Top 10 Ways Pets Can Help Keep You Grounded
A couple of weeks ago I was having a really challenging few days at work. I am a veterinary technician for two different practices so I see and help a lot of patients. We happened to have some cases that were hard to deal with, a dog with pancreatitis, a cat that ate an unknown object that was making him vomit often, a puppy with a limp, the list seemed to go on and on. These were not quick fixes for the animals or for their “pawrents”. Each case that presented itself was just compounding the stress that was building up.
As much as you want to leave work at work, it does tend to follow you home. This is the way that it is sometimes. You worry about the patient that had to stay overnight to have fluid therapy, you hope that you communicated the best you could to the client the best options for their pet after the vet has told them the diagnosis. Sometimes it’s even a relief that you didn’t strangle your coworker because today for some reason their head was in the clouds.
We all have our stressors, the things that really cause our blood pressure to rise and for some to have more anxiety. Right now the world is in somewhat of a discombobulation. We don’t know what we are going to be able to do from one day to the next and that in itself is stressful.
So what do you do with all of this? You find the best way you can to deal with the stressors that come up. An article written in the UCLA Heath talks about “The healing power of pets”. In this article it stated that research is continually showing that regular interactions with dogs or any pets or animals can have immediate and long lasting impacts on your emotional well-being. So to show that this is true here is a top 10 list of ways pets can help keep you grounded:
- They have a significant impact on your well-being. In a six week study from Mount Sinai Hospital, 42 cancer patients received daily 15-20 minute animal assisted visits. After the animal therapy most reported that they were more able to face their treatments with less anxiety.
- Puppies almost instantly equal happiness. During my shift last week there was an hour stretch of appointments that just happened to be puppies. They were all healthy puppies so it didn’t matter what they were seeing us for at the time. What mattered was the feet that smelled like popcorn, the cute puppy kisses and those tails that wagged so much the puppies knocked themselves over. In that time frame, my mindset changed and I was able to take on the rest of the day
- No matter what your day is like, when you get home your pet is happy to see you.
- You know that no matter what you have or haven’t done for your pet they love you unconditionally.
- When you are dealing with elevated stress or anxiety contact with animals especially one’s own pet causes the oxytocin levels in the brain to increase which will counter the elevated levels of stress and anxiety.
- Taking your pet out for a walk or even a hike, gets you outside, gets you moving, causing the serotonin levels to rise in your brain meaning you actually start to feel happy. You are also spending more time with your pet, whose main goal is to be around you, which equals joy for you both.
- Pets give you a purpose, they have to be fed, walked, and taken care of. This in itself is very grounding
- Pets are great security blankets. In my home the animals are allowed on the bed and furniture. This is great since animals love to be right next to you, thus you will be warm, and honestly, do you think someone would mess with a person that has 2-3 dogs surrounding them on their bed? I think not!
- Having pets means there is not much extra cash laying around (not that that in itself is a good thing, but spending money on your pets is oh so much fun) which means you get to stay home more, meaning more time with your pets. A win, win!
- They are great alarm clocks. They have a special part of their brain that alerts them seconds sometimes minutes before your alarm clock is actually suppose to go off. This is the time to pounce on your chest, lick your toes, meow so loudly the neighbors wake up…etc. They would hate for you to be late in feeding them or letting them out.
There are so many other reasons and ways that pets help keep you sane, grounded and loved. Time is limited though, and I highly doubt you want to spend all day with me, so just make sure you love on your furry friend, and find joy in that. These days there are unlimited things that can cause stress in our lives. Why not curtail those things with your pet by your side. Now if you’ll excuse me, my cat just sat on me and if I don’t respond quickly that meow is going to wake the dead. Until next time:
Remember this: “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” –A.A.Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
I have read about the scientific stuff, oxytocin and serotonin and heart rate blah, blah blah. It’s all good scientific studies. But really, I don’t need a scientific study to know that my pets warm my heart, cuddle with me when I don’t feel good and no matter how crabby I am, they still want to be with me. What more could I ask of them?
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