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A Valentine from Valley

February 14, 2012

It’s officially Valentine’s Day, so from me to you, have a happy one, filled with all the romance and joy you can handle.

Speaking of Love, that particular emotion comes in many forms.  One of those forms was brought to my attention recently when I was contemplating phasing out a “character” from the next book in my series.  It had seemed necessary to let Beebee the cat find a new home, so as not to interfere with the PTSD issues her owners, Chris and Doug, share.  Then I had several conversations with other pet owners and PTSD sufferers.  Pets have a significant role in helping their owners cope with PTSD and related anxiety/stress disorders.  Simply having an animal around, particularly one that interacts as much as a cat or dog, helps to calm the mind and ease some of the mental pain.

Animals sense emotional discomfort and are quick to react.  The affectionate bond between pet and owner is akin to unconditional love, something we all crave.  For those who feel unloveable due to their disorder, this bond is a huge thing.

I had lost sight of the underlying bond between Chris and her cat, and once it was brought to my attention, I was stunned by that blindness.  Beebee has a definite function to perform.  She’s far more than a literary device.  She is a therapy animal, one that kept Chris from going off the deep end early in their relationship, and she will be needed for a long time to come.  PTSD, DESNOS and other stress disorders have no cure.  They are managed, and require a lot of interaction and love to stay that way.  Beebee stays with Chris.

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