Paul Robertson has been working as a long-distance truck driver for years now. Although he loves his job, it can get lonesome driving the truck on the road, especially when he’s alone.
Luckily, Paul had his adopted feline companion, Howie, who accompanies him on his trips. They were road buddies for years until Howie passed away in 2017.
Devastated by grief over the loss of his cat, Paul kept his eyes open for a new furry friend to keep him company. He visited an animal rescue, where staff introduced him to a ginger cat named Percy.
Once Paul saw his scars, torn ear, and missing tooth, he immediately knew that he would make the perfect companion.
Percy hadn’t had an easy life. He’d been living on the streets before he was rescued. Although Percy had a rough history, the cat remained sweet and loving. He immediately bonded with Paul, and the latter adopted him officially.
Eventually, Percy became his constant co-pilot on his long-haul trips. Riding shotgun on a platform that Paul designed so he could look out the window, Percy enjoyed every minute he spent on the road with his new dad.
“He’s very affectionate and loves to crawl on my lap, up my chest, and then rub cheeks with me,” Paul wrote on Facebook.
“He loves to play. He purrs a lot. And of course, he’s a cat: he loves to eat and he loves to snooze.”
Paul, who’s also a photographer, loved taking snaps of Percy and often shared them on his Facebook. Because of his adorable pictures, the cat gained a significant following on the platform.
In February 2017, Paul had one of the worst scares of his life while they were at a truck stop in Ohio. When he woke up in the morning, the passenger window was down, and Percy was nowhere to be found.
This had happened before, usually when there was a bird outside. This time, however, Percy didn’t come out even when he called out to him and scoured the area near the rest stop. Worse, the weather report that day said that a storm was coming.
Losing all hope, Paul took to Facebook to announce that Percy was missing. Many people offered to help him search for his missing cat. Unfortunately, Paul couldn’t afford to wait for his return.
“I’m a commercial truck driver … and I’ve signed on a dotted line saying I will have it delivered by such and such a time. I don’t have the choice to stay if I want to,” he said.
Paul drove away with a heavy heart, feeling like he had abandoned his child. He had made two deliveries and driven 400 miles when a miracle happened.
He turned around, and there he saw an oil-covered stray cat coming out from under his truck – it was Percy!
The cat looked hungry and tired, but he was okay. After that incident, Paul made sure to keep a close eye on him. Now, the duo has been together for three years, and the bond they have is stronger than ever.
“The other day I caught myself laughing at one of his antics and I thought: ‘It’s nice to live alone sometimes ’cause you can have everything your own way – but I wouldn’t be laughing like this if I were alone.’ Percy is good for my spirit and soul,” Paul said.
What a lovely friendship! We’re so glad that Paul and Percy found their way into each other’s lives. Indeed, having a partner makes everything better.
Lonely Truck Driver Adopts Stray Cat – And Now He’s His Companion On The Road
10 Mental & Physical Health Benefits of Having Pets
Pets are family members. Like humans, they need love, health care, and attention. But pet parents’ relationships with their pets are not one sided. Pets give so much back in return, improving the health of our minds, bodies, and hearts.
The benefits of having pets are plentiful — and scientifically proven. Pets help their humans live longer, happier, and healthier lives mentally and physically. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) gathers the latest information on the positive health effects of companion animals. These researchers help make the case for adding a pet to a household.
From reducing the risk of heart attacks to alleviating loneliness, these furry family members are contributing to healthy communities.
Let’s talk about those benefits.
Better Mental Health
Pets can contribute to positive mental health through emotional work and practical work. The emotional work can be described as alleviating worries, stress, and depression. You may have noticed that your pet wastes no time noticing and springing into action when you are upset or sad. Their intuition is what makes them great support and therapy animals, and animal-assisted therapy is effective in treating PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Then there’s the practical work that comes with caring for a pet. This means making sure their individual needs are met. Developing a daily routine of walks and feeding times can help pet parents with mental health conditions feel a sense of purpose that affects other areas of their lives.
The Data: Pets and Mental Health
A 2016 HABRI study explored the role of pets in the social networks of people managing a long‑term mental health problem.
- Pets were found to contribute to a stronger sense of identity in pet owners with mental health conditions, including reducing negative perceptions of a mental health condition or diagnosis.
- Pets provide a sense of security and routine in the relationship, which reinforces stable cognition.
- Pets provide a distraction and disruption from distressing symptoms, such as hearing voices, suicidal thoughts, rumination, and facilitating routine and exercise for those who care for them.
Better Physical Health
Every little bit counts when it comes to physical health benefits, and those daily walks really add up for dog owners. Since they are more likely to meet the criteria for regular moderate exercise, dog parents have lower instances of obesity.
Your heart is one of the biggest spots to see the full benefits of pet ownership. Just the presence of animals has significant impacts on blood pressure, with pet owners having a lower resting blood pressure than people without pet babies.
Cat parents aren’t left out of the healthy heart race. A feline friend in your home reduces your risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attacks. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), people without cats have a 40% higher relative risk of heart attack than non‑cat owners.
The Data: Pets and Physical Health
- Approximately 60% of dog walkers met the criteria for regular moderate and/or vigorous leisure‑time physical activity compared with about 45% for non‑dog owners and dog owners who did not walk their dog in a 2005 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey.
- In a study of adults over the age of 50 with mildly elevated blood pressure, the presence of a pet dog or cat had a significant impact on blood pressure, with dog ownership being associated with lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure compared to people who did not own pets.
- A study of over 2,400 cat owners concluded there was a significantly lower relative risk for death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack, compared to non‑owners during a 20‑year follow‑up.
Healthier Aging Process
Research has shown that older adults get social and emotional support from their pets that combats loneliness and depression. Aside from promoting exercise and reducing stress, pets also assist in the treatment of long‑term diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Pet companionship is also key for hospital and cancer patients. When coupled with animal-assisted activities, pets help patients with pain management and in interactions with doctors and nurses. Those patients also responded better to treatments and reported improvements in their quality of life.
The Data: Pets and Aging
- Results of a study of older adults who live alone suggest that pet ownership may act as a buffer against loneliness.
- Results of a one-year study that examined the impact of animal‑assisted therapy (AAT) on patients with chronic pain demonstrated that, following AAT, patients reported reduced pain, discomfort, and stress. Additionally, stress among nursing staff was found to decrease significantly following AAT.
- A study of older adults with mental illness living in long‑term care facilities concluded that AAT reduced depressive symptoms and improved cognitive function.
When we look at the data on mental health, physical health, and aging, it’s clear that pets contribute much to people’s lives in these areas, as well as being the loving companions we’ve always known they are.