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In 2011 I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. I had to send my best friend Charlie, an 11 year old Collie to travel along the rainbow bridge. I was devastated. My husband worried I would never come out of my severe depression. He always said he was not a cat person. One day my husband took me to PetsMart. I didn't know why we were going to PetsMart because we didn't need any animal supplies now. He surprised and told me to pick one, while standing in front of the cages of adoptable cats. I was confused, he's not a cat person. "Pick a new friend." We looked at several and came to a cage that had 2 kittens in it. I was interested in the little girl who was mostly white who was still sleepy when I picked her up. My husband picked up the little boy. Instantly he crawled up to my husband's shoulders. I handed the sleepy girl to my husband and grabbed the little boy. Instantly he did the same thing. Then he did something I didn't expect, he laid across my shoulders and purred in my ear. I had been having really bad anxiety attacks. As soon as this little boy purred in my ear, the anxiety was melting away. We couldn't afford both so we took the boy home. As I filled out the paperwork, I saw that his name was Pepper. I kept the name Pepper, it suited him since he had a "peppering" of white on his hip. We always tell people we didn't adopt Pepper, he adopted us. My husband still says he's not a cat person but he is a Pepper person. Pepper is now 5 years old. He still eases my anxiety attacks by resting on my shoulders and purring in my ear. As he does that, I can keep walking around the house or cook dinner and he just administers his "medicine" for my anxieties. As I write this he is laying against my leg and feeling his fur helps me relax.

Julie Tonnsen
Billings, MT

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