What may be unusual to some, is quite normal for another. What am I talking about, simply pet therapy. Many of us have a dog, cat, fish, reptile, etc. In some cases our pets turn into a form of therapy for those with a mental illness.
These pets can turn into our caretakers when we don’t have anyone else to be there for us.
I personally have two dogs, Diamond and Leona. They are the joys of my day, often enough. They turn my frown upside-down. They are excited when I come home, and sad when I leave. Which makes me want to get home that much sooner to see there happy, jumping selves!
This time of year many of us (mentally ill or not) experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as S.A.D (the fall/winter blues). There are a few types of therapy used now a days like, light therapy, or a vitamin supplement, etc. My choice of therapy when I’m depressed is my two dogs.
They are needy, want constant attention, need to be walked, fed, they want to play, etc. This keeps me on my feet. With little time for depression. Much like a child, they take a lot of time out of my day to care for them and carry a lot of responsibility.
Dogs are particularly interesting animals. When I’m depressed one of my dogs shows signs of depression too! Environmental? I don’t know? But she often resembles my moods equally. My other dog senses something isn’t right. She tries to get more pets, and tries to pull me off the couch to take her outside. I think she senses my depression, and is trying to get me out of it. Kind of weird, I know, but sometimes it works!
Our pets are such a great form of therapy. Whether you have a cat, dog, reptile, etc. having a pet is positively therapeutic.
I recently read an article about pet therapy, and how animals (particularly dogs) were being trained for the mentally ill. They were being trained to sense when something isn’t right with there owner. It amazes me how smart animals really are, and how helpful and therapeutic they can be.
Research has shown that heart attack victims who have pets live longer. Even watching a tank full of tropical fish may lower blood pressure, at least temporarily.
Therapeutic use of pets as companions has gained increasing attention in recent years. Animals provide a constant source of comfort and focus for attention. Animals bring out our nurturing instinct. They also make us feel safe and unconditionally accepted. We can just be ourselves around our pets.
Research has shown that pet ownership can:
- Reduce Stress-Induced Symptoms
- Requires Less Medical Care
- Add Years To Your Life
You may be asking “What type of pet?” Surprisingly, it doesn’t matter the kind of pet you have to gain the therapeutic benefit. The thing that matters is that the pet is of interest to you. Not, saying head to the nearest SPCA and pick up a cat if you’re a parakeet person. Chose an animal in which you like and can connect with.
It is important that the pet you choose fits your temperament, living space, and lifestyle. Be sure your chemistry matches before adopting an animal.
Some people connect with there animals on such a level they feel their survival is quintessential to the lives of there pets. Simply petting a dog, watching a kitten/cat tumble, or observing the hypnotic explorations of fish can be an antidote to a foul mood or a frazzling day.
Pets such as dogs and cats provide unconditional, nonjudgmental love and affection.
If you have a pet you’d like to talk about or share with us. Feel free to comment, and share a picture of your pet (s).