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Could Fluffy Fill your Void? Why Adopting a Pet in the Triad can be Beneficial to your Divorce Recovery

By: Diana Westrick, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group

Ok, you get to choose which unofficial holiday you celebrate in the month of June: Old Maid’s Day or National Hug your Cat Day.  For those that have pet allergies, neither of these options may seem too exciting.  However, try to consider the underlying point of which I’m trying to reach: you may be single, but you do not have to be alone.  Pets are a wonderful option for those overcoming the life change of a separation, divorce, or shared custody.  Not only are these fuzzy beings willing to offer unconditional love, despite your marital status, but they may offer you the comfort and affection that may be void, but intently needed.

I have two and a half cats (the half being a foster), and I cannot tell you how many times these fuzz balls get on my nerves to the point I want to shut them in a different room. Yet, I don’t.  Why?  Because while these balls of fluff do not understand the concept of personal space, they are only invading my bubble because they want to show me affection.  Not to mention, it’s hard to stay upset with their adorable faces.

I adopted my oldest cat, Tallulah, when I was living alone in a new city, working a new job, and knew next to no one; not to mention, getting over a breakup.  She was my only friend, and we enjoyed many solo nights eating takeout and watching Netflix.  From your perspective reading this post, you may think that I am, in fact, celebrating Old Maid’s Day this month while hugging my cat.  Yes, cuddling my cats is still one of my favorite past times, but no, I am not alone. Tallulah reminded me that I was worth something and held a role in the world, even if it felt minor (though, she believed feeding her was my most important role).  Even when I felt lonely beyond belief, she was always around for subtle comfort and unconditional love.  And while I took my dear old time to get there, I was slowly able to reintegrate myself back into a “new normal” and began opening back up to the world around me.  Solitude is a choice.

No, I’m not a spokesperson for the ASPCA with Sarah McLaughin music playing in the background trying to convince you that adopting a pet = all problems solved. Though this could be argued in another post, it is not the moral of this story.  Rather, it is to remind you that life does not always occur in the manner of which you expect, or even hope.  Despite this cruel reality, you do have control over what you do next.  You can choose to blame yourself for a failed marriage; you can choose to isolate yourself; you can choose to label yourself has “unlovable.”

Or, you can get a cat.

Still not convinced? Learn why “animals make excellent therapists.”

Are circumstances preventing you from adopting a pet of your own? Check out the following agencies that are always looking for volunteers in varying capacities and commitments.