For many people, animal companionship is more than having a pet. Those with disabilities, whether physical or mental, often benefit from service and assistance animals. In the LGBTQ community, mental illness and psychiatric disability are common due to the pressures of stigma, discrimination and outright violence.
In the summer of 2015, I was in a stalled 18- year relationship and approached each day with a “will today be the day?”…the day I might meet the new and exciting person for whom I had been looking. Intimacy was not happening at home and hadn’t for many years. I was primed and ready. I was bored, frustrated and, in many ways, lonelier than I had ever been — a bit ironic since I shared a home with my partner and our pets. To the outside world, my life was the perfect picture.