in the january i was severely carbon monoxide poisoned leaving me with fibromyalgia, in constant pain and no restorative sleep, 3 months later, the day after my 39th birthday i spent 40 hours with my daughter as she gave birth to my granddaughter. She couldnt care for her, so i became a fulltime grandma. 2 weeks later my parents renewed their vows on their ruby wedding, my dad had parkinsons and had had 11 TIAs, 2 weeks later he collapsed with horrific stroke, left only able to breathe, in the august Dusty, the daughter cat died and hubby buried her. I had wrapped her in a real gold thread pashmina, my most precious possession.
On 1st november my dads best friend died and at his funeral all i could think was when will be burying my dad (he died exactly 2 months later on new years day).
Later in november Suzi the mother cat died unexpectedly. I was with her. My 13 year old son said he had never seen me cry so much, even more than when his dad had moved out briefly. I kept her in my bedroom for 4 days, just couldnt bury her. If anyone in our home cried, she howled, she was so empathetic. Eventually i had to bury her next to her daughter, they have beautiful memorial vases and silk flowers. I can never have another cat as it traumatised me so badly. Cats give sort of unconditional love and affection which i have never really had, ever. Still now late at night i feel i hear them crying. When our boundary hedge was forcibly removed close to their graves last year, the retraumatisation was horrific. Thankfully my neighbours mum understood, in part, my pain, and supervised work closeby and she even weeded close to their graves as an act of respect and talked to my cats as she worked. I cried tears of thankfulness, as she told me that.
Oh Fi! It WAS an “annus horribilus”……I get the crying more over your pet than anything…..It has been almost a year now and I still SO miss Mr. Murphy and Kendra – our last two cats….I still come in the door from work at night and my heart aches because I no longer see him sitting there watching the door and waiting for me…..We miss him SO, SO much…..
Hubby commented this morning that he didn’t like me watching “animal rescue” shows on TV (he said he was just teasing me….) ….He was afraid I was planning on turning our home into a rescue – foster operation…….(Honestly that would be FINE with me – I can’t bear to see animals abandoned and alone and hurting)……Our little Inside boy keeps the wooden cat Christmas tree ornament nearby so we can see the “look-alike” of Mr. Murphy……
We sure do miss him – more than words can tell – almost more than the heart can bear……..
Thank you for sharing such a painful time in your life. I understand the trauma of loosing a pet. It always makes me not to want to ever bond with an animal again and then … there I go doing it anyway. Maybe because of what you said – “Cats give sort of unconditional love and affection which i have never really had, ever.” So true and so endearing. Animals just draw you into their love energy.
i am so happy that I have a dog again…i missed it for years.. we had a dog when I was a child and the dog was safe..he was always the same , I could rely on him..dogs love you just the way you are..skinny, fat, sleepy, awake..it doesn’t matter at all. When you treat them well, they love you and their love is..how do you call? Unconditional!! I almost don’t dare to say, but I think I love animals, especially dogs ( but also cats and our cat and horses and hammies and everything!) even more than people…sorry to say..i love my wife, really..but my dog..yeah..she is my dog…and I call her my “ lifeline”,😍
my dogs and cats are the reason I am alive
Aaaand because with people they always want communicationin words and sttuffs and we not is good at that and the dogs they not talks but still they understands and we dotn feel scared in trouble for not able to talk or get the words 🙂
Kathy Broady says
Exactly, Sally, thanks for your comment. Dogs can somehow feel or sense what you need to say, or don’t want to say. They don’t have to have words to talk with you. Dogs and cats talk in other ways, and that is just wonderful!!
Good point. Your words here were very clear, and well said. You’re not in trouble for writing here! 🙂
You missed one!
I have a scardy-cat. I see him every day, so he’s definitely better than some indoor feral cats. But I can’t touch him unless he comes to me. He needs to be in control of the situation, and I love him anyway.
But when hurting humans do that, they feel unlove-able, or like there won’t be food anymore. I still feed the cat even if I can’t touch him.