Much study has gone into the ownership of pets, and how having a pet helps affect the overall well being of patients. Individuals faced with the challenge of overcoming addictions as they step onto a healing path to rehabilitation can find strength and unexpected support from their pets who simply do not have the capacity to judge.
In addition to helping relieve day to day stress, studies have shown that simply brushing a pet can bring a sense of calm and peace. Pets are an important part of a persons life, providing entertainment and companionship for patients who sometimes have no supportive family in their lives. The health benefits derived from pet ownership are conducive to a successful addiction recovery. The increased exercise necessitated by simply walking or playing a dog or other pet has been proven to help reduce blood pressure and supports overall healing.
Patients who are struggling with their rehabilitation find that a pet can provide a sense of belonging that they were unable to find on their own. Taking responsibility for another life provides them with a commitment in time and care. Simply put, pets add a sense of purpose to their lives by fulfilling a patient’s most basic need to be needed. Just as importantly, many times pets give a patient an outlet for communication when they do not feel comfortable talking with peers who may be judgmental by allowing them to talk through their problems with acceptance, love and absolute unconditional adoration.
One other major benefit of having a pet close by for recovery patients is the emotional support given so openly by an animal can touch parts of a patient’s psyche that is far more meaningful than support from doctors, staff and even other patients. Pet owners are shown to develop higher self-esteem and emotional security, both of which are factors in long term addiction recovery. For a recovering addict a favorite pet can help strengthen resolve, build determination and give them a sense of purpose and motivation. Being allowed the ability to stay close to a pet gives patients a much improved chance at full and total recovery because of the benefits provided by pet ownership.
Pets brighten our lives in so many ways it is simply impossible to list all of the benefits of pet ownership. For recovery patient’s however, the power and influence that pet ownership can provide cannot be ignored or overlooked. Patient’s who have struggled for years with addictions find unknown inner strength and resolve when allowed to remain close to their pets. Long time pet owners have known of these benefits for years, studies are beginning to prove it and the importance of pets is quickly being recognized and widely accepted in the recovery community as a viable support and treatment option. The pets benefit from the added attention and patients benefit in a myriad of ways that help improve health and overall stress.