I wrote a post last year about the power of pets as therapeutic allies in the healing process. I continue to be amazed by the bond between people and their pets. My own dogs, Marlie and Milo, have instincts about my mood that exceed that of most mental health therapists! I adopted Milo about a year ago to the disbelief of my family. They wondered how I could possibly handle another dog while living with chronic Migraines and pain. I can say without reservation that Milo has been one of the best additions to my treatment plan from 2012. Milo is my snuggly dog. He should have been named Velcro because disengaging him from me is nearly impossible. He is also my dog that loves to play. Milo will throw his toys up in the air and then go and get them - he seems to be in a state of perpetual joy. This joy can't help but permeate my mood. Milo makes me laugh. I have found that laughter truly is good for the soul, and what's good for the soul can't help but be good for the body. Marlie is my sweet, gentle soul. When she lies next to me and looks at me with her beautiful brown eyes, I am at peace and relaxed. She seems to read my mind and to know instantaneously how I am feeling. Marlie makes it clear that I am the one person in the world who she loves and needs the most. With her, I know I am always loved. I wouldn't give up my two precious fur babies for anything in the world.
Multiple empirical studies have been conducted with patients with medical conditions and chronic pain that show the value of being with a pet. Dawn Marcus, MD, conducted research in a pain clinic where patients were allowed to visit with a therapy dog prior to meeting with the physician. She found that patients who "met" with a dog prior to their appointment had a 40% reduction in depression and anxiety and a 20% reduction in fatigue. She also found a 23% drop reduction in pain. To read more about Dr. Marcus' study, go to this link.
Below are the links to two beautiful YouTube videos which illustrate the power of pets.
Cat Calms a Crying Baby Go Here.
Dog Plays with A Child with Down Syndrome Go Here.
Dog Causes Child to Laugh Go Here.