Fireball the “dog”

Fireball the “dog”

For new readers to the blog, our beloved family dog Smooch died unexpectedly while we were on spring break. Coming home and putting away all of her things, and she had a lot of things, was really hard. What happened next has been surprising in an amazing way. Our cat Fireball turned into a dog.

Let me explain more. Smooch was always with me. She sat next to me at my home office desk, next to my chair when I watched TV, followed me everywhere I went, and wanted desperately to sleep with me every single night.

When we came home from Spring Break, Fireball took on this role for me. He literally turned into a dog. That is probably the only reason we have not gotten another dog. The kids have been asking for a few weeks now, but it just doesn’t feel right. I am honoring my Smooch by writing a book about her life with us (which I have made a lot of progress on actually), and I feel like the cats, especially Fireball, deserve this time as the important members of the family. Another dog would drop them in rank for sure.

And it turns out, petting animals is actually good for your health. I had my annual physical yesterday with someone new (my nurse practitioner retired last summer). She is actually the kids’ pediatrician, so not new to our family, but new to me. I explained that I have white coat hypertension, so she asked me to monitor my blood pressure at home just to make sure I do not actually have high blood pressure. The husband brought home a wrist cuff for me to use, and like I thought, it was lower at home. I decided to test out this theory that petting animals is good for you. My results? BP before petting my Fireball was higher than after. It makes sense, right? Petting an animal is soothing. It can not only lower your blood pressure, but also help your body release a relaxation hormone, and cuts down on levels of a stress hormone. It also soothes your pet. So win/win.

I am super grateful for the new role that Fireball has taken to help me. I hope he knows how much I appreciate him right now. What about you? Have any of your pets taken on a new role in your family? Animals are fascinating creatures for sure.

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