It's been a miserable day. Nothing went right. You slept through your alarm because the neighbors kept you up half the night having either a wild argument or wild sex (hard to tell which), you were late to work on the one day when the client was showing up in person, your car sprang an oil leak, you spilt coffee all over your slacks in precisely the wrong place, they were out of pre-cooked chickens at the market, and you're staring at the ceiling wondering what you did to deserve such punishment ... actually it's been a miserable week - a miserable six weeks to be exact, but who's counting? hah-hah. . .

OK, so the break-up was harder on you than you want to admit. A lot harder. You feel alone, unloved and unappreciated. Depressed. You know what you need - a hug, some love, someone to say you're worth loving. But your friends are tired of shoring you up, and the last thing you need right now is get into a one night stand or an "I don't want to be here but something is better than nothing" relationship just to feel loved, sort of, a little bit.

Would a lick and a furry cuddle do? No, I'm not treating your situation lightly, and I'm not being facetious. Animals have tremendous healing power, because pets, those animals willing to share their lives with us, are appreciators of the first order. Your pet doesn't care if you're having a bad hair day, are in a lousy mood, or frustrated beyond all beyond. As long as you don't take it out on your pet, your dog/cat/bird/whatever will unconditionally love you. Pets are brought into hospitals to help sick/injured people feel better - and it works. Pets are brought into prisons to help restore dignity, responsibility, and self-esteem to prisoners - and it works.

You need to restore your feelings of lovability, and you're absolutely right. The one night stand or relationship just to be with someone, anyone, are emotional dead-ends. But loving a furry/feathered/scaled critter, and feeling that wonderful love in return, is an emotional sustainer.

Granted, you don't want to end up with only your furry friend as the love of your life, and yes, you'll want to rejoin the dating world eventually. But for now, consider loving a pet and allowing that pet to love you in return as your source of love and appreciation. Not instead of, but as part of your healing path on your way to love, biped style.

Who knows? He/she may like furry/feathered/scaled critters too.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D. is a respected psychologist, consultant, speaker and author. Her most recent books is "The Power of Appreciation in Business (MindLab Publishing, 2005). For more than a decade, she has helped people live happier, healthier lives--at work, at home and in relationships. Dr. Noelle welcomes your comments via email ( You can visit Dr. Noelle anytime at or