A True ESA

There’s a lot of controversy these days about ESAs (emotional support animals). A lot of pet owners can order stuff online to label their pet as an ESA without them being certified. The people who have service animals have been upset over this because these animals that have labels without certification are not trained. I won’t go into all the things that are wrong or right with any of this. I understand fully why people who are attached to their pets want the ability to take them everywhere. My sweet little cat Samantha (Sam) was my ESA. She was certified. I had to keep a note with me from the doctor saying so. She was trained. She walked on her leash, and traveled in her carrier and in our truck seat right between us in her bed. She knew when I was depressed and did her best to cheer me up. Let me share with you the meaning of my ESA.

I was attacked while at work and developed severe problems because of it. My husband and I set out to try to make me better by doing what we had always talked about doing, only this time, it was a must to get me away from all the things that were frightening me and making me want to do harm to myself. I won’t go into all the gory details, as I am trying to put all that behind me, but for those of you who have read my books, you know the story. We struck out to be full time RVers and see the US together. We wanted to make happy memories and share our journey along the way with people. This fresh look on life and our beautiful country has been beneficial. We enjoy sharing our journey and helping people through our work.

Sam has been with us from the beginning. She wandered up to me over 15 years ago. She just walked right in to my life and my home. And she was sensitive from the start. She knew when we were down about anything and refused to leave our side. This was even more prominent when I became ill. She adapted to our new way of life immediately. AS long as we were there, she was perfectly content. She really seemed to enjoy looking out our RV window at the new scenery every time we landed somewhere different. For those with pets, whether they are service animals or not, understand the importance of that kind of affection. We all do our best to make good and happy homes for our beloved fur babies. But Sam was more than just our little fur baby. She was my angel. My savior even. She gave my life purpose and meaning.

Even though we were doing everything we could to lead happier, more adventurous lives, I was still very depressed. I loved the fact we were away from all things bad that had happened to me, and seeing so many beautiful places. The waterfalls, mountain trails, and endless beaches have been awesome so far. But, the best part was coming home to my beloved Sam. She was overly excited to have us return to the RV, even if it was just from the grocery store. I’d be out somewhere in a bit of a crowd, like shopping for instance, and just freak out. All the faces blended together and I was afraid my attacker, or someone who knew him could be among those faces. I knew deep within that it probably wasn’t true, but it was just an involuntary reaction of my PTSD. I felt safe when I was with Sam and realized I could cope better out in society with her in my arms. She sensed my fear and pain and “talked” to me with her soothing meows and purrs.

I got a therapists to listen to me and coordinate with the doctor’s medical opinions of me, and was able to get her registered as my ESA. She went with me everywhere. I was able to function better in crowds, due to putting my focus on her. I was healing slowly but surely. She was my life line. She was over 15, and I knew that her age would one day come into play, but I was not ready for her to go so soon. She developed cancer, and on March 25, we had to say our good-byes. I don’t know what to do now. I am utterly lost. My heart is in a million pieces. She was more than just a pet. I can’t take the time right now to go into all the details of how she enriched my life and made me feel better, but if you follow us on facebook, you can see how she was there for all our adventures.

We will continue our adventurous journey, but it will not be the same. I have a hole in my heart and in my life. When my husband goes off to work his seasonal job wherever we are, I always had Sam to keep me from being alone. She was better than a person. People are great at times, but with my condition, I tend to stay away from people for the most part. I have to focus on the good friends we meet along the way now and get used to human companions to help me now. My husband is training and getting ready to go on his life long dream trip of hiking the AT in 2020. I am not physically capable of going with him at this point, and even though I have a year to get ready, I am afraid I would only slow him down and I don’t wish to keep him from his goals. I was planning on having Sam at my side while he was gone and she and I would do the blog and trace his steps to all of you. Now, I will be alone, but I will be tracing his steps for you all still.

Some (ok, maybe most) people who have pets that pass on, get new ones to fill the void. I have seriously considered it. But, right now, I just can’t go through this awful pain again. It is going to take me a very long time to try to smile. I need to focus on all the good times (there were so many) with our wonderful Sam, and not dwell on the fact that she is gone. It is just so difficult. My therapist is gone. I have no one to talk to about my secrets that I wouldn’t share with anyone else. Not deep, dark secrets, but just things about my fears that I wasn’t comfortable sharing with a human ear. Sam didn’t judge me, no matter how ridiculous my feelings of anxiety. I know I must continue on for my husband and for all of our friends and family and wonderful readers and followers. It will just take a long time and a lot more tears. Thank you all for understanding and for your thoughts about our wonderful camp kitty. She truly was the definition of my ESA and without her, I don’t know what to do. I am not even sure any of this has been forned into something that makes a lot of sense, but I hope so. Thank you all. We will be back soon with more adventures.

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