Two years ago, my husband and I finally added a pet to our home. Well, we allowed the kids a couple of hamsters over the years, and a gold fish or two as well. But, when it came down to adding a four legged, barking creature to our already busy household with four boys, the idea of having a pet that wasn’t caged or in a bowl of water was something we totally avoided, even though there was much begging for a puppy from the kids over the years. I probably would have caved in and bought a dog. However, my husband was a hard nut to crack on the subject. With surprise to all of us, I managed to do just that the day we brought Bella home with us. And, the husband that never wanted a dog just can’t get enough of our little Maltipoo, Bella. Now that we finally have a dog, I realize the contentment a pet brings to a home. A day never goes by without laughter over something or other our very active Bella has done. This, alone, triggers my interest in the positive benefits a pet will bring to those needing their spirits lifted.
With some research, I have learned that an animal will not only bring a smile to one’s face, it has been proven that physical and emotional health is enhanced by the interaction with an animal. Blood pressure is lowered, reducing the risk of heart disease. Emotional health is improved socially, mentally, and psychologically. Children learn to be nurturing when caring for a pet. Autistic children have been encouraged to speak when an animal is involved in therapy. Research has proven that the elderly especially benefit with animal interaction. A pet will ease the feeling of fear and loneliness, bring a sense of happiness to a newly widowed man or woman, and encourage more movement to add even the slightest bit of exercise.
Pets are brought into convalescent centers, correctional facilities, day care centers, and even hospitals because of the positive effect they bring to anyone suffering emotionally or physically. Pet therapy has gained more recognition and popularity over the recent years. Whether a dog visits an elderly widow sitting alone in her room at a nursing home, a cancer patient receiving hospice care, or an abused child rescued from a dysfunctional home, the end result is the unconditional love being shared with those in need. The home healthcare company I work for has a pet therapy program to bring love and happiness to those physically suffering, or perhaps nearing their end of life. The power of these pets should never be underestimated as the unique therapy given by these animals cannot be replaced with anything that comes in a prescription bottle.