Daughter has had a really difficult time with all the upheaval, loss and change over the last year. The stress began to affect her anxiety and her behavior. The tipping factor was, I think, the loss of her therapy dog. Moving into small apartments we could not take our large dog. My niece adopted our dog. It was easier to let the dog go because she is still in the family and with her favorite boy.
We Had Patience
We had a yellow Labrador Retriever. Her name was Patience. And she was. Children sat on her, laid on her, played with her ears, poked at her and pulled her tail. Patience never once lost herself (Patience). When she had enough she just got up dumping children off of her and walked away to someplace quiet. Usually under the table or in my mother’s room. When there were babies on the floor Patience would lay by the baby and keep an eye on him/her. She was always between the baby and the action.
From the time she was a puppy Patience was Daughters best friend. Whenever Daughter’s anxiety got out of hand she would snuggle up with Patience and stroke her ears. This quieting activity was a daily thing. Mostly at the end of the day.
Last Summer, during our move, Daughter when off to Camp for a week. When she got home Patience was gone. There was sadness, frustration and tears.
I Didn’t Eat Daughter
Daughter has always been a happy, considerate, polite and caring child. The only issues we have had are chores and homework. After we were all moved in to our apartment and things started to calm down I realized that something was seriously wrong with Daughter.
I did NOT like this child. I know that she is 13 and attitude is expected but this was over the top. My normally sweet child was now mouthy, belligerent, and full of attitude. She was constantly being argumentative and defiant. The anger in her eyes and her voice made my heart ache with worry and bristle with frustration and anger of my own.
Anxiety and Stress
Daughter struggles with anxiety and has since she was born. I forget how bad it is sometimes because she handles it so well. Daughter was taught deep breathing and relaxation before she was two years old. It was the only way to prevent nuclear melt downs. Now it is an unconscious reaction to elevated stress and anxiety levels.
I knew that Daughter was really missing Patience and was not getting the calming she needed. It was time to find a new therapy animal. Because we live in a “no pets” apartment we went and got a prescription from her pediatrician for a small therapy animal. This allows me to get Daughter the pet she so desperately needs.
One afternoon we had gone to the store. On a whim I told Daughter we were going to go to the pet store and price what it would cost us to get a cat. She said, grudgingly, okay. When we got there we found out that new kittens had been sent for adoption. We looked at the kittens and then wondered the store looking at all the accessories that the kitten would need:
- food and water dishes
- climbing tree
- scratching post
- litter box
Then we went back and I told daughter to pick a kitten. She held each one. The two soft fuzzy ones were squirmy and kept trying to get down. The one-eyed kitten was hissing and anxious. Then she held the orange striped tabby. He stretched out, rolled over in her arms, exposed his belly and started to purr. Daughter had been chosen.
After purchasing all the accessories and paying the adoption fees we took sweet Kino home. Neither of us like that name and were trying to decide what to call our new family member. After letting him out of the carry box the little kitten hid under my piano for most of the evening. We decided to call him Mozart.
I Have My Daughter Back
Within a week of adopting Mozart my daughter was back to being her sweet self. I don’t think that poor kitten got put down for several days but I don’t think he minded. He purred so much that I thought he would burn out his little motor.
I’m so glad that I was able to do this for Daughter. My sweet little girl had been through so much that I could not change or make different. Even though the adoption was expensive, it has made such a huge difference that it was worth every penny spent and more.
Mozart is not a normal cat. He sits up like a mere cat and loves to hang upside down. He is obsessed with toilet paper and has to have a roll of his own. I even have to put it back into the plastic at the end of the day or he tries to get another one. Mozart loves my yarn and always has to have the biggest of the scrap balls. There have been times that I have had to fight him over the yarn I am currently using while I am using it.
Mozart tends to attack Daughter around 1 a.m. I always know when he does because I hear, “ow. no. Ow. Leave me alone. OW! Stop that! Let go of my hair! Get off my bed!” He also loves toes. The slightest movement of your toes and he attacks with claws and teeth.
I think my favorite is the ongoing feud Mozart has with my bathroom rug. I don’t know what it does to him but it must be terrible. Mozart will attach the rug with zeal and violence. If he wins I will find him curled up on top of the scrunched up rug. Occasionally he loses and runs out of the bathroom at top speed. My poor rug is looking terribly sad and I hate to get rid of it now that it has been vanquished but it is time for a new one.
Thank you Mozart for bringing Daughter back to me. The sweet smile. The laughter. The joy. I really missed her.