When they enter our lives a pet becomes a companion, a friend, and for some, a soul mate.
But beneath their playful antics and loving gaze, a pet’s wisdom can offer something more – they can teach us about ourselves, provide new perspectives and show us how to live more selflessly and joyfully.
Here, Aussie icon Deborah Hutton, along with celebrity Vet Katrina Warren, reveal the lessons their pets have taught them.
Deborah Hutton reflecting on her late Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu Billie, 9
It's just gone four weeks since I lost Billie out of my life. Part of me still can’t believe I won’t see that sweet face ever again. The feeling of intense grief has at times been overwhelming. I am constantly reminded of her by the fact that she was with me 90 per cent of the time, and every part of my daily routine was shaped by her presence.
It was always going to be a hard to read the Good Health magazine feature knowing it was coming out this month. Billie and I have been featured together in many different stories over the years and I was always amused to see her so comfortable in front of a camera, knowing where to look on cue. I always joked that I taught her everything she knew!
The story this month was about pets and the wisdom they give us and the unforeseen benefits you receive by having unconditional love in your life through these beautiful creatures. It takes my breath away to read the words I wrote just 6 short weeks ago. As I sit here looking at her gorgeous image, and how happy we were together, it highlights the tremendous gift of love that we shared.
I was incredibly lucky to have her in my life and I will miss her every single day. My beautiful, funny, clever, irreplaceable Billie Hutton.
Dr Katrina Warren with her on her Maine Coon cat Mr Fox, 7, and Golden Retriever Riley, 10
Around 2010, my dog Toby and my cat Milly passed away within four months of each other. I wasn’t ready for another puppy but I missed having a cat around the house, so I got Mr Fox and he filled that empty space. One year after Toby died I fostered Riley, but once he came home with me he never left.
Toby is still my greatest loss. I call him my ‘heart dog’ – he was my best friend and we shared so many milestones. He was also part of my career and when I lost him, I lost part of my identity. That loss showed me that grief can’t be controlled or managed.
Growing up with Riley and Mr Fox, my daughter Charlotte, 9, has learned about the responsibility of caring for another living thing. They’ve been very important in teaching her about friendship because they keep secrets, offer companionship and don’t judge. They brought the smiles back to our home.
To find out the invaluable lessons more celebrities have learnt from their pets, pick up your copy of Good Health today.