Genesis 1:26 - Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
We all know that pets can have a positive effect on our emotional and physical wellbeing. They can bring us comfort by laying in our lap, calm our anxiety as we pet them, and when we give them love and affection our stress level can go down.
Therapy dogs are trained to be in tune with their owner’s moods and will help them through the emotions from strained relationships, abuse or health conditions.
Service dogs help people with disabilities perform tasks such as opening doors, when their owner can’t.
However, did you know that we can have an effect on our pet’s wellbeing? An owner of a therapy dog may take the dog for a walk when they are upset which helps the dog’s physical wellbeing as it gets exercise. Service dogs are also taught by a cue from their owners when they are on or off duty, so that the dog can have a break from its duties.
Also, there are pets who have been mistreated by past owners that show signs of fear, anxiety, worry and excitability just as we can. We can help a mistreated pet’s emotions by showing them kindness and taking clues from the pet on what we may need to avoid should it cause the pet to become upset.
So how do we find a balance between our emotional wellbeing and our pets? On npr.org the article, “Pet Therapy: How Animals and Humans Heal Each Other,” discusses how pets are helping humans with both emotional and physical difficulties, and about ongoing research that is geared to find out how the animals are benefiting from their interactions with humans.
It is up to each of us who have a pet, service dog or therapy dog to treat them with care. We benefit from their help and it’s up to us to treat them as the loving companions that they are. And as the Bible verse above states, God placed us over the animals to rule them. But God also expects us to be responsible for their wellbeing. Handle them with care.
Psalm 68:6a - God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing.
To some people pets are seen only as creatures that eat the food you provide for them and let them out back to take care of their business. But to many of us we form a close bond with our pets. In some cases they are even seen as family.
Pets are important to those who live alone. In this case, they are much more than just companions. They fill an important void – to love and be loved.
Pets are easy to love. Cats love to cuddle and the sound of them purring sets off a smile on our lips that spreads to our heart.
Dogs, with their tails wagging, will bring a favorite toy and drop it at your feet waiting for you to play with them. And taking them for a walk not only provides exercise for them, but for you as well. In my case, I might otherwise stay in my apartment all day not wanting to go out, but my dog has needs. So out I go four times a day.
Even birds are fun to have around. When I had two finches they knew exactly when it was time to feed them. They would react to the sound of the refrigerator opening and begin to squawk up a storm.
Whatever pet you decide on you can bet that they will show you a side to love you may never have seen before. I believe that when God spoke in the Bible that he puts the lonely into families he may have also included pets.
The difficulty that comes is when a pet dies. It can be devastating to the owner. And as pet-loss.net states in their article, "Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss," remember: "People who don't understand the pet/owner bond may not understand your pain. All that matters, however, is how you feel. Don't let others dictate your feelings: They are valid, and may be extremely painful. But remember, you are not alone: Thousands of pet owners have gone through the same feelings."
Losing a pet can put the owner into some of the same steps of grief you can experience as the loss of someone you know. I say this not to lessen the loss of a friend or loved one, but to help you understand that losing a pet can cause grief.
And if your pet has been very ill you may have to take the painful step to have them put to sleep. I had to do this with one of my dogs, and it was really hard but in the end it was the most loving thing I could do.
After a season of mourning some may choose to not ever get another pet. While others, choose to find a new companion to join their family.
Have you or someone else you know ever lost a pet? How did it affect you? I look forward to your comments.
James 3:7 - All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind.
Having pets can be fun, but some pets are also known to be therapeutic. They will love on us, instead of yell at us. They will follow us from room-to-room, instead of leaving us. And yes, in their own way, they can talk to us.
Dogs love unconditionally. No matter what happens, they will come back. You’ll see them with their tails wagging, and they’ll come and sit at your feet, or jump up on your lap.
Part of the reason that dogs appear to love unconditionally is because they have only a short-term memory. According to a new study in the article, “Many Animals - Including Your Dog - May Have Horrible Short-Term Memories,” on news.nationalgeographic.com dogs may forget an event within minutes after it happened. They can be trained, because if you teach them commands over and over, dogs will learn to follow those commands. Dogs also learn to recognize people who are in their master’s circle of friends.
Now cats on the other hand, well, they’re of another kind. Cross hairs with a cat and they’ll walk around the house with their heads held up as if to say, “I’m not going to forget this,” and cats will be sure to let you know about it.
So does this mean that I’m a “dog person” and not a “cat person”? No. I love all animals, (well, not snakes), and at one time or another I’ve had fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, rats, birds, cats and dogs.
However, some animals can be more than just pets. Dogs, in particular, are trained and used not only for Seeing Eye dogs, but also therapy dogs. Dogs were first trained as therapy dogs in 1976, according to wikipedia.org in their article, “Therapy Dog,” a nurse noticed how well her patients did when she brought her Golden Retriever to work. From there, trained therapy dogs became in demand.
My dog, though not officially registered, is to me by far a therapy dog. She came to me well-trained by her first master and quickly grew to know when I am upset or in pain. She’ll come to me and look up at me with her expressive eyes, or she’ll simply place her head upon my shoulder.
And so, we’ve seen how animals can play an import role in the lives of their masters. Just as the Bible verse above talks about taming animals, dogs can be trained to be sensitive to those in pain.
To learn more about therapy dogs choose the link below.
Do you have a pet who is sensitive to how you're feeling? To leave a comment just click on the blue "comments" below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.