By Anna Finch, Oregon

When I moved back to Virginia in 2009, my dad adopted Tommy. The cat had a lot of health issues. He was raised on a farm and had to be on medications.

I have been allergic to cats my whole life. This has always been hard for me because I love cats so much. I had to take medicines to be around them.

Tommy and I liked each other instantly, but because of my asthma and allergies, I couldn’t be around him for long periods of time. I needed to wash my hands and had to keep him out of my room so I could breathe OK while I slept. But we loved each other a lot. I often heard him outside my door, scratching and meowing for me to come out and play. When I did, we would have our time together.

I continued to have some breathing issues when near Tommy until one day I realized I needed and wanted to work on the fear underlying my asthma. I was letting my fears about opening my heart to love tighten my lungs. Besides being physically allergic, emotionally I was making it worse by fearing not being able to breathe and love others. I loved this Soul and wanted to spend more time with him. I started new medicine and a new routine so I could live without fear.

My breathing improved as I developed some breathing techniques and focused on the love I felt from Tommy and the love I gave him. I realized I had been deeply hurt from a past relationship that I was still holding on to. The gift of loving Tommy opened my heart to find love again. This eventually led me to finding my future husband.

Tommy is forever in my heart. He taught me about the Law of Love and how it can overcome fear. This allowed me to be grateful for the Souls that love us and whom we love back. Animals are Souls too. They show us so much about life and help us learn valuable lessons.

—Photos by Anna Finch