The horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT last month sent shock waves through most of our souls. The thought of the emotional pain the adults and especially children there went through made me weep openly. But something happened that made me feel better for all of those who survived such a tragedy. Therapy dogs were brought in to help the victims cope and find comfort in the wake of such a devastating tragic event.
Having pets in our lives help us with stress, depression, high blood pressure and even allergies.
The health benefits of having pets have been known for quite awhile and it seems we humans are having some rough times these days.
I don’t have a pet at the moment, which sometimes makes me a bit sad but my work schedule doesn’t really allow for one. One of the benefits of dog training, working in an animal hospital and pet sitting is that I can be around several wonderful pets a day. If I’m having a particularly sad or stressful day, they really know how to cheer me up. In November, I was pet sitting one of my favorite clients, a lovely Golden Retriever, who didn’t hesitate to comfort me after hearing of a death in the family. I was grateful for her actively coming to lie down beside me.
I hope that we see more therapy pets actively comforting in times of tragedy, sorrow, loss, illness and emotional pain. To be able to tell a dog or bunny how you are feeling, or listen and feel a cat purr really can soothe the soul during trying times.
If you have a story of an animal that helped you during a difficult time, please share in the comments. My hope is that the stories will warm hearts and bring some hopeful joy to our days.