Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Pet Therapy

You guys have been holding out on me. Why didn't anyone suggest that I should get a pet sooner? I always had pets growing up and did not realize how much I missed having one until my husband agreed to get me a German Shepherd.

I was looking online for something and saw an ad for trained shepherds that assist people with panic attacks and anxiety. Obviously it piqued my interest. I was amazed to find out that there are dogs that are specifically trained to support individuals with mental health problems. There were however some obstacles in obtaining them. There is a waiting list. Once your name does comes up it takes two years to train your dog. You have to find a way to come up with the substantial fees involved. Each owner is required to go and stay with their pet for at least two weeks at the training facility. Well, there went that idea, but the seed had already taken root.  I started looking on Kijiji and for ads for local breeders. I found a lovely King Shepherd on Kijiji but when I would not let the owners come to my home they were not interested. Im sorry, but my home is my safe spot and I don't want random pet owners coming in to evaluate my space.  When it fell through. I admit I was a bit emotional. There were a few precipitating factors but the dog was the final straw. My Husband, knowing that I was in need of something to lift my spirits searched and found a King Shepherd puppy about an hour away.

We threw our three kids in the car and headed east to look at what would soon become our newest family member. Titan.

When I went to talk to my therapist he told me that having a dog was a great idea for me and that my husband had done well in getting me a Shepherd. When I told this to my Husband he drove me back to the place where I got Titan and we brought his brother Legend Home.

Bringing these animals into my life has changed my world immensely. I take them for walks down to my neighbours' house and take them to town with me. I spend time in Pet Smart chatting with the other dog owners and as predicted by my therapist, at my campground I have been a social butterfly visiting from site to site taking the puppies to meet the neighbours. I find that I am so focused on attending to their immediate needs that I don't have time to panic about my own needs and fears. Even when the dogs are not with me, I find myself being able to make plans to go out in the world without double checking with myself about how it will affect my anxiety. I just do it. Sometimes I feel a bit of anxiety...other times I am fine. The point is I am out there for the first time in a long time.

Please do not think that I am suggesting that a new pet is the answer for everyone. I am merely suggesting that it is definitely worth doing a bit of research to see if it is a benefit to you. Try to spend some time today looking for what will help pull you out of your bubble today. My thoughts and prayers are with you.