Pets are Unwavering Supporters of your Getting Better.
Pets have accompanied humans for at least 80,000 years that we know of. During this long relationship our dogs, cats, horses and other pets have grown to understand our emotions, our different behaviors and our challenges. They have learned to join us in our happiness and to seek to comfort us when we are feeling sad and vulnerable. They can run and play when we are healthy but will grow concerned if we are ill and try in their way to help in whatever way they can. That pets can love and care about us so selflessly is one of the greatest gifts nature has given us.
For clients that already have pets, there is little need to point out the positives these animals bring to we humans mental health. The therapist’s role will be to look at that relationship their animal has with the client and explore additional ways their pet can help in the healing process. This might involve increasing quality time with pets, bringing pets to work or having pets be present during difficult moments.
For clients that do not have pets but want the benefits of the love these animals can bring, the therapist can play a role in bringing an pet companion into the client’s life and to point out ways to help their pet contribute positively. Pets will stimulate you, attend to you when you are feeling low and alert you to negative changes. If you open the door to a pet, they will stand eager to help.
Pets can be particularly helpful in fighting depression, anxiety, loneliness and grieving. They have been wonderful helpers in helping autistic children climb out of their shell and have learned to alert individuals with diabetes and epilepsy so that they can better manage their condition. Many animals we have worked with have understood how best to help without being shown. The power of the love they have for their master and their concern for them led them to doing what had to be done.
In our practice we look forward to partnering with our clients and their pets to make the healing process as effective as we can. For our part, we acknowledge and celebrate the role that our pets play in helping us move to better health and seek to add what we can to support that process.
In our work with our clients, our own pets will sometimes accompany us. They are there to welcome you, to make you smile and to feel at home. But they do more than that. They are also there to be attuned to your feelings and through their responses alert the therapist to issues and feelings that may not be readily apparent to the therapist but are clearly sensed by our pet. They are, in effect, co-therapists and have a job in the therapy room. They are there to make you feel safe and to respond to your feelings in ways the therapist cannot. Though they make a powerful contribution to the therapy process, they are also just a loving dog and like all pets want to make you feel better in any way they can.