About a year ago in the depths of my anorexia, I arrived at a local pet store full of tiny little puppies ready to be adopted. I wasn’t really planning to purchase one but my pug dog, Star, was getting older and I had another dog recently pass away my freshman year. I had been wanting a new puppy for a while so we went looking. As I walked in and saw all of the tiny dogs, I looked around and decided I wanted to cuddle with one. Puppy therapy, right? I chose a small yorkie boy with a little blue shirt on. I picked him up and he cuddled right in my neck. When my dad saw this, he couldn’t resist and he asked me if I wanted him. Of course, my immediate response was yes. That day, we brought him home.
I named him Sterling. Sterling has been with me through my hardest times. Through tears, screams and hospital stays. When I came home on a difficult day, he would be there with countless kisses and tail wags. It would immediately make me feel a bit better. When I was upset, Sterling knew and he would snuggle up to me while I cried. Without Sterling, these days of recovery would have been even more difficult.
Sterling can be called a recovery pet. A pet that has stuck with me through my recovery from an eating disorder.
Animals can be very beneficial for recovery. Not just for comfort and loyalty but also to learn to nurture them and allow them to grow. Think about nurturing yourself the way you nurture your pet. You would never deprive your pet of food or force it to run until it could no longer stand. Treat yourself the way you would treat this animal. Also, you have to be healthy because you have something that relies on you. You must take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone or anything else.
Recently I decided to adopt a baby hedgehog. I picked him up on Saturday and brought him home. His name is Stanley and he is so cute!
Even in these couple of days, he has given me so much. He has taught me how to be gentle. Not just gentle with him but gentle with myself. If I’m not gentle, he will not be happy. No wonder when I’m abusing my body I’m in such a crabby mood.
Caring for Sterling and Stanley in my recovery has been such a blessing and I recommend a pet for anyone in recovery. Not only from an eating disorder, but from any illness.
Do you have a recovery pet? If not, would you get one or do you think they are helpful?
Let me know in the comments!