When we first brought home our dog Bandit, emotional support was not the first thing that came to mind. He was a four-month-old puppy with manic energy. I used to look at my husband and say, “Where is the off button?” During the first week, he chewed two pairs of Under Armor tights, and my favorite pajama pants. If you have seen the commercial where the woman keeps apologizing because her dog keeps getting into trouble, that was us for the first few months. Stress and the thought of how do I make this work was a constant, but little by little, we started to form a bond until now, I could not imagine life without him. The love he shows us is amazing to see, and it has improved my emotional health. Here is why I think animals offer us emotional support.
Animals offer us unconditional love. They attach themselves to us emotionally just as we do to them. They aren’t going to let us down or betray us. They need love as much as we do. I love the way Bandit bolts out the door in the morning, but then stops and waits for me as if he needs to wait for his buddy to start the adventures for the day. Of course, if he sees a squirrel, I’m on my own. I also love when he runs over and leans up against me in hopes of a belly rub. He is a true blessing.
Something to care for
Even if we have some heavy issues, caring for a dog that relies on us can take our mind off of our troubles.
I talk to Bandit constantly. I tell him stories, my opinions, and what my day has been like. He is the best listener in the house. Releasing your thoughts is emotionally healing.
Bandit doesn’t care if I made a fool of myself in front of 20 people, or if I failed in some way. As long as I fill his dish and pet him, everything is fine.
Touch is healing and it’s something we all need. Being able to rub a belly or scratch a head makes you feel calmer.
Bandit will run into the woods, find the largest stick, and then begin his attempt at subduing it. This includes growling at the stick, and twisting, pulling, and biting until the stick is a mere twig. I can’t stop laughing when he does it, and laughter is great medicine.
Bandit will always keep me on my toes, but he heals my emotions like nothing else can.