Lifeline Connections

The Health Benefits of Pets

What makes a person desire animal companionship? Many people have nostalgic feelings related to their experiences with a pet during childhood. Some people have pets to assist them with a physical or mental disability such as epilepsy, or autism. And some people just love animals. Many people with various physical conditions have reported to feel happier and have increased energy after owning a dog. Cats can be great companions for their reserved, calm nature. Most animals’ consistent, and predictable behavior can give you the right dose of routine to help you stabilize a very chaotic life. If you are considering a pet, think of these reasons why you might consider adopting your newest furry, feathery, or scaly family member.

The Power of Touch
The human condition requires us to get a healthy amount of physical affection in our lives. This starts from birth such as with skin-to-skin contact used for premature babies and newborns. Hugging, kissing, and even physical play, such as wrestling, have all been proven to benefit our mental and emotional stability. But in some cases, this need falls short in our interaction with humans. Dogs are well known for being cuddly, loving companions. A dog’s physical play can turn a lonely day into a fulfilled and productive one. Cats often love to snooze on laps and be stroked, and therefore provide a great companion if you can’t offer a lot of time for a lot of maintenance.

Emotional Companions
In a previous article, we discussed the power of talk therapy. While most of the time, talk therapy is helpful when someone is asking questions and validating responses, there are times when a simple listening ear can provide just what you need. Your dog or cat may not understand what you’re saying, but they can often read your emotions and provide a calm presence. Equally, many people adopt pets to stave loneliness. This can be very effective in balancing your mental health while in recovery.

Sense of Purpose
First of all, it’s no secret that pets can be maintenance. This can sometimes be a downside to owning a pet. However, maintenance doesn’t always have to be a downer. For example, the routines associated with feeding, grooming, and exercising a dog can be great for stress relief. Oftentimes, a very chaotic day can serve as a trigger for a person in recovery, but having consistency and routine can act as a safe and predictable schedule that causes you to feel accomplished and purposeful.

Better Shape
Maybe not so for cats, but dogs can be a great source of energy for you. Isn’t the most difficult part of exercise the motivation to get up and go? When you have someone else to care about, like a dog who is dying to get out of the house, there is a much greater likelihood that you will be willing to throw on your shoes and go for a walk. Some dogs like to go fast, and some like to meander for a bit. Either way, being outdoors and moving around, is always beneficial. You can also take them into the backyard just to play some fetch. Don’t forget that they benefit from animal friends, too, so taking them to a dog park to run around can be a great way to let them get their energy out while you can enjoy the outside.

Whether you are in recovery or just needing some companionship and routine added to your life, consider this and many other benefits to adopting a pet. Do some research and find out what might be best for you. In the meantime, get on board with us for your road to recovery. We offer amazing services that will give you the right tools to feel confident in your ability to cope with your life free of drugs and alcohol. We are looking forward to hearing from you 360-397-8246 ext. 7580 and admission_office@lifelineconnections.org.

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