Pets are the best type of therapy
Have you ever have a cat or dog (or other furry friend) that just seemed to know when you were having a particularly bad day, and they would try to comfort you?
For years animals have had an enormous impact on patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities, as therapy animals. You often find them in mental health facilities, and they are often allowed in tribunal and court hearings as comfort to the person who is unwell.
And on a more individual level as service or companion animals to many with disabilities. There are lots of rules and regulations about which animals are allowed to hold those titles, and which ones are allowed to be taken into places where animals are not ordinarily allowed to go. While these animals may have a specific title, I think every pet has the ability to be a “therapy pet” especially for those of us with chronic illness.
For me, I have been lucky enough to have several pets in my life to provide me with pet-therapy. When I just want to cry because the pain is too much that day, my cat will come and lay with me. With a pet no words need to be exchanged, no one is trying to give you sympathy or feel sorry for you, just a living creature letting you know you are not alone in this.
Sometimes when you are at your breaking point, all you need is that comfort from your furry friend.
When you don’t want to get out of bed because you’re mentally and physically defeated from fighting the same battles every day, knowing that your pet is relying on you to get up and care for them can be the encouragement you need to help you get moving. Four-legged friends that need to be taken outside and walked are even better because they get us to leave the house, get some fresh air, maybe some sunshine. This can help greatly with managing both mood and sleep.
There are many kinds of therapies to help those of us living with chronic illness, but if you have been lucky enough to have had a special pet during your journey you know there is no better therapy than a furry friend.
SOME ADDED FACTS:
Owning a pet has been found to have many physical and psychological health benefits including:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Increased physical activity which can lead to better weight management & better overall health
- Fewer visits to the doctor for illness/poor health
- Improved immune system if a child grows up with a dog
- Higher self-esteem in children and adolescents who have pets
- A more positive outlook on life
- Less loneliness, restlessness, despair and boredom
- Less depression and better able to cope with grief, stress and loss
- Improved social connectedness
- Improved social skills
Do you have a furry friend? Whats the best part about having them in your life? Tell us about them below. We also welcome cute animal photos on the facebook page comments for this post!