Rescue a Pet and Let a Pet Rescue You

Posted: December 23, 2013 in balance

#ptsd #posttrauma #trauma #bully

Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Rescue a Pet and Let a Pet Rescue You

There are many life circumstances which may necessitate the need for a pet. This may include divorce, bereavement, or simple plain old loneliness. Most people will experience periods of extreme sadness, frustration, anger, and/or grief. For many, these negative emotions become so strong that they begin to feel absolutely helpless and lost. As a human being, however, you always have the power to make your own decisions and to shape your own life according to your own will. Not all creatures are so lucky in this regard.

Millions of dogs and cats across the United States sit unwanted and unloved in community shelters awaiting inevitable euthanasia. These trusting and affectionate animals can do absolutely nothing to change the situations in which they find themselves. But you can!

By rescuing a shelter animal, you just might rescue yourself in return. Devoting time and energy to another is a great way to start feeling better about yourself. Those who provide caring and loving homes for pets are repaid for their kindness with unconditional love, support, and meaningful companionship that is pure, uncomplicated, and absolutely reliable. Any longtime dog or cat owner will tell you that pets can help get you through event the darkest and most tumultuous of times.

The findings of doctors, scientists, and mental health professionals support the claims of these pet owners 100 percent. Not only can pet ownership do wonders to help combat feelings of loneliness and depression, it also offers a range of more tangible and quantifiable health benefits. According to the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, Dr. Karen Allen shows that on a purely physiological level, pet owners have demonstrated lower blood pressure levels in response to mental stress. The CDC also supports pet ownerships by stating that there can be an overall reduction in levels of cholesterol and triglyceride in their human companions. This is also supported by the NIH.

According to WebMD.com, Alan Beck, ScD, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, playing with a dog or cuddling with a cat can not only reduce levels of potentially harmful stress hormones such as cortisol but also elevate levels beneficial relaxation hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. Like any enjoyable activity, spending time with a beloved animal triggers the production of pleasurable and calming brain chemicals that, in turn, contribute to a healthier and happier you.

Of course, these mental and physical benefits don’t come without a certain amount of effort on your part. Pet ownership is a big responsibility, and you must be sure to give your dog or cat the love, dedication, and tender loving care that it deserves. Educate yourself on the intricacies of animal training and care by picking up a few books on the subject. Seek the advice of friends and family members with a history of successful pet ownership. And, of course, always pay close attention to the professional recommendations of your veterinarian.

This might sound like a lot of work, and, at times, it certainly is. However, the responsibilities of pet ownership, in and of themselves, come with a wide range of unexpected benefits. No matter how down you might feel, you simply cannot forget to feed your cat or take your dog out for that much-needed walk. Building routines of this type can do wonders for your mood and self-esteem, particularly when they are rewarded with the enthusiastic love of an appreciative pet.

Give your pet lots of attention and daily exercise. Remember, even older dogs and cats love to play. Find activities that you enjoy doing together and set aside time each day for your animal. The activity that you share may benefit you even more than it benefits your furry companion!

Pet ownership provides ample opportunities for physical and psychological development. As you continue to guide and train your dog or cat, you might just pick up some worthwhile life knowledge in your own regard. Every good teacher knows that learning is truly a two-way street. By developing new skills with your pet, you will inevitably begin to develop skills in other areas of your life as well.

Take, for example, a simple visit to your local dog park. This little excursion not only gives you a perfect excuse to get outside for a little fresh air and physical activity, but it can also provide an excellent opportunity to socialize in a friendly, low-pressure atmosphere. Forget about online dating sites and matchmaking services; a dog is a natural conversation starter. According to Emory University psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor Nadine Kaslow, a few simple remarks about a pet can do wonders to ease individuals out of social isolation and combat shyness.

When you meet a fellow dog lover or cat lover, you will instantly share a common interest that is both deep-seeded and integral to both of your lives. At the very least, this common interest can serve as an excellent conversation starter.

Nadine Kaslow has seen this scenario play itself out time and time again at her local dog park. People begin by asking about a specific breed or watching a dog perform a trick. But after the ice has been broken, deeper relationships can often begin to develop. “Sometimes the conversation stays at the ‘dog level,” says Kaslow, “but sometimes it becomes a real social interchange.”

Find out more about the ways in which a rescue animal can effectively rescue you! Contact your local animal shelter and get all the details that you need to make an informed pet adoption decision. A symbiotic relationship with a dog or cat can not only help you through your immediate emotional difficulties but provide ongoing support, companionship, and countless hours of joy for years to come.

Boise Bipolar Center, Charles K. Bunch, Ph.D, Boise Idaho Therapist Mental health photo 2168_zps680c452f.jpg

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