The value of pets in my life.
Snoopy was my constant companion from 1998 until 2012. He followed me around, sat on my lap, talked to me, slept on top of me even if there was a whole bed empty.
When he died, I thought it was the end of the world, I couldn't imagine 'replacing' him with another pet and as I was having chemo at the time it wasn't right to get another pet straight away.
In fact, it took until 2017, having moved house and spent some time settling into life as a single woman for the time to be right, and then...
My parents bought J a cat (Harry, at the top of the stairs), for his 18th birthday. Harry had always lived with Leo (at the bottom), and they'd been fostered together when their original owners had had to let them go. And I couldn't split them, could I? And anyway, if you've got one cat there's not much more expense to having two right?
So last year, almost exactly a year ago, we added these two little fellows to our family group.
Harry follows me about, meows every time he comes through the cat flap, sits patiently waiting for treats and loves to be groomed, carried and fussed.
Leo is selectively mute, so it's always a treat when he looks at me and says "meow, okay?" He's not too keen on being fussed, groomed or handled (though he is getting better), and if I stay in bed too long he bats my nose with his paw. He does love a tummy tickle when it suits him though and will roll over and stretch out his front paws in delight.
Seeing them curled up together, watching them roll around and chase each other and experiencing the love and care they give each other and me when they do a bit of mutual grooming is so sweet.
Having them snuggled up on my lap as I read or watch TV, seeing them appear as soon as I set foot in the kitchen (because you never know, the treat box is in the kitchen), and just seeing their welcoming little faces after a busy day is so relaxing.
I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about adding to my family, but these two made their mark from the moment Leo spent his first two weeks here sitting under my bed!
Pets are a great addition to your life if you're prepared to give some time and attention to another creature you get a lot of love and affection in return.