How a pet can help your chronic illness. (Meet the newest member of our family!)

2 Aug

I’m proud to say that Tom and I have a new family member! His name is Bee (short for Bartholomew,) and we “rescued” him from my friend, Melissa. Melissa and her husband have a toddler, and while Bee was fine in the beginning, when their little girl became mobile, Bee became very anxious. So, they began looking for a new, loving home for him, so that he could get back to his old self. He’s a Chihuahua/Rat Terrier mix who loves to cuddle, go on runs, protect his people from squirrels and other yard invaders, and who can jump into your arms from the floor on command.

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Bee’s a pro at snuggling and napping. (Just like Tom.)

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This is just about a week into living with us, so he’s still a little unsure here, but he owns the place now!

I cannot tell you what good this little guy has done for our family. Tom, who made it clear a few months ago that if we got a dog, it would be mine, and he probably wouldn’t be available to take care of it (you know, he’s “just not a dog person,”) has a new best buddy. They exercise together, nap together, and play together, and Tom helps me take great care of him. I’ve seen Tom’s stress level melt away with a lick and a hug, and he’s admitted that Bee has made our life better. He’s totally in love. Bee has helped my anxiety since I’m no longer home alone when Tom goes to class, and he makes me laugh all the time, which would make anyone feel better.

Did you know that doctors and scientists back me up? Here are some proven health benefits of owning a pet:

1. Pets can ward off anxiety and depression for their owners. This can also mean less pain for people with chronic pain!

2. Petting/snuggling an animal can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, reducing potential for heart attack or stroke. Also, those who have had heart attacks and own a pet live longer than those who don’t.

3. Furry pets can help boost your immunity. The younger you begin living with furry animals, the less likely you are to develop allergies and asthma.

4. Dogs are great at helping you make social connections. People are naturally curious about a dog’s breed and talents, so they make great conversation starters!

5. Pets can improve overall quality of life, especially for elderly owners. Walking a dog or caring for a cat (which are lower maintenance than dogs) gives the owner exercise and companionship. It can also take some of the burden off of caregivers, who are comforted by the fact that the patient won’t be alone when they leave. Other patients, like children with autism or vets with PTSD, are soothed by holding or petting an animal.

6. Pets improve your overall mood. It’s said that pet owners usually have more laughter in their life. So, even if you come home to Fido tearing up the toilet paper, life’s not so bad. How long can you stay mad at that cute face, anyway?

7. Dogs and cats can help indicate drops in blood sugar and predict seizures. Their behavior will change. My mom’s dog, for example, pressed up against her leg one day, pushing her toward the living room on her way to the kitchen. When my mom sat down, she blacked out. Fortunately, she woke and was able to regulate her blood sugar with food and medicine!

These are just some of the ways animals can positively affect people with chronic health issues! Pets are awesome. How has your pet enriched your life?

Gentle hugs,

Chels

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One Response to “How a pet can help your chronic illness. (Meet the newest member of our family!)”

  1. Viva La Diy August 3, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    Bartholomew is absolutely adorable! He reminds my furry companion, who’s also of a chihuahua/rat terrier mixed breed. :]

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