Wednesday, July 15, 2009
GUEST BLOGGER: Amanda Kane, LSW
Mental Health Tip of the Day: Adopt a Pet!
I have an English bulldog named Dolly that I absolutely adore. I’ve watched her grow from a tiny, white puppy to a spirited adult dog during the last four years. She is the first dog that I’ve owned, and I have to admit that before Dolly I really didn’t fully understand the responsibility that comes with caring for pet. There have been countless walks outside (sometimes multiple walks in the middle of the night when she was a puppy); numerous trips to the vet and the pet store, and hours spent rearranging schedules to accommodate for her routine.
But the work required to care for a pet pales in comparison to the joy and fun of the relationship. Since Dolly became a part of my life I smile more. She can’t trot past by a ball without attempting to engage me with it. She is always reminding me that adults need to play and be silly too. Animals are also wonderful companions and good listeners. They want little more than to spend time with caring humans. The relationships that people have with their pets are frequently some of the simplest and most gratifying. I’m not suggesting that these are the only relationships a person should have, but they definitely fulfill certain needs. Pets can be wonderfully comforting.
Of course there are many kinds of pets—and some definitely suit certain lifestyles better than others. Please don’t get a pet if you do not have the time, finances, or emotional energy to properly care for it. Dogs are pack animals and need to spend time with their owners, so you may be better off getting a hamster if you work 12 hour days. It is not a responsibility to be taken lightly—animals have physical as well as emotional needs that must be respected and fulfilled by their owners. But if you feel that you have love to give and a void in your life then consider adopting a pet through a local organization. The humane society is also a great resource for more information. The relationship you have with your new pet may be one of the most rewarding ones of your entire life!
The Humane Society: