Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pet Therapy

My husband needed a CAT scan a few days ago, I suggested it would be less expensive if we just had our own cat do it. She is about two years old, and adorable. She is a constant source of joy and entertainment. She is our only child still living at home, and my husband and I sometimes wonder what we used to talk about before we got her.
Pets are very therapeutic. Anyone who has one knows this, and studies have confirmed it. Many hospitals and nursing homes have pet therapy, where an animal, most often a dog, is brought in and taken room to room to visit with the patients/residents. Blood pressure decreases when petting an animal, and people often socialize more when an animal is involved. Even Sigmund Freud used to sometimes have his dog present for psychotherapy sessions. He found that children and adolescents would relax and confide more with his dog in the room.
Having chronic pain or illness can cause feelings of isolation if the person is not able to get out and be involved with community/family activities. Having a pet can decrease these feelings, because of the companionship they provide. Having an animal in the house forces a person to get up out of bed in order to care for it, increasing activity. This is especially true of a dog, who needs to be walked several times each day. A cat needs less, just food, water and a clean litter box, but they can be great companions. My cat likes to lie on the leg area of my recliner where I like to sit, either between my knees, or against my leg. Even if we are not interacting, we each know the other is there. Even a fish, though not very cuddly, provides another living being in the home, and someone to care for. Having someone to care for, someone who is counting on you and trusting you is important. It gives a person purpose, a reason to start the day.
The best part, in my opinion, is the love. Animals are less judgmental than people. They love unconditionally, Studies have shown that people who have pets live longer than those who don't. If you don't have a pet, think about getting one. If you live someplace that does not allow pets, they may allow small animals, such as fish or hamsters. Another option is to adopt someone else's. Maybe you have a friend or relative with a pet you can become 'aunt' or 'uncle' to.
Having a pet changes life for the better. Interact with your pet. Talk, play, enjoy

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