Friday, March 6, 2009

Rachel's Story - Pet Therapy

I was discharged from the hospital a little more than 4 weeks ago.  The absolute best thing about being home is being with my dog every day.  As an inpatient, I missed him more than I thought possible.  There is something so calming and comforting about an animal – there’s nothing like it.  My dog radiates unconditional, non-judgmental, pure LOVE. 

 While I was in the hospital I noticed a woman with a therapy-dog.  She was visiting the Geriatric Unit.  What a wonderful idea!  I wished she had also visited the Mood and Anxiety Unit (where I was) because I love animals so much and I know it would have benefited everyone on the unit.  There’s nothing like an animal to lift people’s spirits.

 On days when I’m depressed and getting out of bed seems to require a Herculean effort, my dog really inspires me to get up and stick to a routine.  I have no choice but to get up and feed him and take him for a walk.  And, inevitably, I love walking him.  It’s one of my favorite things to do (especially when the weather is nice).  So I owe him a debt of gratitude.  I’d love to hear from others who are struggling with mental illness…how have your pets helped you?