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.
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.