Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of anxiety.
Animals, for as long as I can remember, have always been a passion of mine. They have always been a big part of my life. So, while I was fighting some of my hardest battles, it's not an exaggeration to say they saved me.
I've been in and out of hospital for pretty much my entire life. So, for a long time, I wasn't really allowed to be around many animals due to infection risks. However, adopting an animal was something that gave me hope through those times. Eventually, while I was incredibly unwell, I was given permission to adopt a cat as the medical team wanted to focus more on my mental wellbeing. The very next day, my family and I adopted the perfect cat - Crystal!
For six months after adopting her, Crystal never left my side. She sat with me and comforted me through so many horrible moments. Today, she still snuggles up with me if I'm not feeling very well or feeling a bit anxious.
In 2018, I was paired up with my service dog, Wren. Wren has been with me through some of my most difficult periods in terms of my mental health. She has been with me in hospital, she has supported and comforted me through so much and is a source of unconditional love and endless laughter for me. We’ve had a lot of experiences and opportunities together and I’m so immensely grateful to have Wren in my life.
When I’m not feeling very well, mentally or physically, Wren is always by my side. When we’re out and about, she helps me feel more calm, more confident. If I’m feeling down or anxious, her cheeky antics always brighten my day.
Through all my challenges, animals have been there and helped me through it. They have always comforted me and given me a purpose. I cannot say enough how much of an impact they have had on my life, my health and my well-being. My animals have truly saved my life on so many occasions.
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