Honestly, I would LOVE to own a pet, but due to finances, I can’t. Not to mention with me looking for work and working with the jobs I currents have, I wouldn’t be around to care for one. While cats (for some reason) are growing on me, I would love to own a dog. It’s just compared to cats (in my opinion) they are more likely to want to play with you and be petted.
I had a dog once. He was a golden retriever named Max. I got him when he was a puppy. He was the cutest little thing! I remember when he was smaller than my lap. Even as little as he was, he loved to be around people and give high fives. He was such a playful dog. And he made the perfect alarm clock. He’d run up the stairs to get into the room and lick my face to remind me it was time for his breakfast. I was never late to school. Then my dad took him away. Up till this day, I’ve always wanted to know what happened to him.
Then I met Puga. Puga is my boyfriend’s dog (she’s a pug). I call her my surrogate pet. I get to play with her without the responsibility. This dog is super smart though, it’s ridiculous. She can open an empty water bottle in less than 10 seconds, she always knows where her “safe spot” is when I chase her…heck she knows how to lure me out of the chair, just so that she can sit in it! She can look at me and wag her little cinnamon bun tail and I think she wants to play with me. Nope! Not so. The next thing you know she’s sitting in my place. You can also tell when she’s displeased too. You can tell her,for example, if she wants to go outside (the backyard) and she shows her teeth.
Regardless, she loves to be petted. But you know something? I love petting her too. It helps me relax. There’s nothing like caring for another living, making sure they are cared for and loved. It helps me to take my mind off of myself and my problems. My anxiety has dissipated, my depression has dissipated…it’s almost like a form of mindfulness keeping myself centered and in the here and now.
Owning or even just being around one is very therapeutic. I’ve always known how pets can help people put a smile on their face, but I didn’t know the science of pets do that. Pets can help people better their physical, mental and even social health. Pets helps children with autism use more language as well as develop social interactions. Petting, for example, dogs can help the person release hormones like serotonin, prolactin, and oxycontin to elevate mood (UCLA Health, n.d).
I know for me, I look forward to meeting Puga every week. Seeing her run all over the house due to the excitement of seeing me there. And I look forward to playing with her and petting her. Seeing her makes me forget about the anxieties that can take over my mind. And then when I have to leave my boyfriend and her and return to my room, I feel all the anxieties and depressed thoughts return to my mind as I prepare for the week ahead.
When my life becomes more financial stable, I will get a dog and have them sign up to be my therapy dog. I can take them to the stores so it would help me reduce my anxiety and PTSD. I’d be able to be more physically active. Since my sexual assault, I’ve always felt a bit of nervousness whenever I’m out. Having a pet would DEFINITELY help me reduce that.
UCLA Health. Animal-Assisted Therapy Findings. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.uclahealth.org/pac/animal-assisted-therapy