Way down deep, we’re all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them.
—Jim Davis (cartoonist, Garfield)

I have been given these two little furry souls (yes, they have souls) to care for, to feed, to love. And I am grateful.

Malcolm came into my life in the months leading up to a difficult time. He would be my companion through the torturous months of looking for a job and he would be the reason I would think “I have to find a job so that we (me and Mal) have a house to live in.”

During that time…and in all the times since…he has been my friend, my grounding reminder that everyone needs to be touched and cuddled (daily and on demand if he gets his way), and he has been the guru reminding me that nothing is such a big deal that a nap wouldn’t help.

And here I am…in a dark time…struggling with PTSD, depression, a completely inhospitable work environment, dealing with people who choose to show their open disdain and hostility for me at every opportunity…and then there is Rose.

Rose weighs less than 7 pounds. She is tiny and sassy and in charge. Just yesterday she considered for a good long while, trying to get outside to jump on my friend’s very very large Malamute. She is fearless and reserved and courageous and cautious. A tiny study in contradictions.

And in this moment…this season…for these days…she is my guardian.

Rose has decided that I should not lie down at night or for a nap that she doesn’t need to wrap her body around mine. More accurately, Rose feels the need to ensure that some part of her fur is in direct contact with my forehead or cheek. When I lay down, Rose lays down touching me. When I move, Rose moves to touch me. Her hip, her back, her stomach, her paws…some part of her presses itself against my forehead and protects.

Symbolically…hell…maybe even in reality…she has begun to provide a barrier between my brain and the world for the moments I need rest. And these moments are many given my sickness. Somehow Rose knows. Somehow she has made herself the protector. Somehow she is literally laying in the space I need made for my own sleep and for tuning out the world in the midst of this storm.

Rose — The Guardian of My Heart & Mind


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