Monday, August 1, 2016

THE NEED TO PET



Minnie  the cat was stretched out on the arm of the couch with her paws draped around my neck and her head on my left shoulder. My hand curled up to caress her head and ears matching the rhythm of her soft purr. I have often thought that if we women could just learn to purr, there would be no ceilings.

Meanwhile Callie the dog lay pressed against my right hip with her head resting on my leg. My right hand drew circles on her side and massaged her neck. I stopped petting Callie for just a bit to cheer a fine defensive play by Ichero. Quickly her wet nose was shoved under my hand. A clear signal to me that stopping was not a desired option, so I resumed.

This goes on whenever I spend time on the couch watching my Marlins play baseball.  I am penned in by fur but I really don't mind for I have an innate need to pet.  Petting animals is mostly a mindless, low energy action but is enjoyed by both the petter and the pettee.


I smiled thinking about that need and was reminded of a friend of mine who brought his daughter out to my animal shelter years ago. Becky was 10 years old and a pure animal lover who had just experienced having the long time family dog put down.

My friend thought visiting with all my animals would cheer Becky and they might find a replacement.  He was thinking more on the lines of a hunting dog but unfortunately for him, a female cat I had  just rescued along with her 4 kittens caught Becky's eye and heart. She clutched a little calico kitten to her chest and gave her dad a pleading look.

"No honey," he quickly stated before she could ask. "We do not need a kitten."

"But Daddy," she put all the angst she could muster into her tone, " I've got to have something to pet." She drew  out each word.

We were both a bit taken aback by her plea. This wasn't a whim, it was a raw need. Neither one of us had ever heard it put this way before.  She had very simply stated one of the basic yet undeclared reasons why so many of us are animal owners.  We have an urge to pet.

Petting brings us comfort and satisfies the need to give. It naturally brings pleasure to the deserving creatures we pet who have rewarded us with unconditional love. Well, unconditional love from the dog. For a cat there is often a long list of conditions that must be met before we deserve their acceptance---but we love them anyway.

Of course they left with the kitten that day. What respectable father could refuse that simple desire.

Do you, like Becky, have a need to pet?

57 comments :

  1. I remember our last lab (in his declining years) would follow us room to room, even when his very old joints made it painful for him to move. He would nestle close to my feet with his head looking up longingly at me. How could I resist? I can remember that I would think long and hard before I would move because I didn't want to disturb him. I knew that if he had to move it would cause him pain, but it never stopped him from sticking close by.

    I miss him! And I sure do miss petting him. The joy of unconditional love that a pet can bring is very, very special.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carole,
      Our pet's aging is heart breaking. They are never with us long enough. Your dog was so lucky to have ended up in your home.

      Delete
  2. I don't have a pet right now, but yes, I do still have that need. When I visit friends who have cats, you know I am petting away. I never thought of it before, but I sure do. I am deprived, apparently. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Djan,
      Well getting to enjoy someone else's pet is almost as good. Glad you get your petting fix in occasionally.

      Delete
  3. Absolutely, and it is driving me crazy! I've had many more cats than dogs but for some reason couldn't get over wanting another dog.

    I've about come around to getting a cat. My only hesitation about cats is how to tell if I'm getting a lover or one that's aloof and doesn't see the need to associate with someone who scoops litterboxes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda,
      Ah yes, they can be aloof. Perhaps a cat whose owner can no longer take care of them and they can vouch for its affectionate nature?? Or a kitten??

      Delete
  4. Excellent, excellent post!

    I have to go, there is something in my eye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joeh,
      Ahh, thanks so much Cranky. Hope you are all better now.

      Delete
  5. I could probably name a hundred plus animals that have moved through my life in sixty-one years and I've had the joy of petting them all...no matter their species. It's a magical connection that we all need whether we know it or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gail,
      You nailed it. It is magical and as far as I am concerned--necessary.

      Delete
  6. I think I may not have a need to pet, at least not on a regular daily basis, otherwise we would have a dog by now! I pet every dog and kitty cat I see on our walks into town and back. That's how I get in my pets these days. A friend had a blog post up the other day that said petting a dog or cat is good for your health. So now I call it my sidewalk medicine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. robin,
      Oh, I love the idea of "sidewalk medicine". Many who can't or don't want pets can still benefit by random pettings.

      Delete
  7. Yes, I have the need indeed. We've been without our last and bestest cat for almost two years now, and I miss that 16 pound pile of fur in my lap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marty,
      It is hard to be without. I finally caved and got Callie a few years after Mighty passed. Hope you eventually add another to your family.

      Delete
  8. Our Lucy lies in a bed next to my husband's recliner every evening. And at any given moment, my husband has his hand somewhere on the dog.

    Ellie and I used to lie on the floor together for our cuddle time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carolyn,
      They are impossible to resist aren't they? Most often we aren't even aware that we are petting them but our blood pressure knows.

      Delete
  9. Great post. There is an innate need to pet, so we always have pets around. Mostly dogs but a chicken will do in a pinch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brig,
      Ha ha, I have pet a chicken or two in my day. They do like it.

      Delete
  10. Along with the need for speed, I DEFINITELY have the need to pet!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fran,
      Ha, I out grew the need for speed but not petting yet. You have both exhilarating and calming needs.

      Delete
  11. Absolutely! At the end of a long day at work, there is nothing better than having one of the cats curl up beside me or better yet on my lap. I can pet all my cares away. And the purring calms my heart and mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eileen,
      They really can make things all right quite simply in a world that is off the rails. They beat any pill made.

      Delete
  12. I personally love to be carressed and 'petted'... George does a great job doing this for me. LOVE it...

    I also love petting a dog or cat... My son's kitty (Majesty) purrs and purrs when I'm petting her.... Such a peaceful sound.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betsy,
      Ha ha, it really is just as good being the pettee. George sounds better every day.
      Love the sound of purring. It is magical and no one really knows how they do it though there are lots of theories.

      Delete
  13. Oh Yes! I so miss having my dear Sweetie to pet and that need does not go away. Unfortunately a cannot take care of a cat anymore and so it really would be unfair to a dear sweet kitty......

    I love the picture of you petting both your cat and dog at the same time.....So soothing for everyone! Wonderful post, my dear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Naomi,
      It is sooo good to hear from you. I miss you and your posts so much. With all the fires in Ca I worry about you and your lungs with all the smoke.
      I know you miss Sweetie so much. I never saw a cat with more beautiful eyes and he sure lived up to his name.
      Stay safe and well my friend.

      Delete
  14. I have a faux fur comforter and I pet it all the time, appreciative of the fact that I don't have to walk or feed it. But I have a feeling a pet is in our future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen,
      Ha ha, have you named it? Seriously though, I do hope you have an pet in your future. They bring so much more than they take.

      Delete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh Patti, every time I say good bye to one of my critters, be they dog or cat, I mutter, "never again". But that statement is a big ole fat lie everytime. I can't live without furries to love on and care for. Right now Casa de Cuckoo is full up with 2 rescue dogs and 4 rescue cats. Mine, Niamh is the youngest cat and quite a scaredy cat. At night when no one is looking she sneaks into bed with me for some touch and some petting. I can't do without it. I love this post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda W.
      So good to see you in my comments. You have been missed. I know what you mean and love that the scaredy cat has found the perfect place to find security.

      Delete
  17. Patti, we've always had pets - mostly cats, but also dogs and several other species over the years. There's a poem that refers to children, but I think it also works for pets... that starts with
    "No children (in our case cats)in the house to play? Oh, I could never live that way."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rian,
      That fits pets perfectly also and I totally agree.

      Delete
  18. yes I do. Our rescue dog Lily needs it big time. Unsocialized and abused she would stand there all day if I could keep on petting her...:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TB,
      I have yet to see a dog that just gets fed up with petting and walks away. Those who have had a rough start are even more needy. So glad you are there to give her pleasure and comfort.

      Delete
  19. I don't know if I have a NEED to pet, but I certainly enjoy the opportunity. Our Josie Cat quite typically set sher own agenda, but when she jumps up on my lap, purrs and settles in for a stay, I sigh and love every minute she allows me to pet her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda R,
      Cats are like that and things are mostly done on their terms. I am so glad Josie lets you have a fix. Isn't it wonderful?

      Delete
  20. While scrolling through this, another wonderful post of yours, my Slim dog had her head on my knee and I was petting her. Guess that answers your question:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annie,
      I am not the least bit surprised by your answer. You and Slim are both lucky to share space and love.

      Delete
  21. I haven't been without a dog in 20 years. At one time I had three but only one is left and he is 16! I will miss him so much when he is gone and I know it won't be long until I get another one. I definitely NEED a pet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SimplySingle Senior,
      Thank you so much for your comment and I know exactly how you feel. I lost Might Dog after 17 years and while I tried to go dog less, I just couldn't and Callie joined us. We have the need but the animals also need us.

      Delete
  22. Oh, yes, I do! Fortunately, I have four cats, so the opportunity to pet is always there. And little Ollie, my three-legged kitten, loves to cuddle as well. I'm truly blessed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dr. Kathy,
      You have such a lovely selection and I think I would be totally drawn to Ollie. He is so blessed to have you.

      Delete
  23. What a wonderful reality you have articulated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LC
      Thank you for thinking of it as a reality. Me too.

      Delete
  24. I do a lot of talking too. Sometimes I really think he understands me and other times I get that head tilt that tells me I might as well be talking to the hand. Hahaha. Love him anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara,
      Had to laugh at that. I probably should talk more to my dog for when I get on the phone, Callie immediately wants out the door. I guess she can't stand my voice.

      Delete
    2. Barbara,
      Had to laugh at that. I probably should talk more to my dog for when I get on the phone, Callie immediately wants out the door. I guess she can't stand my voice.

      Delete
  25. I used to love petting our dogs but since I don't have one now I, luckily, have two sons with dogs & cats nearby so I pet theirs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginnie,
      Other peoples pets are sometimes the best. You get your petting fix with none of the worries.

      Delete
  26. Katie and I connect all through the day with an ear scratch or a head rub, but our favorite time is when I lay down on the couch in the evenings to watch tv or read...here she comes to pounce up on my chest. The toe prodding hurts like heck until she is comfortable, and then we both are happy when she finally gets her spot, and starts purring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terri,
      Is there a greater sound than a happy cat purring? I think not.

      Delete
    2. Terri,
      Is there a greater sound than a happy cat purring? I think not.

      Delete
  27. Hello Dear Patti
    I so enjoyed coming by here tonight and checking on you. Can not tell you how much I miss you and think of you.
    Wish I could start blogging again it is a part of my life that I miss. Maybe one day soon.
    As always your writing leaves me wanting more so while I am lucky enough to be here I will read some later post.
    Yes I can relate to this post. I too have a need to pet and love the purring that I get when I do.
    Hope you are well. I have missed you and all my blogging friends.
    Love
    Maggie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maggie,
      What a delight finding your comment. You have been so missed and I really wish you would get back to blogging. Think of you and hope all is going great. Be well and happy my friend--and get back to blogging soon--OK?

      Delete
    2. Maggie,
      What a delight finding your comment. You have been so missed and I really wish you would get back to blogging. Think of you and hope all is going great. Be well and happy my friend--and get back to blogging soon--OK?

      Delete
  28. I'm not a huge pet lover. It's Art that LOVES dogs. However, when visiting our son who has a dog, it's me that Mungo tolerates and comes to. I spent a lot of time grooming him heavy fur. The family was surprised that he let me comb areas of this body that he doesn't like touched. He did occasionally look at me to say, "You can do that for just a minute, but not too long please."

    ReplyDelete