Pets are not only a man’s best friend, but also a man’s best form of therapy. New studies have been released showing that animals such as puppies and kittens can lower stress by noticeable amounts. Many schools are even getting therapy animals during finals to help reduce students’ stress levels. Colleges typically do this to help improve the mood of overworked and tired students. There are even pets used specifically for therapeutic reasons such as seeing eye dogs or animals that are used to ease mental illnesses. Many times animals are brought into hospitals in order to cheer up patients that are in the hospital for long term problems. They also can aid in helping people to feel less lonely.
Animals have been a man’s best friend since they started being domesticated in Ancient Egypt. Vast benefits have been proven since then. They replace a loneliness that is hard to fill for many. In many cases, people’s pets will help them to cope with the loss of someone important to them, such as a family member, or even just fill a gap that was never filled. Students from Westhill have been asked what it is like to have pets fill in a spot in their family that may have been missing. “I have had my dog for about two years and it makes me a much happier person. Once you have something else to take care of, it gives you a sense of security as a person. The love that we have for eachother is like a filled void.” said Hoshahnia Kumaran (’19) when asked about the benefits her dog has had on her.
Families have also tried using dogs as a way of helping with sadness and depression. Animals can help with depression in many ways, either by being excited and playful, making the saddest person feel not alone, or by simply being a fuzzy companion to relax with. “My dog’s love makes me feel secure and happy even on my worst days.” said Haley Blau (’17) when asked how her dog helps her. Other pets are also helpful to help with mental illnesses. Cats for the cuddly yet reserved natured are the other most common therapy pet. Kittens are extremely playful, putting a smile on anyone’s face. Many colleges have started bringing in puppies and kittens for students to play with during finals to help them deal with their stress levels. In hospitals, dogs are brought into the facilities to cheer up patients who have to be in the hospital for extended periods of time. This may include cancer patients, pediatric cases, and patients who need an organ donation. This has been proven to improve the patient’s’ mood who otherwise may be depressed or feeling lonely and isolated.
Throughout history, pets have been companions for people. It may be that they were always by the sides of humans because they had amazing benefits for the mental health of them. For every pet, there is a loving owner, getting the therapeutic benefits of a pet.
Pick up an issue of The Westword this month and read Supplement for more articles and stories on pets.