Pets Can Help Heal You

cooper portraitWe all know how our pets are really family members. We spoil them, we train them, we love them and they return our love three fold.

I have been a dog breeder, trainer and judge for many years and I often tell new owners ‘treat your dogs like you do your kids’ and make sure they are trained to be good citizens.

Unfortunately many people do not train (or teach) their children or their dogs and then wonder why they have unruly kids and dogs. Both need to know their boundaries and limitations and both find love and security with adults who ‘stick to the rules’ and set examples.

When there is trauma or illness in the family, your animals (particularly dogs) will sense it and offer gentleness and love.

If you have a parent in a caregivers home, please take your dog to visit them. Even when my mum was too ill to kiss or hug me, she managed to raise a finger and put on her dogs paw as her dog lay quietly beside her. Mum died later that night with the memory of her beloved pet etched in her mind.

There are many stories about how dogs have picked up that their owners have a cancer or are about to have seizure or other such inflictions. Consequently dogs are now being training to pick up the scent of cancer, just as they do for drugs.

To have a dog or cat curl up on your knee and place their paws around your arm or their muzzle on your neck, thus expressing their love, can make everyone feel good. This is what ill people need to give a boost to their healing process.

When I was in hospital for three weeks, I worried about Cooper, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as he suffered anxiety attacks when away from me. One day when I was on the phone talking to my husband I could hear him crying. My husband said he sat at the back door every day for around an hour, looking out for me and crying.

We have all heard of Greyfriar’s Bobby where the dog, Bobby, sat beside his owner’s grave every day for the rest of his life. Dogs do have a sense of belonging to one person or a family and we must not forget this. It is not just humans that benefit from the love of a dog; the dog also experiences warmth and comfort when loved by a human.

People who do not own a dog or cat are really missing out on something special and I feel sorry for children who are not brought up with a pet. They teach us so much and should be a part of our lives.

Hints and Tips

Keep your dogs healthy and they will respond by helping your health to improve and will speed up your recovery when you are ill. Give them love and they will love you unconditionally in return.

24 thoughts on “Pets Can Help Heal You

  1. Jen Fraser

    Getting a pet was a turning point for me. It gave me something that I must get out of bed to care for and get more active. In essence, out of necessity, they helped me by forcing me to keep them alive. I got a hamster instead of cats/dogs thought 🙂

  2. Kris H

    This article has really made me want to get a dog. I struggle with anxiety and depression. I think getting a pet could really help my outlook on life. As you said, if you love them, they will love you back unconditionally

  3. Jack J

    I have always loved animals and had many pets, but it was not till I got hurt and had to go through recovery that I found out how much my pets could help.

  4. david martin

    Terrific article. A relationship with a pet is so beneficial to anyone dealing with illness. We should do everything in our power to keep our pets healthy as they give us back so much in return.

  5. Ana B.

    Great post! My black lab Night helps me to recover when I’m feeling sick and cheers me up when I’m sad, so I agree.

  6. Carol

    I definitely know of the healing powers of pets and how they need their humans as well. When I was in the hospital for a week, my Russian Blue cat was very worried so when I finally came home he slept stretched out at my side on the bed for 16 hours straight watching over me, not evening taking a “potty” break. The only time he stirred was if I made any movement. He would raise his head and listen with his eyes closed til he knew I was ok, hen lay his head back down. What a nurse!

  7. Chris W.

    I can’t agree with you more. I know that when I was feeling down, my cat would always comfort me and nuzzle close to me for support. It is amazing how they know how we feel!!

  8. Linda Dunn

    What a wonderful and true article. I agree, our dogs and cats do return our love. They instinctively know what to do. When I was caregiver to my bedridden mother who had Alzheimer’s, the brightest part of her day was when her big orange Persian cat would sleep by her side. That cat brought her joy when little else could do so.

  9. Nicole Evans

    I was waiting to read more about your pets since you first mentioned them here on your blog! We have a border collie called Cooper, who is really our sons’ dog, who are both autistic. You are so right in pointing out that animals pick up on our moods and are sensitive to our wellbeing, our Cooper often notices when one of us is under the weather before even we do! I don’t know how we would manage to ease the boys’ anxieties at times without Cooper coming to the rescue and by “just being there” does the impossible and turns a near melt down into a calm, love filled moment. He is sitting by my feet now and i just remembered to hug him extra tightly tonight.

  10. sarah keating

    My dog susi helped me so much when I fell into a deep depression. She saved my life. Everything you say is so true.

  11. bizarrio

    Dogs are really very intelligent creatures. The key is to train them properly.

    I am not surprised that dogs can help people to heal.

  12. Daniel D

    Animals play a big role in recovery, a lot of nursing homes bring in animals for the seniors to interact wth and relieve stress.

  13. Gary R

    I remember my first two dogs and I really enjoyed them both. There is no closer friendship on this earth as a pet dog to their owner or owners. As mentioned in the article when something tragic happens or illness occurs in the household a dog really shows compassion. Just by reading this has me thinking that it may be time for a new pooch

  14. Sweet_angel

    It definitely is true. I saw a segment about how pets can help heal sick people on the five o’clock news on my local TV channels a while back and hearing their testimonials are encouraging.

  15. Charlene

    Pets can make such a difference to recovery from illness – just having my dog made me feel much better. It was awesome to know that he loved me and was just generally excited to see me!

  16. Jon

    I absolutely agree with this article. My wife and I have to cats and when she is feeling down they are the best way to cheer her up!

  17. Michael

    I would recommend a dog. Cats are way too needy for me and bossy! My dog treats me like a true best friend, not just somebody that fills his food bowl.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.