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#PetPawsitivity: Tracy and Her Many Pet Companions

“These guys have kept me getting up in the morning, even if I’m down. They all need feeding and looking after, they have given me the motivation to keep going when all around things were falling apart.

“I live alone and my family are miles away so these guys, every single one, are my family. I am the proud owner of 5 cats, 9 guinea pigs, 10 chickens, 2 cockerels and 2 rabbits,” says Tracy Stokes.

“These guys have kept me getting up in the morning, even if I’m down. They all need feeding and looking after, they have given me the motivation to keep going when all around things were falling apart.

“Just one week before the original lockdown began I lost Teddy, a cat I had a super special bond with. I didn’t go looking for a new family member but via Band of Rescuers York I found and welcomed into my home Bronn and Sansa, 2 semi feral kittens. Because of lockdown and lack of business, I had the hours and hours needed to work with these newbies.

“It’s taken nearly a year but Bronn is now a huge cuddle bug and Sansa, although aloof, is very settled and happy.”

Tracy adds: ”I think all three of us have benefited massively with the time spent during lockdown. The time spent with these two, and all my other furry and feathery family,  has kept me motivated, busy, positive and I’ve never felt alone.

“I am a hugger by nature and not seeing people and not being able to get and give hugs has been a real loss to me over the last year. The fact a lot of my pets love nothing more than attention and snuggles has helped so much.

“Having a cat asleep on my lap or pottering around the garden with me is so calming. Knowing that they have chosen to spend time with you is so very rewarding.

She continues: “The sheer joy of seeing each tiny step Bronn and Sansa have taken to turn from terrified semi ferals to relaxed, happy members of the family has shown me just how rewarding these situations can be and how it can make your spirits soar.

“I have never doubted the positive impact these guys have on me day to day but it has certainly magnified it for me during these tough times. Without the companionship and needs of my pets I could very easily have ended up in a physical and mental mess, even struggling to get out of bed each day.”

As for the smiles and laughter generated by her pets, Tracy says there have been countless funny moments.

“Bella the rabbit is the class clown, she pulls on my shoe laces and trouser legs for attention and treats, she also manages to get up to all manner of mischief you’d never know was even possible!,” she explains.

“Bronn has turned into a goof ball and every interaction with him ends up in laughter, he’s such a character.  Cats Jess, Oscar and Star have all just been there for me. Oscar is great at drying tears and all three spend time close to me and let me know I’m not alone.

“The chickens and cockerels are so inquisitive and love to help when I clean them out and all flock round to see what goodies I have in my pockets. Also their eggs are awesome and make great meals!

“As for the guinea pigs, you can’t help but smile when you fall out of bed to start feed time and from the stable comes the sound of guinea pigs urging you to hurry up and get their breakfast to them. Their enthusiasm and popcorning (a sudden jumping action to express joy) can’t help but make me share their joy and love for life.”

How has your pet made you smile during lockdown?

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For media information, images or to speak to a spokesperson about National Pet Month please contact Taz Thornton or Asha Clearwater at Turquoise Tiger on +44 (0)7920 461 044 or email info@nationalpetmonth.org.uk

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