It’s raining cats and dogs. Not a chance! Mother’s Day, our fur babies, and the sunshine pets bring into our lives.

It IS raining cats and dogs at my house – well, at least raining CATS!  During this month of Mother’s Day, I thought it important to acknowledge all of the “Fur Baby Moms” out there,

It IS raining cats and dogs at my house – well, at least raining CATS!  During this month of Mother’s Day, I thought it important to acknowledge all of the “Fur Baby Moms” out there, as our pets are oftentimes our children.  I did not have my first human child until I was 33 years old, so for many years I had my fur babies. I know for the last 24 years, EVERY Mother’s Day, even before I became a mother to a human child, I have received a card from my fur babies.   Silly, yes, but for many years they WERE my children and even with human children of my own now, I still consider them my babies.    Lest you think my cats have somehow learned to get themselves to the store to pick out the purr-fect card (sorry, couldn’t resist), and somehow mastered the art of SIGNING those cards with a paw print signature, I will give a little credit to their human “Fur Dad” to making those cards happen for 24 years.  They ARE my children, and I love them!

Two of my "outsiders". These kitties are NOT from the same litter, but have been a bonded pair now for seven years. You never see one without the other!

Two of my “outsiders”. These kitties are NOT from the same litter, but have been a bonded pair now for seven years. You never see one without the other!

A little about me.   I am a cat-person.  I love dogs, too, but having a lot of cats around – and I do mean A LOT – isn’t conducive to having dogs, but I love them and ALL animals, really.   I think one day I could be happy living on a farm!  I have three inside babies and have taken in a colony of feral cats that live outside who now call my place home. They all live outside and we were finally able to catch the last one to spay and neuter – but not until we had eight of them, as some had kittens before we could catch them.   We have frequent visitors as well who just “drop in” and then go back to their homes.  It’s kind of like a bed and breakfast here! At any given time, there are 10 “outsiders” who call this place home or are stopping in for a visit.



Me and one of my three "insders" - Delta.

Me and one of my three “insiders” – Delta.


Of course being the health person that I am, I am thrilled to know what pets offer “health benefits” as well.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness. There have been research studies showing that pet owners can, in addition to lower blood pressuring like the CDC suggests, also reduce stress while boosting the “good chemicals” in our brains. People with pets may feel less isolated, as having a pet can sometimes lead to more social interaction with others.  This is especially true for dog-owners who have to get the dog outside where of course they may have opportunities to interact with other humans.  Like the CDC says, pets offer companionship.  You are never really alone when you have a pet. Trust me, I know this to be true. I cannot take a shower without one of my three THISCLOSE and right there with me in the bathroom.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) cites several studies on pets and health.  One study examined 421 adults who had suffered heart attacks. Researchers found that dog owners were significantly more likely to still be alive than were those who did not own dogs one year later, regardless of the severity of the heart attack. Another research study examined 240 married couples. Those couples who owned a pet were found to have lower heart rates and blood pressure than those without pets. Pet owners seemed to have milder responses and quicker recovery from stress when they were with their pets than with a spouse or friend.

Pets can not only be our babies on this Mother’s Day, but they can be so good for our health.    I for one am grateful to be the mom of all of my precious fur babies!

P.S.  Oh, it IS raining DOGS at WSA Founder Karen Shayne’s house!    Check out Karen and her sweet baby Marley.  Happy Mother’s Day to Karen from her sweet baby!



Karen Shayne's precious fur baby, Miss Marley.

Karen Shayne’s precious fur baby, Miss Marley.




Cindy Chafin
Cindy Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES® serves as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her. Through her many years as a masters-level certified health educator and 18-year employment in a higher education setting – as well as several years as a graduate and doctoral student – she has written countless articles, essays, publications, grant applications, proposals, reports, and other technical and creative writing documents. In addition to her training and professional work experience, she spent four years as volunteer editor of New Focus Daily, a publication of the Women Survivors Alliance, a national women cancer survivors-focused organization based in Nashville, Tennessee.
While serving as editor of Unconditionally Her, a women-focused magazine which provides content on anything from recipes, travel, books, and everything in between, she has a special interest in fitness, health, and well-being. She is certified by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) and was part of the first cohort to receive master's level designation. NCHEC certifies health education specialists, promotes professional development, and strengthens professional preparation and practice. She is proud to be a CHES® and has been a public health professional for many years after receiving her graduate degree in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for many years and looks forward to re-engaging with women one-on-one as a health coach pending completion of her certification and doctoral degree to supplement her public health and academic work.

She currently is the Associate Director for Community Programs for the Center for Health and Human Services at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, located just outside of Nashville, where she has been a project director of multiple grants since 2002 and served as interim director from 2015-2018. Cindy offers her consulting services and volunteer hours under the umbrella of Community Health Collaboratives, LLC which she founded in 2002 for organizations such as Unconditionally Her and other non-profit and charity organizations. She is pleased to promote empowerment and confidence of women readers across the globe, and to provide inspiration, motivation, and voice for social change through her role as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her.

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