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Mental Health and the Positive Effects of Pets
Written By: Sheena Hirschfield, BS, MBA - Pet Health Pharmacy


 

Pets bring out the best in their owners and the people around them. A recent study done between Miami University and Saint Louis University found that pet-owners had higher levels of self-esteem and conscientiousness than non-pet owners, and were more apt to be less lonely and less fearful. It is common to find seeing-eye dogs and K9 police dogs, but what about service dogs for something even more common, mental health?

 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a whopping 18.6% of adults in the United States deal with some form of mental illness. Service dogs can be trained to specifically help those with psychiatric disorders, seizures, anxiety, autism, and even diabetes. Dog ownership has also been tied to possibly helping veterans recover from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 

An article from CNN interviewed a man named Sgt. Charles Hernandez and his Labrador Retriever, Valor. In the article Hernandez refers to Valor as his personal physician. Valor would pull him away from conflicts, alert him to seizures, and jump on him during an anxiety attack to calm him down. Between Valor and medication, Hernandez says that the combination has helped his symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.

 

While some are skeptical about the healing powers of pets, the remarkable stories and benefits are hard to ignore:

 

Love and Compassion: Pets have an ability to create love and companionship unlike anything a human could replicate. Many struggling with mental illness strive for that bond and interaction that a pet is able to provide them. 

 

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Talking With PHP Pete

 

Dear PHP Pete, 

I am not a dog owner but since I know you have the inner track to dog owners I want to share my story.  I was walking on a public sidewalk in my town. A man was running his dog (actually his dog was running him) in a field next to the sidewalk. The dog approached me very quickly despite the weak begging from his owner to return. I stood my ground but the dog was not very well socialized and appeared frenzied with the fur raised on his back. I was able to talk the dog down until the owner could grab his collar. 

 

Pete, if I did not know how to deal with dogs, this could have been a very bad situation. The really sad part about this whole experience was this was a pit bull mix and I know how truly loving pit bulls can be when they are properly trained. Pete, you are the bark of reason...please tell all dog owners of any type but especially mixed breeds that it is their responsibility to keep their dogs controlled.

 

Sincerely, 

Concerned 

 

Dear Concerned,

Pete hears your pain and he thanks you for taking the time to bring up this most important topic. As dog owners we owe our dogs the safety of understanding their demeanor and working with them to live a happy socialized life. Pete also supports mixed breed adoptions from local shelters! Pete works with Pet Health Pharmacy to make sure our shelters are supported with their efforts to provide compounded medications for their pet residents. If you know of a shelter owner please have them call Pet Health Pharmacy to learn more.

 

To quote my friend, The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan "My kids are around pit bulls every day. In the '70s they blamed Dobermans, in the '80s they blamed German Shepherds, in the '90s they blamed the Rottweiler. Now they blame the Pit Bull." PHP Pete wants to know how long will it be before we blame humans?


 

Sincerely,
Staff at Pet Health Pharmacy
Pet Health Pharmacy
 800.742.0516 | info@pethealthpharmacy.com
  http://www.pethealthpharmacy.com
12012 N. 111th Avenue | Youngtown, AZ  85363