Pet Therapy

How Animals Can Save You

When you return home from work, is someone waiting for you eagerly? When you spend your weekend as a couch potato, do you crave companionship? Loneliness, emptiness, and purposelessness are a few emotions we experience from time to time. In these times, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who loves and cares for you unconditionally?

I truly believe that a dog is man’s best friend. In any situation, just a “paw” or a “woof” can make you feel cherished and cared for. There are no worries in terms of judgment or acceptance; all you have to do is care for them, and then receive twice the amount of love in return – it is truly UNCONDITIONAL!

Clinical Pet Therapy

Many times, having pets or being around animals is considered therapeutic. For this reason, pets such as dogs and cats are used as a means of therapy. Pet therapy practiced in clinics is an interaction between a trained animal and client to help them overcome or cope with health or mental disorders. The most commonly used animals in pet therapy comprise of cats and dogs, however, other animals such as horses, guinea pigs, and fish can also be used. The animal is chosen by the goal of the treatment plan.

However, if it isn’t clinical therapy that you seek, how would having a pet help you? The answer is, HAPPINESS! Lots and lots of love and happiness. Having a pet such as a dog can help improve your motor skills and coordination, develop social skills, and increase self-esteem.

You may wonder how? But, imagine this scenario – you are a proud owner of a cute dog who is now in your care. You have to feed it, walk it, love it, and care for it like a parent and companion. While engaging in these activities, we gain a sense of independence and responsibility. It also makes us active as there are certain tasks which we have to perform to keep our pets healthy and happy. Going for walks and being exposed to the outdoor environment plays an important role in the lives of dogs. Hence, to maintain this balance, as a dutiful parent when you walk your dog, your motor skills, interactions, and social skills will improve simultaneously. In addition to this, the willingness to engage in activities and exercise will also increase.

Lockdown Woes

During these times of lockdown, where one cannot go outside, you might wonder how these developments and improvements still sustain their relevance. Well, during these times we need animals as much as they need us! Having a pet during this pandemic is the best form of therapy.

There is immense uncertainty in the minds of people instilling negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, and loneliness. Having a pet can dilute these feelings and convert them into positive ones.

For example, chilling and relaxing with a pet can help one become more verbal about how they feel as the presence of a pair of ears can make us feel heard and understood. More so, when we are playing with our pet dog, or giving them belly rubs to get affection it releases happy hormones that reduce stress and anxiety. Especially during this time, it majorly reduces feelings of boredom and restlessness. Sometimes it can also support the reduction of depressive feelings by giving a positive outlook on life and increasing self-esteem! Not just dogs, but the animal you love or show a preference for can serve as your best-suited companion.

What You Can Do

While there are instances where getting a pet dog, cat or any other species is not possible, we should still make the best of all situations. Animals on the street need us NOW, more than ever! Due to the lockdown, human activity outdoors has decreased which has resulted in lesser or no food available for the animals. They don’t have access to food in any form – people are not feeding them, and they cannot feed on the leftovers either. Now is the time to extend a helping hand. We can take initiative by leaving food and water outside for the stray dogs and cats to make sure they don’t die of starvation. More so, we can leave water out on our balconies for the birds as well! This is a practice we shouldn’t stop even after we overcome this pandemic. If one wishes, the strays can be adopted too! Get them vaccinated, and the required health check-up; provide them with love and shelter they did not hope or expect to receive.

Many people don’t have enough time in the day to spend with their pets. This can lead to loneliness and melancholy experienced by them as they wait for our arrival at the door, or strive for our affection on days they feel low. Some may also struggle to find the time to care for their pets by pampering them to treats and walks, which can induce feelings of unhappiness and guilt in the caregiver. However, there is a solution to satisfy your love for animals. Whenever you get off work or have a lazy weekend, drive to an animal shelter and spend time with the strays who could use your love and care. Spending your time feeding and nourishing them can also induce feelings of reliability and comfort between you and the animal. They can serve as your companion if you pay regular visits – you might just become their favorite caregiver too! Oh, how good does it feel to be loved and cherished by those whom we love and cherish?

Animals

We need them, and they need us now, more than ever! We need to save them, and allow them to save us. In this ecosystem, we are all co-dependent on one another. Hence, we should not take them for granted. If we are not loyal to them and devoted to keeping them safe, how can we expect loyalty or love from them? Save animals, and let them save you!

About the author

Tarasha is a 3rd year undergraduate student pursuing child psychology. She loves to volunteer for
social work concerning animals and children. Additionally, she enjoys participating in environmental
activities actively, since the Earth is all we have in common and we are all responsible for its well-being.

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