Global Guest Blogging at its Best

Feel the stress? Get a Pet!

In Guest Blogger, Pets on April 20, 2012 at 1:05 am

This week I am really excited and delighted to welcome my first Guest Blogger, the inimitable  Catalina Egan

Here in South Florida there seems to be a lot of stressful energy abounding, not in the small nucleus that is my life; after all my predominant existence these days is in the world of the characters’ whose lives I get to manipulate,Guest Blogger Catalina Egan on Amelia Curzon's Blog - "Carte Blanche"create and destroy.
The stress of which I speak can be seen in places that are meant to feel peaceful and relaxed and there are many such places in this haven for tourists escaping their own realities. It could be this global economy that doesn’t seem to lift or the pending presidential election that seems to promote more anger and rude behavior than other elections have in the past.
I know it isn’t my personal perception. I love (as any writer, I would imagine) to eavesdrop. A few days ago it was not through eavesdropping as my pharmacist stated his views in a very loud voice for all in the rather long line to hear.
“Yeah right a pet helps release stress.” The remark was accompanied by a sardonic laugh.
I waited, just long enough to see if anyone else would voice an opinion. There were obvious looks of agreement and a few of those lost in their own cyber-Bluetooth-twenty-first-century-world of I may look like I am standing right next to you but I am actually very far away.
So I spoke, “Pets are absolutely great to help release stress!”
Raised eyebrow said it all from my pharmacist.
“They don’t talk back like a teenage son or act grumpy like a husband.” I continued.
Smile, sword out and coup de grace.
“Or nag like a wife.”
Quick, think, make comeback remark
“Exactly, pets help relieve stress from everyone’s perspective.”
I picked up my prescriptions (and no, not Prozac or any other stress reducer), although my cholesterol could be due to stress and not my ability to eat an enormous meal and lack of proper exercise.
Prescriptions in hand I boarded my car and remembered when our pet Taco entered our lives in 2004, another presidential election year full of nervous Floridians.
Taco is a 5 pound 3 ounces Chihuahua, unlike mine, his weight never changes. He belonged to a family that had not realized Chihuahuas need a lot of attention and don’t do well alone. Theirs was not a home life. As a writer I may well give the word homebody an entirely new dimension.
So we adopted Taco when he was two years old and in an instant he magically influenced our lives and relieved stress.  To begin with he woke up happy every day ready to look for any and all adventure, a bit like Winnie the Pooh. This Taco the Chihuahua on Amelia Curzon's Blog - "Carte Blanche"made me get out of bed with a smile and take him for a walk. I discovered how many beautiful birds visited us every morning and got to laugh as Taco’s bark made the Blue Heron spread its majestic wings to get away. I saw how flowers are so different during every one of our walks, how they open to the day and close up to relax at night.
This in turn made the hectic get-ready-for-morning-routine or I-don’t-want-to-do-my-homework afternoons so much more fun. There was always Taco to share it with. On one fortuitous occasion my son’s homework was on the floor and Taco decided to pee on it hence providing the perfect excuse for lack of completion.
We got Taco a few months before as a family we lost some loved members and as if by magic Taco always knew who needed him the most. To this day one can notice that this is not just with the three of us but anyone Taco comes in contact with.
We pick up Austin every afternoon and as sure as any teenager he says good afternoon to the dog before he says good afternoon to his mother. Taco has made our little family complete and happier.
Taco will be 10 this September, he still bounces and runs like a young dog and when I am too focused on writing I often find a pile of toys by my feet, the moment I see them Taco’s tail wags and he is ready to play catch. He does not always get to play, but I can certainly feel loved and sought after.

If you would like to read more from Catalina go to

Here are a few of Catalina’s other links which may interest you:


  1. Oh I’m praying that they find Sky or that he finds his way back to Salem on his own. I love dogs and cats and don’t know how I’d get along without their companionship. Blessings, Natalie

  2. I live in Dearborn, Michigan which has a large population of Arab Americans. You may know many Arabs do not like dogs and believe them to be “dirty animals”. Therefore, when I was walking my ten pound dog, “Tutu” last week, I was surprised to see a young Arab man walking a young, gangly black and white Husky pup around the large apartment complex where we both live. We introduced ourselves and our dogs. His name was Salem (not his real name), and his dog’s name was, “Sky”. It was obvious Sky had not been walked much, but Salem cared for her was proud of her.

    That was the only time Tutu and I saw them together. When Tutu and I were out for our morning walk yesterday, Salem pulled up in his car next to me. He told me Sky had run away the day before and was still lost. We exchanged phone numbers and I kept an eye out for Sky on my walk around the complex with Tutu. When I got back home I called Salem to suggest he visit the local dog pound located not far from our apartment complex. Salem told me he had already been there the day before and had let them know Sky was lost.

    I asked Salem about his job and he told me he was a student and a refugee from the war in Iraq. He volunteered that had helped American soldiers by being an English translator and come to the US as an Iraqi refugee. Salem also said he was bothered by recurrent nightmares about the war and several people had suggested he seek out a doctor or psychologist. He said he did see a doctor but got no relief from his nightmares. Finally someone suggested he get a dog as a pet and it might help. That’s when Salem got Sky and two amazing things happened. First, Salem and Sky bonded together in less than a week and second, Salem’s nightmares went away!

    After talking to Salem, I wrote an email to the manager of the apartment complex and titled it: Amber Alert! Lost Black and White Husky Puppy named “Sky!”.

    Later in the day I sent Salem a text message to suggest he have an ID chip inserted into Sky when he gets her back. He texted me back and said Sky already has an ID implant, but that she had gotten loose by tunneling under a fence and was not wearing a collar.

    Unfortunately, the story is not over. I still have high hopes Sky will be found and returned to Salem. Salem confessed to me how much he misses Sky. We both agreed that our dogs are like our children. We love them dearly.

    Allan Worrell

  3. Pets are absolutely stress reducers! I take one look at my scruffy, tail-wagging, wriggling furry friend (AKA Scrappy) and all annoyance at his ceaseless tendency to gonad-slurp goes right out the window. He loves me unconditionally, and I adore him.

    • It is amazing! Last might we had a great big Thunderstorm and Taco went wild. He sought rescue in my son’s room (less windows) and it made Austin feel very special. I think pets teach us so much about love. 🙂
      Thanks for dropping by Scarlett.

  4. I have personal experience with this topic and can say, with conviction, that pets reduce stress, even when they produce a different kind of stress in caring for them. My choice is cats, although I like dogs too. But I noticed that, from a stress standpoint, cats have the ability and willingness to stay off from where you are without bothering you when you don’t want to be bothered. The dogs I’ve been around always seem to want to be right there next to you, even when you’d rather they weren’t…At the same time, I’ve also noticed that cats seem to know when you aren’t feeling well and will come and be with you…Right now I have kittens in the house and they can be a real trial to keep from stepping on them! but there is nothing like kittens to watch and enjoy as they play and just enjoy life…you just have to smile and laugh at their energy!


    • I love your input and not to brag but Taco acts much like a cat! I agree many dogs are needier which also relieves stress as it makes owners feel needed and loved.
      Thanks for your wonderful input and thatnks for dropping by.

  5. I am sure that pets low the stress!

  6. Very nice story, Catalina!

    • Hi Doug,
      I hope you read the other comments as there are some that you may find very interesting in regards to animals and souls.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  7. As the owner of four dogs, I really must agree. Pets are the solution to most stress.

  8. Enjoyed your post Catalina! Thanks for featuring it Amelia! 🙂
    Pets fill a vacuum in modern lives in many many ways and – yes – definitely de-stressors! 🙂

  9. We’ve always had pets in our family, our last little dog dying in May 2011. She had belonged to our late son so was super special and she lived till the age of 17. I noticed that so many people would stop and greet us when she was with us. A perfect ice-breaker! We miss her but now have a back yard full of visitors – lizards, birds and even a turtle once! Pets are an essential part of children’s education and growth.

    • Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your story. I have a good friend who lost her teen age daaughter to a car accident a few years ago and I know as hard as it has been there has ben an element of comfort from her daughter’s Daschund. I am very sorry for both of your losses.
      Tom (my husband) and I are amazed at how many people stop us with Taco. It feels like when our son was a baby and people would stop and make sweet comments. Ice-breaker indeed.

  10. Pet owners live longer and healthier lives. I love my own dear Tess!

  11. I had a dog named Lily who worked for a paycheck chasing geese! As a member of Geese Police she had a pseudo-uniform, a jeep w/a driver (me), a kayak, and a remote control toy boat (as well as other toys and noise-makers). Those morning and afternoon excursions to the lakes and fields did an awful lot to remove stress from our lives! With her earnings, I bought her annual tickets to go camping for a week in one of our US National Forests, another profound stress reliever. A job that flopped was search and rescue…the trainings were four hours away, and two hotel nights once a month was just too costly a volunteer job on a single, part-time preschool teacher’s income, especially with a big, black dog to feed. My nephews included her in their school play (she was “Belle” in the Miracle Worker). It was so funny to be walking her in some new park and have teenagers I did not know greet her by name! The best gig of all was going to nursing homes with Lily. The residents looked forward to her visits, saved table scraps for her, and stroked her head while she looked lovingly at them. I was told, more than once, that some of those oldsters forgot that their family members would be coming by, yet counted the days until Lily’s next visit. She soothed them. Lily died when she was 15 and is buried in the backyard under a huge sitting-stone with flowers growing around it. I often go sit there with her, just to unwind in that peaceful place, with fond memories of my dear companion of many years. I always feel better when I do.

    • Wow! What a complete an wonderful being your Lily. This comment goes so well with Lynn’s input that animals have souls. As Lily sounds like a perfect example to back that up. Thanks Amy for dropping by.

    • Now that I have finished wiping the tears from my cheeks I don’t know what we would do without our Savannah. She is part teacup Chihuahua, miniature poodle and Yorkie. The very first time I laid eyes on her I loved her. She was exactly what I wanted in a dog a ball of black fur only big enough to fit in your hand, the only problem was she wasn’t mine; she was my daughters. Within a week of her staying at our house we had fallen in complete love with her. So I talked to my daughter who was having housing issues at the time and she agreed to give us the dog. Now I have to add here that I had wanted a small dog (no bigger than 5 lbs) for over a year and my husband kept saying no, no, I don’t want a dog in the house. Well, you know something Savannah has completely melted his heart. When he is home she is with him always and when he leaves she is with me or one of the kids; depending on who has the softest lap lol. She sleeps right in the middle of our California king bed and is loving life. She isn’t just our pet, she is a member of the family. She is in every family portrait and is included in the family Christmas card. Life is extremely stressful for everyone. When we get home in the evenings she is right at the door waiting to lick our faces and nuzzle our necks. I tear up whenever I think that one day she will die, but for now we are loving having her beautiful soul in our lives.

    • What a lovely story!

  12. I very much enjoyed your blog about pets relieving stress. And reading the replies reminded me about the perennial argument concerning animals having souls.

    Years ago when my oldest daughter was six we gave her a bunny rabbit. She was overjoyed and hugged and played with it. Our great cat, Dusty, watched her play with the little bunny for quite a while then she took off into the woods. She returned with a little wild bunny rabbit in her mouth.

    She was a skilled, fierce, hunter that ate wild bunnies and other rodents after release and capture games as cats usually do. This one she brought in and very gently played with it as Heather had done. She even hugged it with affection. But the wild bunny died of shock from the experience.

    Dusty was surprised, and seemed to be very upset by it. Loving the bunny had conflicted with her natural predator cat instinct. She did not catch wild game nor did she eat (fasted) for over a week and was in a depressing quandary trying to solve the dilemma between instinct and love. She came to a resolution and went hunting but never played with her catches again: no more cruel catch and release and re catch games for the rest of her long life. She went on to do many astounding things that great souls do in life.

    Lynn Osburn

    • I am in awe of your comment. I too feel that we see so much to show an amazing depth to animals. I too would choose to call it a soul. So many beautiful stories where animals rescue other animals or people.
      What a lesson Dusty could teach us all…
      Thanks Lyn for Dropping by and taling the time to share such a wonderful story.

    • Good story, I really enjoyed reading it…

  13. I like to eavesdrop too – occupational hazard, I guess. Glad Taco is still happy and doing well in his age.

  14. I enjoyed your post Catalina. Thanks for teaching and sharing. Pet ownership can provide quite a few benefits including lots of attention, affection, relief from stress and improved self-esteem. In return, we have some responsibility towards them as well. Responsible pet owners should learn about the breed’s personality and some basics about how to properly care for them.

    • Thanks Gary, When we adopted Taco I googled Chihuahua and it said that they though they were babies and often need to be treated as such…well TACO has a very multifaceted personality . His baby mode is too much fun, especially when he joins us to watch a movie or TV show.

  15. I use to enjoy bringing my dog to see Grandpa when he was in the nursing home. For older folks who always had pets and end up in a home, it’s a real joy. We decided to always have 2 dogs. Right now we have 3 as our oldest was on her last legs…only having a younger dog has brought her back to life. At times life can be stressful with training a puppy but when all is quiet and his head is on my leg wanting petting there is peace. When he sits on our patio, in hubby’s recliner drinking hubby’s beer out of the glass…not so peaceful.

    • What a lovely input. I wanted to train TACO to go to nursing homes but some of the walkers excite him. There is a program here in South Florida so that you can make the commitment to vist and it is fun for older people in nursing homes.
      If I notice any older person or child who reacts to Taco I stop and let them say hi, if time is not an issue when it is someone elderly I stay around and let them enjoy petting the dog and telling me about all the pets they had and how smart they were.
      Thanks for sharing Judy 🙂

      • I am new here first of all, I will give you my detail I am from kathmandu,Nepal. I have read your blog. I thought, you are Dr. yes or no? you have wrote your leisure time you pass with your dog its very good habit.

    • Maybe I should look into that around here in Arizona as well. Cooper is 9 months old and I have had him for 4 months. He is a dalmatian mix so he’s a big boy but loves people. I use a gentle leader and everyone freaks out that it’s a muzzle and he has a mix of pit in him so they all assume he’s a muzzled pit bull when he’s really a whimp. I should be safe at the Nursing Homes as long as no one has a glass of beer!

      • That’s funny….have to avoid open bar days at the nursing home. It is joking aside a lovely thing that can be done for people in nursing homes and sharing a pet is such a fun, easy and wonderful thing to do!
        I never imagined I’d like a PitBull but a friend had the most adorable pitbull puppies a few years ago and I understood how people fall in love with them.
        Best of luck visiting nursing homes I am sure you will be appreciated.

  16. Our home consists of 8 cats indoors, plus a collection of cats, possums, squirrels and other wildlife outside. Our indoor cats are a constrant source of fun, relaxation, and challenges. They add immensely to our lives. My wife, who I refer to as Dr. Doolittle, is incredible. Through her care, one evening a cat, a possum, and a skunk were all eating together on our back porch. No commotion, just enjoying their dinner and one another. Perhaps we can all learn something from this.

    • I just realised I had missed your comment…and I love it I am all for interaction, understanding and world peace and surely if a cat, a possum and a skunk can see eye to eye…and share..learn something indeed well said George.

  17. that is so true plus a pet can lower the heart rate, i have fishes and watching them swim is so relaxing with the sound of the water as well, plus my hamsters and rabbit that love to cuddled even when the bunny is sulking because i wont let him out in the rain

    • I had fish for years. I loved to just enjoy their motion and they seemed to react to the vibrations of the music I played. I am so glad you mentioned the Fish. I have never had a pet bunny, but have friends who loved and enjoyed their pet bunny as much as I enjoy TACO.
      Thanks for droping by Christine.:)

  18. I think pets can enhance a person’s life in so many ways. I have tons of animals. Was a rescuer and basically kept the “less lovable” ones. The truth is there are no less lovable ones. Just the ones that don’t fit the typical image of a cute pet. Animals give so much, even the unsociable ones.

    • Thank you Nike, your perspective as an animal recuer has to be admired! So glad that you get so much love from all your pets and Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.
      Have a great week,
      M.C.V. Egan

  19. Thank you so much Catalina for being my guest. Lovely post!

  20. Catalina is great. Fun to see another side of her here.

    I’ve always been a dog person, but currently am living with two cats. One that might as well be a dog, and another that is the typical cat, friendly on her own terms. Sometimes they are stress relievers.

    Sometimes they piss on your slippers if you decide to close them in at night so they don’t bring wildlife in through the cat door.

    I look forward to the day when I have time for a dog. I think once you get them out of puppyhood, they are invaluable stress relievers. Keep up the good work, Taco.

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

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