3 Benefits of Pet Therapy

Nelly, Chet, and Stella

I own 5 dogs and 3 cats.  My wife and I are stray dog magnets and all of our animals are rescues.  Each one has its own distinct personality and quirks, just like people.  



My dogs, in particular, give me unconditional love.  A love like this can lift you up during your darkest moments and make your day.  They do it with a tail wag or a head in the lap. In my house, I have a Doberman/Shepherd mix named Lou who is especially attuned to my moods and always seems to know when I need a lift.  He will follow me around as if he’s protecting me and I suppose in a very real way, he is.  He lays down close to me so I can feel him when I go to bed. I pet and talk to him and I often find my fog lifting after I wake up.



Having pets is a responsibility, and for the mentally ill, this can be a good thing.  If you can focus on something outside of yourself, you can be productive and feel pride.  I can’t underestimate the need to feel good about something- depression drives you so far down that you aren’t able to see a single good thing in your life. Your pets require feeding, brushing, walking, and water, which forces you to do it for them even if you won’t find a reason to do it for yourself. 



Pets are fun.  You can play catch and chase around your dogs.  Cats love to play with string and sparkly objects- try shining a mirror on the wall and watch them go bananas.   This all serves to breakthrough the void that you sometimes find yourself stuck in with depression.  Nobody can resist the charms of a playful pet and that is contagious.  We all need moments of joy, particularly when we are feeling anxious or down.

To find a pet for you, check with shelters and rescue organizations in your area who have no-kill policies.  A rescued animal is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

By jebrownwriter

Houston, TX-based Writer and Photographer. Proud pet rescuer who spends nearly all his money on them.

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