Do you ever catch yourself smiling while playing with or watching your pets? They’re just creatures, but also your little goof balls. Your protectors. Your emotional support. Your comfort. They make you happy and you don’t really think about how much so until you catch yourself smiling while they’re just being themselves.
We wonder sometimes ‘What do we do to deserve such understanding animals’? Yes, they may not be able to give you a straight, simple answer to why you are having depressive episodes but they are there to be your shoulder to cry on.
Two years ago, I got my first pet which was a dog called Ralphy and he was everything to me. I adopted him off this couple that was having a baby and needed a new home for him. I began to get to know Ralphy before I adopted him, so I took him for walks so the couple didn’t have to worry about looking after him whilst they had stuff going on. Then, the day came for Ralphy to come home, little did I know he’d be going back there in the next couple of days.. Why you may ask? Well, my mother didn’t like the ‘mess’ he was leaving and I explained to her surely you can’t just take him away from me just like that? The mess he was leaving wasn’t even bad, it was just simple dog hair. So, after all that happened I was torn apart. I always wanted a dog and I finally got one then it was taken away from me.
But then, my parents decided I could adopt a cat. So I decided I wanted to rescue one, so I went to my local cat rescue to see what they had to offer. When I got to the cat rescue, I met some of the cats and the one that came up to me was a black and white male cat. I fell in love with him and decided he was the one! I named him Baloo ( like Baloo the bear out of The Jungle Book ). When I got him home it was like he’s been living there for ages he just settled in so well. It was unbelievable how well he settled, he loved the area we lived in.
A couple of months past and one day something just seemed odd to me. Something didn’t seem right, Baloo didn’t come home for two nights. I was worried, so the next day my parents went out looking for him and I stayed at home just in case he came back. Then, I seen my mom with a black bin bag walking across the road from our neighbours.. I just knew then, he was gone. My mom walked in and explained that the neighbour said he found Baloo dead in his garden and he thinks it’s due to poisoning. I just broken down and it felt like a part of my heart was torn out. Straight away I wanted to bury him in my back garden, so we did.
Months past, my parents sat me down and told me I could adopt another cat from the rescue center. Thoughts were going through my head like ‘Isn’t it a bit too soon’? ‘Surely, I can’t replace Baloo’? I had to think about it for a while till I came to the decision that I was ready to adopt a new cat. So, I went back to the rescue center and I came back out with a ginger male cat called Alfie. It took me a while to get used to the fact that we had a new member to the family and it wasn’t Baloo. Even mom was calling him Baloo.
My mental health began to get bad again, I suffer bad with Bulimia Nervosa and depression and this time my bulimia was happening every night after my parents went to bed. I had no control over what was happening, I would make myself sick then that would lead into my depression getting worse etc. But, then Alfie came into my room one night and just curled up beside me and started purring against me. For the first time in a long while, I felt like someone cared and that someone was an animal. Animals are good therapists even though they can’t answer you it doesn’t mean they cannot help you. I surely learnt that from Alfie and now I couldn’t imagine my life without Alfie we’ve just grown so close and I’m so thankful he came into my life when I needed him.
This one’s for you Baloo and Alfie!
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.