Animals as Companions and Healers

Kim TanzerUncategorized

I have always loved animals, dogs in particular. I did rescue a few cats when I was small and saved some stunned birds and a few snakes from being run over on the bike path and also some struggling worms that were in danger of drying out after a rain.

My first dog as an adult, Mo was a rescue greyhound/shepherd/. Mo was a coyote looking boy whose coat resembled Halvah and who was mistaken for a coyote more than once. Mo helped me to re-balance, and helped me dig my way out of a dark place after I had moved from California back to Toronto where I felt like a fish out of water. All of my high school friends were married with kids and suvs and Nannies. My University friends were scattered throughout the US as I was in school in New York and I longed for my California friends and for the openness that is California. I was single and looking for work and very alone.

Mo exemplified unconditional love, non-judgment, and he had a zen-like presence– the time for Mo always being NOW.

I rarely cracked a smile let alone a giggle but when I did, Mo was the reason. He would tear around doing figure eights outside or stick his long nose in the earth and dig around coming up looking like he was some sort of science fiction creature.

Also, Mo gave me a purpose—he needed to walk and run and eat and play. Many days it felt like torture just leaving the house but ultimately having some structure and someone to care for helped lift me up and out.

Just like Bob the stray cat helped his owner in the touching and poignant film A Street Cat named Bob. Bob found his owner, James, a busker and heroin addict, by busting into James’ new assisted living space. James thought someone was breaking into his place only to find a ginger, starving street cat.

Like Mo with me, Bob gave James a reason to be. He still had ups and downs but stayed clean and eventually with Bob’s love and dedication to hang out with James through some lean times, James remained heroin free and even went on to write his story—the story that became the documentary, A Street Cat Named Bob.

Although Mo is no longer on this plane, he is still with me always. I now have my current co pilot, another greyhound mix rescue named Arlo. He is a therapy dog for others and always always a therapy dog for me.

We all need connection and love, meaning and purpose in our lives. Animals, and even plants have the ability to touch our souls and remind us of what matters.