Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Part 1: Therapy with Pets

Abe V Rotor
Time out from work with Nikko, a Dobberman.

More than the pleasant company they give, and sometimes because of the risk they take in giving us security, pets share our pain. They even get sick when we do. They help us dry our tears, soothe our frayed nerves, and break the monotony of our existence.

There is an inexplicable connection between man and animals. Even when man was still a wanderer, hunting for, and gathering his food, his companions, most likely, included animals. Domestication was the key to his new life and the dawning of civilization. We often hear about the dog as being man’s best friend. Among man’s other friends are: the cat that rids his home of rodents and other vermin; the bullock that plows the field and pulls the cart; the cow that gives milk; the honeybee that produces the sweetest stuff of nature; that silkworm that weaves the finest fabric. Horses carried man to battle, and brought letters across the continent.

In our periods of anxiety, when our body and spirit sag under the weight of modern living, we seek refuge and find comfort in the meaning to life. We seek answer to many whys to the many whys and ask questions only when we are down.

Good books, television programs and music provide us recourse, all right. They teach, inspire, and challenge us. We reflect, meditate and bridge ourselves with the omnipotent being. We search for the past, exorcising the hidden guilt into catharsis, and recreating pleasant memories into a renewable resource. In the end, we are left asking for more. It is not a deliberate demand for more. It is the opposite. It is a need for nothing but silence, something that silences our probing mind, our throbbing heart, and our tense muscles.

Let us learn from pets. Their reactions are pure and simple. Their message needs no words. As a writer once exclaimed, “What words can describe the feeling of a cat purring on your lap, a puppy lapping your face, a goldfish popping bubbles of air and glistening in the prism of sunlight?”

When finally we reach home to continue rest on doctor’s advice, we soon find ourselves facing boredom. Boredom is when we cannot do the things we want to do. The inability to do things because of our poor mental and physical state drains us. While we can still plan out things, we often loom at the edge of uncertainty and fear, something we may not have experienced before. To many of us the feeling is that of retreat, and we do not know when we will ever resume our normal lives again.

No one is spared from these moments in life. The more daring we are the deeper is the wound if we fail, and the longer it takes to heal. It takes more intellectual acuity and intestinal fortitude to be aggressive, which has various forms: like being enterprising, being more risk tolerant, adventurous, pioneering, courageous. These traits take us into the horizons ordinary people dare not tread. It is said that in our moments of glory we strive for more of it. But in our instances of defeat, we find ourselves deep in shadow. “Victory has a thousand fathers, while defeat is an orphan.” A pet can help resurrect us from defeat to a victory.

Pet Therapy in Hospitals

According to Time Magazine, there are hospitals in the United States today which train dogs and other pets to help patients recuperate faster. The patients coddle these pets, in the process, develop faster recovery. One report is about a patient who could barely move his hand as a result of a stroke. But with a pet around he began to regain the use of his hand. Dogs are trained to guide the blind, while there are dogs trained to play games with patients during their recuperation.

Pets help patients conquer depression, a condition that may lead to nervous breakdown, neurosis and even suicide. There are millions of people around the world, especially those living in industrialized nations, who fall victim to this modern day disease. Many become unwilling victims of drugs. Many lives are ruined if not treated early or on time.

Pets compensate for the lack of feeling and concern in modern day living. They heal the wounds of broken relationships and help fill out the vacuum of absence. They buoy the sagging spirit, accept us when we are rejected, and give the “human touch” to the high tech world of specialized medicine. Everybody seems busy doing his thing. After a hard day’s work, a dog wagging its tail meets us at the gate, begging to be touched, revealing unashamedly how much it had missed us. A pat and some leftovers of fast food may be all we can give, but our pet soon settles down, fully contentment in its world. That is because it has found our company again.


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