Pets! We love our furry, feathery, scaly, slinky companions! They bring us a different type of love and affection into our lives and some studies say they can even help extend your life. They keep us young, active, and sometimes they can keep us on the sober path.
Whether you have a pet already or you’re contemplating heading down to the adoption agency, here are 5 reasons you should own a pet in recovery.
#1. Pets are Empathetic
If you’re having a bad day, your furry best friend may be able to sense it! Evidence shows that cats purring can be healing for both you and your feline companion. The frequency range of a cat’s purr is between 20 and 140 hertz, which can be therapeutic for physical and mental distress.
Dogs are equally empathetic- in fact, they are often used as therapy animals in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and hospices. However, your animal companion doesn’t need to be specially trained to be comforting and supportive. When things get a bit stressful or you’re feeling low, it’s okay to spend some time curled up with your pet. They love you just as much as you love them.
#2. Pets are Natural Mood Boosters
Ask an animal lover what they love so much about their pets and odds are they’ll tell you how much joy they get just being around their animal companions. There’s a reason for that: pets are natural mood boosters! Our brains release hormones which promote relaxation and happiness when we are with our pets, helping to turn a bad day into a good one.
Even if you don’t have a pet, you can see this effect in action. Pull up a compilation of cute puppy videos or pet fail videos on YouTube and see if it doesn’t lift your spirits.
#3. The Responsibility Helps
Being responsible for another living thing can be overwhelming- but it’s also incredibly rewarding. While you should definitely consider if you have the time and resources to devote to being a pet owner- you have to be in it for the long haul- knowing that someone else (human or otherwise) is depending on you can be the difference between staying in bed all day and getting up and getting going.
There’s a sense of accomplishment in knowing you are caring for your pet; that they are thriving, healthy and happy because of you. Taking care of them helps you to remember to take care of yourself as well.
#4. Want Unconditional Love? Here It Is!
We love our pets, and they love us too- unconditionally. Our pets think we hung the sun and the moon and all the stars in the sky. With their support and love, sobriety doesn’t have to seem so daunting. Having a companion walking every step of your sober journey with you helps to keep your feet firmly on the right path.
#5. Your Therapist Can Have Four Legs and a Tail
There’s nothing wrong with pouring out your emotions and thoughts to someone who can’t betray that confidence– in fact, it could be healthy. If you find that there’s something that is too difficult to speak about to your family, friends, or (human) therapist, get it out to your pets first. It offers an opportunity to get your thoughts together and figure out how you want to express them.