I am a firm supporter and past (probably future, too) patron of the psychological profession. There have been great strides made in this area, and I’ve personally benefited from working with a therapist. It helps to have someone, totally dedicated to you, an impartial observer who can give feedback and suggest alternatives you never even considered.
Pets listen to you, without reaction, sitting by your side through thick and thin. A rare example of unconditional love and support that’s quite a balm to the spirit in tough moments.
Pets can’t share a thing you’ve said — even in a court of law. There’s no medical record, no insurance forms and no appointment needed. Pets are there for you, and no one else, for all their lives.
Pets seem to sense when you are troubled and offer their presence as comfort. They truly are a companion in good times and bad. No, a pet coming to lie at your side doesn’t solve anything, but there is some type of help and comfort in having simple, judgement free companionship.
Pets keep you from feeling alone, even when you are. Dogs are especially good at this, though I’ve had cats who have the need for being with a particular person so I include them as well. There is a certain something to having this soft little thing fall asleep on your lap or at your side — a trust that being together will make things right.
Pets give you something to laugh at with their cute ways and simple devotion. And laughter, as we know, is wonderful medicine.
I’m sure there are other ways pets give therapists a run for their money when it comes to helping people deal with life’s troubles, but these were the ones I have experienced. So if you’ve a mind, and are willing to make the commitment to owning a living thing who loves you, owning a pet has been shown to ease symptoms of depression and help with tension.
Pets can help mind, body and spirit.
Animals have an intelligence and perhaps some other abilities science hasn’t labelled yet, so don’t sell them short. Just because we humans don’t recognize it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Or that it doesn’t have value.