Pets have the power to bring joy to troubled minds. They can also help those in recovery to achieve long-term sobriety. Those are more than just pleasant thoughts. They're fact, according to experts cited by CNN.
Therapists have used dogs, cats, horses, and even dolphins to bring a little bit of sunshine into the lives of their patients.
Here are three ways in which our nonhuman friends excel at being ministers of mercy to we homo sapiens:
By stimulating the release of oxytocin, a natural anti-stress compound. Research shows this biochemical creates feelings of relaxation and tranquility, making pets an effective way to fight the blues.
By inspiring their owners to go outside. Exposure to sunlight gives your body added Vitamin D, according to HuffPost. Also, going outdoors can relieve depression, improve focus, and enhance the immune system.
By meeting the human need for interaction. Our desire for companionship is hardwired into the essence of who we are, according to experts interviewed by Scientific American. The wonderful simplicity of a pet's outlook on life removes many of the barriers to friendship that keep those with special needs feeling isolated. This can lay the groundwork for fruitful relationships with other people as time goes on.
Now that we've looked at the reasons for having a pet, let's consider some of the things to keep in mind when choosing an animal companion.
Great Power, Great Responsibility
Humans are the dominant form of life on earth, with the ability to do as we wish to the rest of the planet and its creatures. This fact doesn't give us the right to use our power to oppress or harm, however. On the contrary, it tasks us with the duty to care for the environment, including animals. Nowhere is this more true than in the bond between pet and pet parent. So ask yourself these important questions before making a final decision:
"Do I have the financial ability to care for a pet?" There's much more to this matter than many people realize. Besides the initial adoption fees, you must consider the costs of food, bedding, toys, and products like shampoo for dogs. Even mice, fish, and birds can rack up vet bills. While we're on the topic of medical care, we should mention that you'll need access to a vet who treats your type of pet. While most are proficient with dogs and cats, you may need to look around a bit to find one that treats other animals.
"Do I have the personality/temperament/emotional resources to deal with a pet?" Every living creature on earth has its share of flaws, pets included. Dogs can provide endless amusement. But they can also destroy your shoes. Cat are soft and cuddly; but they're often aloof. Parrots can set people's nerves on edge with their cries. Reptiles are usually quite mellow, but they're not the best choice if you want a friend with lots of personality. Mice require regular habitat cleaning unless you want your house to smell very pungent. So temper your dreams with a good dose of realism before making up your mind.
"Will my living situation permit me to have a pet?" Renters often face restrictions on the kinds of animals (if any) they can own. People with roommates, or who live with family, must consider the feelings of other household members.
Having a pet is, in most cases, a wonderful decision for all involved. So give it some thought and, if it works for your situation, bring an animal friend into your home and your life. You'll be a better person for it.
Key Word References
recovery - http://www.drugrehab.org/adopting-companion-animal-recovery-addiction/
They're fact - http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/01/health/mental-health-service-dogs/index.html
dolphins - http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/30/sport/equine-horse-therapy-mental-health/index.html
oxytocin - https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/made-each-other/201005/dog-good
Vitamin D - https://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-hark/pet-ownership-health_b_3187960.html
relieve depression - http://www.health.com/mind-body/health-benefits-of-nature
hardwired - https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-are-wired-to-connect/
About the Author
Cindy Aldridge is a freelance writer who started OurDogFriends.org as a fun side project through which to share her thoughts and insights on being a responsible dog owner.
"I'm originally from Phoenix, Arizona but I travel a lot with my dog, and through experience, I've learned a great deal about the ins and outs of moving and house hunting with my dog in mind. Moving with a dog isn't easy and can be quite stressful for you and your dog, and that's why I wanted to share this knowledge with fellow dog owners out there."
Cindy wrote this article specifically for buyhavanese.com
We thank her for her generosity in sharing her knowledge with our readers. You can google Cindy Aldridge @ OurDogFriends.org to read other article by her.