Animals bring special ‘connection’

According to Wikipedia, the humananimal bond can be defined as “a connection between people and animals, domestic or wild.” Animals were once used solely for a functional purposes – horses for transportation, dogs for protection, hunting, and herding, and cats for rodent control. Today, a pet’s purpose is mainly for human companionship. A study through the University of Pennsylvania found that a physical connection with animals significantly reduces the symptoms of stress including heart rate, anxiety, and blood pressure.

Almost everyone has that one special pet with whom they share this bond more fully than any other pet. Mine was with a tortoise point Siamese cat named Angel. She was truly my Angel and got me through the awkward teenage years, my first boyfriends, first jobs and going away to college.

My family had brought her home when I was only 2 years old. I grew up with her, and she was always my cat. She would curl up under the covers in my arms every night and purr contentedly until I fell asleep. When I moved out of my parent’s home to attend veterinary school, she came with me. On those late nights up studying, she would go into my room when it was bedtime and yowl until I came to bed with her.

In her final years in kidney failure, she was still my constant companion traveling back and forth with me from New York to Illinois still happily purring on my lap.

I had the hardest time saying goodbye to her, as she had been my constant sleeping buddy, study partner, and travel companion and had been by my side for almost 20 years. I will never forget her.

In my career as a veterinarian, I see the special human-animal bond on a daily basis. I will never forget the many pets that hold a place in my heart and that clearly have this close bond with their owners.

Many of these pets are not with us anymore. One of the hardest parts of my job is to see this close connection, to have to say goodbye to these pets, and to help the owners say goodbye. If only they could live as long as we did. I feel that God’s reasoning is so we can help the next pet that deserves a chance to have this close connection and bond with a good human being, especially those animals that have only experienced abuse or neglect in their lives.

One dog in particular stands out in my mind and has been popular in recent news.

The husky dog “Juneau” was found recently by a good samaritan with a large tumor dragging behind her and was taken to the local veterinary office for care.

I was grateful to see the community support for her care and am positive that she will find the home that she deserves. “Juneau” however is not the only dog out there that needs our help.

There are hundreds of abused and/or neglected animals in our community alone. Do your part to help these animals by donating to the local shelters which include the Lakeshore Humane Society, the Chautauqua County Humane Society, the Northern Chautauqua Canine Rescue and specific breed rescues. Consider volunteering your time, making a donation, or even adopting a pet from one of these organizations. Our clinic has a fund set up called the Big Foot Fund in honor of the stray and injured cat that our clinic cared for and adopted as our clinic mascot.

This fund helps stray and injured pets in need of extensive medical or surgical care.

Donations can be made through our clinic or through the Lakeshore Humane Society. For the month of August we are offering a free exam for a newly adopted stray kitten or kitten from a local shelter. Call us at 716-366-7440 for more information.

Dr. Rebekah Frost is a veterinarian at the Dunkirk Animal Clinic. Send comments on this story to lifestyles@observertoday.com