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Jackson Galaxy says a cat changed his life

Friday, 30 June 2017 : Galaxy hosts Animal Planet’s series, My Cat From Hell, in which he whispers, cajoles and outsmarts the most ferocious of feline pets.

It’s a calling for Galaxy (who was born Richard Kirschner). Morphing into an expert cat wrangler is something he never dreamed of. He longed to be a musician from the time he was nine years old. But a cat changed his life.

Galaxy had been living in Boulder, Colorado in the United States for 15 years, pursuing a career as a musician and doing volunteer work in animal shelters. “Did I expect to be there for 15 years? Absolutely not,” he says over lunch in a vegan restaurant.

“I expected a year maybe but the thing that happened with the shelter and the animals kept me there. I went there for the music and stayed there for the cats.”

It was one particular cat, Benny, who turned Galaxy’s life around. For those 15 years he’d been nursing a drug and alcohol habit. “It was at the point when my alcoholism and drug addiction bottomed,” he says.

“I had alienated everybody I knew, including family, and had lost everything. And I was miserable and mentally I was absolutely bonkers. I overdosed three separate times. It was the one time in my life when I had nothing in terms of having faith in anything. When you lose that there’s no point.”

One day at the shelter he saw a woman dump a cat in front of the building. He caught up with her and confronted her. “He’d gotten hit by a car and his pelvis was broken,” recalls Galaxy.

“She said he was an ‘unbondable’ cat. When she used that word I realised that that’s me. So as I’m driving him to the hospital to get him patched back up, I looked into the carrier and it was one of those moments when I realised how broken I was by looking at how broken he was. My work with him over the next 13 years really mirrored the work I was doing on myself.

“He was a really challenging cat, very difficult, but it kept me humble. In a way he was sort of a symbol. He saved me.”

Changing directions

Galaxy says he pulled himself out of his stupor, began attending meetings. “I’ve never been one to consciously contemplate suicide or anything like that, but what you’re doing in that respect is you’re killing yourself. You’re just not doing it consciously; you’re doing it in the name of a good time,” he says.

“I took on Benny as a project where he became this sort of mirror that I realised if I did want to commit to this path, I needed to be present for the animals in order to work with them. They can totally tell.

“If you come to an animal and you’re loaded, they know. Plus it was him. And I had a few others in my life, and all the animals I was responsible for – and this is a very common story among addicts – when they bottom, the only thing they have left is their cat, their dog.

“They’re the only thing that gave them unconditional love. Everyone else is gone. I know so many addicts who came back because they thought, ‘Who’s going to take care of my dog?’ It’s the only shred of connection to the world that we have left. It’s the same story for me except mine was Benny, and all of them. I’d become so entrenched in the world of animal welfare and saving animals that I stuck around. I don’t think I would’ve otherwise, I really don’t.”

 

Source : Internet

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