Tag Archives: pet for autism

A Pet is a Good Thing

long-haired chihuahua

long-haired chihuahua

Any one who has ever truly loved a pet knows how much the cat or dog enhanced their life or perhaps impacted the family as a whole. Many studies and surveys formal and informal have been conducted about how owning a pet is beneficial mentally and physically. 

Many of these studies and surveys determined that a pet is good for children and older individuals.  Some of the amazing discoveries of owning or interacting with a cat or a dog have proven a pet can exert positive effects on children with autism and older people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Sometimes a cat or dog is the one thing that motivates these individuals to smile or speak a few words. A pet enables people to come out of their shell so to speak. An animal accepts a person as they are, not who they are. And that is the greatest gift that a person can receive from a pet.

Petting or stroking a warm furry animal has proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. A furry pet provides a sense of calm and an overall good feeling. Researchers determined that approximately 30,000 lives are saved each year because owning or interacting with a pet increases the survival rate of heart attack victims.

The survey findings concluded that taking care of a pet gives a person something to nurture and in turn provides one with the feeling of being needed and wanted which in turn decreases feelings of loneliness and isolation. A dog or cat also provides the owner with an increased sense of security. In addition a pet provides companionship, affection, as well as entertainment.

Researchers noted that a pet lowers pulse rate and blood pressure, decreases depression, increases activity, provides opportunities for socialization, helps an individual cope with the loss of a loved one, and increases the desire to take an interest in personal hygiene. In addition a dog as noted previously is a good alert or alarm system when someone or a stranger is at the door.

Many care facilities now have a cat that is allowed to move freely among the residents. Some care homes have visiting therapy cats or dogs which have proven to be a hit with most residents although there are some people who simply have no desire to interact with a furry creature and of course no one will ever force that person to interact with a pet.  And some care facilities enable residents the privilege of bringing their pet from home or maybe obtain a cat or dog to aid in reducing loneliness and a sense of loss that every resident must feel when they had to leave their home. It enables a person to feel a sense of continuity when their pet is able to accompany them to their new home. 

Therapy animals must be certified by an orginazation that insures the animal/s meet strict criteria. The cat or dog is tested in different areas to assure the animal will be comfortable in the setting of a school, hospital, or care facility. These pets and their owners display a great deal of warmth and happiness. Some pet therapy owners have said that their pet is really happy that  “they have a job to do” when visiting a facility.

Overall pet therapy is viewed as a good thing for just about anyone that is fortunate enough to interact with or own a pet. Residents that have a pet in their care are the lucky ones. Many studies have concluded that love for another being is the most important health tonic and having a pet in your life can be the best source of love. A pet doesn’t care what a person looks like or what their station in life might be. A pet merely accepts an individual for who they are and quite often is the one constant being in a person’s life.

Post and photo: Yvonne

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