Friday, August 15, 2008

Pet Therapy

Yesterday I wrote about Lassie, and today I felt I should write more about pet therapy. On a site called Holistic online, I read the following: "Research has shown that heart attack victims who have pets live longer. Even watching a tank full of tropical fish may lower blood pressure, at least temporarily. A study of 92 patients hospitalized in coronary care units for angina or heart attack found that those who owned pets were more likely to be alive a year later than those who did not. The study found that only 6 percent of patients who owned pets died within one year compared with 28 percent of those who did not own pets."

After surveying a number of different sites, it's conclusive to me that pets truly do aid people who are sick. But what else do we gain from loving our pets?

For me, it was always unconditional love. During a depressive episode, no matter how awful I felt, how terrible I looked, or how "boring" and low energy others might have found me, my dogs licked me and vigorously wagged their tails as if I were upbeat, attractive, and a stimulating companion.

What pets do you have? In what ways do they enhance your life?

20 comments:

Gianna said...

I love my pets. I have two cats from before I was married. They are old now. One is 18 the other 14. I love them so much and fear losing the oldest. Today I broached the subject of getting a new kitten now that we have a bigger house...I miss kitten energy...it's been a very long time since my kitties were kittens. Also I want to have a new baby to help the transition when I lose my first baby...

Once I was married and we owned our first home we got a dog. I love her furiously too, but I think I'm more of a cat person. My dog makes me very happy though and I got so much joy watching her run around her new big fenced in yard today. She was so happy. I get happy just watching her have a good time.

Walking her is wonderful because she never stops acting like it's the best thing that's ever happened to her. She exudes joy.

I can't say exactly how my pets help me, but I know I need them. I will always have pets.

Wellness Writer said...

Gianna,
Just loving them is enough, and the joy they give you spills over on the page!

Susan

Jazz said...

I love my dogs...I have two huskies, a male and a female, who are littermates, and they are so much fun. They are always here, always happy to see me, and I love how they will migrate to wherever I am. If I'm sitting down somewhere, they will either be sleeping somewhere near my feet, or up on the couch curled up next to me. Like you said, they don't care how I look, how stimulating my company is, or what kind of mood I'm in.

It takes so little to get them all happy and excited and wagging their tails. A walk. A doggie treat. One of their people coming home...I think we can learn a lot about mindfulness and being content with what we have from our pets.

Joe said...

Pets are amazing. They don't judge criticize or complain. Pure love and devotion is what they do best. God definitely new what he was doing when he added animals to this glorious world. I am glad that you are doing so well.

Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
I'm so glad for you that you have dogs. My two dogs were terrific companions. Since I worked at home for many years as a freelance writer, I also felt my dogs were great company. They were quiet when I was writing, but the moment I wanted to play or take a walk, they were ready to accommodate me.

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Joe,
I couldn't agree more about animals, and thanks for wishing me well! I hope you're having a good week since KJ is away and you're in charge of your four kids!

Susan

Jena said...

We have 2 cats and they are like little stars in my world! They have their own personalities and make our home of 2 feel like a home of 4. So dynamic and interesting. I can't wait to have children to add to the mix one day, when I am well enough.

Wellness Writer said...

Jena,
Glad to hear your cats are so important to you. Welcome back! Hope you're feeling better.

Susan

discoverandrecover said...

Susan,

I was coaching some blind athletes one year - up in Kansas.

One of my players woke up in the middle of the night - having pain in his hamstring....

Was sleeping in the other twin bed in the room - woke up and listened to the conversation he had with his guide dog in the middle of the night....

It was then that I realized just how close a man can get to an animal...It was touching, and I will simply never forget it.

Unconditional love - that's what I would call these very special relationships.

Duane

Wellness Writer said...

Duane,
A great story. Thanks for sharing it!

Susan

susan said...

Hi,

i just found your blog, and i really like it.

My cat is my best friend. She knows my moods better than i do, and takes care of me. Her predessor did the same thing.

I really am blessed to be owned by my cats.
Sincerely,

Another Susan

Syd said...

If only people could love each other with the unconditional love that pets express. I'm not suggesting that we go around licking each others faces, but a smile and some expression that we're generally glad to see someone we care about would certainly go a long way to making us all healthier and happier.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Susan,
Welcome to my blog. Yes, I believe pets can understand our moods. It's nice that you love your cats so much!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Syd,
Yes, I agree that a smile can work wonders. I also agree that having our friends lick us might strain these relationships (smiling face), but the motivation behind it is so nice.

Susan

JayPeeFreely said...

Thanks for the stop by. Yes, Skidz was important to my mother, but I think she has invested so much in the care of 18 cats, with more on the way, that it gets in the way of rational looks at the family's financial, psychological and emotional well being. It has drained me.

I can't escape unless what I am going to do, re-enlist into the Army, since I think the Navy won't take me, does it. I am that despairing.

In 43 months of papers, I've seen $40K+ go to my mother for bills and God knows what else (cat care, credit cards still with a hefty balance) and let my aunt choose whatever path isn't the one I point out: credit consolid., bankruptcy, mortgage renegotiation, etc.

The cats are a by-product of a greater problem: they don't assist in the inner peace at all. And I try to accept (and love) them. But I am allergic to their hair and upkeep is a nightmare. 6 litter boxes and you can imagine the hair on whatever is uncovered.

I can handle 2-4 cats, but the numbers have gotten insane with our finances stressing every fiber of my being...with no easy way out.

(AND I tried 10 different writing apps., no response or just not the exp. or expertise they want...)

Fuck it.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear JayPeeFreely,
Perhaps you mentioned it, but I had no idea your mother had so many cats. I thought we were talking about one cat who died.

Yes, I would agree that having so many cats when you and your family are struggling financially is a huge problem. And it's particularly an issue since you're allergic to them.

I'll address the other issues offline.

Susan

Annie said...

Susan, It is good to be back and find such a pleasant post. I love my "peopledog" Pete. She is my companion and entertainment all in one. We talk throughout the day and I think she loves me as well. We are in our new place and she is happy just to be with me. Thanks for such a fun post. Annie

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Annie,
Welcome back! I hope you're enjoying your new home and your new job. And it's great that you and your "peopledog" are adjusting so well!

Susan

iHanna said...

I have a clip on the fridge about how good it is to pet your animals from that research! I also believe the serotonin leveals in your body goes up when you are touched or touch another person, maybe it's the same with a pet? I have a cat and she makes me purr toO! :-)

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Ihanna,
Sorry I forgot to respond to this earlier. It sure made me smile!

Susan