It is no secret that in today’s society our pets are becoming more and more associated with our health and wellbeing. Of course, dogs have probably been the most popular companion throughout history. They are loyal, protective, fun, and adorable members of the family. Though we may no longer use dogs for survival needs, we find now more than ever that pets can be of great emotional support to those suffering from addiction.
So What Is It About Our Pets and Emotional Support?
Certainly, we have friends who are supportive of us. Unlike humans who may be more emotionally fickle, your pet’s love is unconditional. Here are some ways that animals can provide us with emotional support:
- Our pets are always there for us, offering us unconditional love, patience, and understanding. They never judge, and this can be a great way for an addict to rebuild their self-esteem.
- Our pets help us learn more about ourselves because animals, especially dogs, cannot hide their emotions. Animals will let you know when they are sad, scared, or worried, and this in a way can mirror how you are feeling. For an addict, this is especially important during the recovery process, because the addict needs to re-learn how to express and understand their own emotions.
- An animal is a great gauge to monitor how you are feeling. For example, if you are scared and anxious, your dog probably will be, too.
Science Is Also on the Animal’s Side
Studies show that when you have a pet, and especially one that requires attention, this will, in turn, cause you to not be so stagnant in your recovery. You might go out and toss a ball to them, or take them for long walks. Studies suggest that pets are can reduce stress. Just petting an animal can reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and raise your self-esteem.
What About Pets Other Than Cats or Dogs?
What about pet owners of a cow, duck, horse, birds, reptiles, or even fish? Certainly, some of these animals do not exhibit the same emotional capacity as that of a dog or a cat. While the dog is the most popular support animal, other various species can have plenty of positive effects on our lives. They are still companions that require love, care, and attention, which means you will need to express those emotions when caring for them.
While they might not wear their feelings on their sleeves like a dog or cat, you can still get a wealth of emotional info about yourself from them. A special kind of satisfaction and bond comes with the effort you put into caring for a pet. These methods of care also instill in us a great deal of responsibility, which adds structure, and for many who might be going through recovery, they add purpose.
In general, most emotional support pet owners prefer furry mammals such as dogs, cats, and even rats. However, some people contend that birds are the best companions. Caring for a bird may be easier in that you won’t be taking them for walks and they won’t be as expensive to feed and care for as say a dog or cat. Perhaps bird owners’ biggest argument is that birds can speak. Birds can mimic our speech patterns, though they won’t be carrying on any conversation. This aspect alone is really good for combating loneliness.
Choose the Best Emotional Support Animal for You
There really are no guidelines as to what is the best emotional support animal for you. It really comes down to the owner and their preferences. If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, or recovering from an addiction, pets might be exactly what the doctor ordered. If you are allergic or worried over what kind of pet owner you will be, you do not need to rule out animal support altogether. There are plenty of volunteer centers where you can go to get your daily dose of animal love. You might discover that you would make a great pet owner and therefore adopt a dog, cat, or bird. Whatever the scenario, there is ample evidence proving that having an animal companion around can help you greatly.
There is nothing like the relationship between an owner and their pet. True Recovery is designed with a patient’s best in mind meaning this is exactly the kind of alternative care we promote to help a healthier lasting recovery. If you are deciding what treatment suits you best, or are in recovery and need assistance with your next steps, please call us now at (866) 399-6528.