More Than Just Companionship

A small pet is often an excellent companion for the sick or long chronic cases, especially. — Florence Nightingale, 1859

Pets can be wonderful companions, but there is certainly a wealth of research out there that says  a pet can be so much more.  Research has shown that having a pet can help lower blood pressure and help manage our stress levels.  They have also been shown to help improve the quality of life for those living with chronic pain and illness.  According to Dr. Larry  Lachman, clinical psychologist “Pets give us three things people often won’t: unconditional love, uninterrupted listening and permission to touch and be touched without embarrassment.  Those three factors, I believe, are key to the pets comforting and potential healing impact as animal caregivers, for people coping with chronic illness.”   Another psychologist Karen Allen from the University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine says, “The people with pets talk to them, they’re less isolated and their lives are different with an animal by their side.”

Research has also shown that spending time with a pet  can help alleviate many of  the symptoms often associated with chronic pain such as fatigue, anxiety, depression.  A pet can certainly be a welcome and comforting distraction from persistent pain.  Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis I can certainly attest to this. My little sidekick has done more for me  at times than all the medicine in the world could ever do. For me as I  am it is sure with many others  who live with a chronic disease or pain, time with  our pets  is just what the doctor ordered. Our pets are always ready to listen, give us unconditional love, they can distract us from the pain, and can make us laugh.  I thank the good  Lord everyday for the joy and comfort my little sidekick brings to me.

Here are some links to great articles about pets as companions and caregivers:

http://www.drlarrylachman.com/articles-and-books/pets-helping-people-heal.php

http://www.painfoundation.org/learn/living/treatment-options/complementary-medicine/pet-therapy/

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