Close to each other
There are times when I've wondered about my sanity in relationship to animals. For years, my home turned into a halfway house for strays. I didn't mean for this to happen, but it did. We were all simply too soft hearted to look at a starving animal and not give it food which turned into shelter which turned into untold classifieds and phone calls trying to find homes. When I reached 8 dogs and 20+ cats, I simply couldn't do it anymore. Though it cost me a lot of tears, I got rid of all but two cats and two dogs. My life got simpler. I'm not a hoarder, and I know that my husband's OCD driven hoarding was part of why we accrued so many animals in our life. I will say that I got a lot out of taking care of that many animals, but I'm glad I don't have that responsibility anymore.
Now, there are times when animals equal sanity for me. One of the things I've missed so much this year has been touch. For close to two decades, neither my husband nor child went to bed without a back rub from me. Though my arms got tired, and I never massaged as long as they would have liked, I did enjoy giving those back rubs. Sex aside, touch is such a wonderful way to convey love. Now, with the womanchild in a dorm, the lack of touch is sometimes the loneliest point in my life, with some big exceptions.
My dogs and cats all want to be on or near me. The dogs compete to jump in my lap and sometimes both will try to take a place, tails beating against my legs. The lab will lay his face on my shoulder and try to lick my chin. The collie just looks up into my eyes with a look of quiet love. The girl kitten, Lillibeth, gently seeks a place on my breasts and will lie so still. Her purr will be the only motion we feel. My rescue kitty is probably the most affectionate. I can't sit down without him plopping himself on me without any regard for gravity. He knows I won't let him fall. He'll stretch out a paw and touch my face or rub his nose against mine.
After they've had their fill, they'll go find a better place to be or something to do, but each will choose to be near me at some point. It feels good. It might be the slippery slope to crazy animal lady status, but I don't care. It nurtures me and them, and that has to be good.