Dogs are patient and unconditionally loving. Cats are the perfect blend of calm and collected with a little bit of crazy when they need to blow off steam. With these kind of roommates, it is no wonder why so many people connect to their pets in a deeper way than just surface-level comradery. While the average domestic dog might not be an official “pet-therapy” animal, there are many ways our animal companions trump laying on a couch and talking to a clinically-minded professional who is feverishly taking notes (or doodling!) while we talk. Some of us prefer pets, and believe our little snuggle-bundles are the world’s greatest therapists, and for good reason
- Pets restore confidence. Some people choose to get therapy simply because they are working on regaining confidence, and reestablishing themselves in triumph over past trip-ups, disappointments, failures and the like. Canine pals believe their owners to be the BEST, most superior beings worth all their time, energy and focus. Somewhere deep down, no matter how much encouragement and positive reinforcement your human therapist gives you, there is still an awareness that you are paying for their time. There are reasons why the professional is motivated to talk to you, and spend time affirming you. Dogs and cats have no other motive than to just be giving and receiving affection and attention with their best friend. This is a big confidence booster, that complex and complicated therapists may not be able to offer.
- They don’t charge. Therapist can charge between $50-200 an hour on average, and for people who take a while to “open up” about things, a session or two can really start to add up. Though a dog or cat may not have specific feedback to give you, just expressing your thoughts and feelings to a pet instead of a suit, could save you a pretty penny!
- They never have scheduling conflicts. For a pet YOU are the most important thing going, and unless they get sick or injured, you can be certain of a captive audience. They will never cancel your meetings, never tell you “something came up” and never be carrying the weight of other clients when they meet with you. Your worries, your concerns and cares are their entire world. Want to feel like you a priority? Get a dog.
- They never judge you. Dogs don’t seem to care if you cry when you talk about the bully at work (because let’s face it —the working world is so much like grade school, filled with social systems, suck-ups, the cool crowd, nerds and loners. Life is so hard.) But you can sob, slobber and whine all day about the same troubles and no cat or dog is going to shame you for those feelings. They will never tell you to “calm down” or “pull yourself together” or (the worst one) to “act your age.” They will not tell you to take medicine or that you are in need of serious mental help. They will just be there, comforting and supportive through it all, and usually you will feel better and be ok with the world.
- They never give you bad advice. A down side to pet-therapy status is they can’t give you good advice. But the upside is that they can’t give you bad advice! A pet will never encourage you to avoid certain things, or pursue certain things that could blow up in your face. They will simply offer their long, droopy (or tall and pointy) ears, and their daily companionship.
- They never go on vacation. Anyone remember Bob Wiley’s dilemma in the famous comedy film What About Bob? Human therapists need vacation too, but what if your life is falling apart while they are out of town and inaccessible?! Mr. McStuffins or Fluffychops will always be there. Always. No visits to Lake Winnepesake
- Did we mention they don’t charge? Well, obviously besides the pet food, toys, chews, beds, and trips to the vet; owning a pet-therapist is entirely free!
Note: We in no way wish to undermine the work of therapists, clinical psychologists, or social workers, etc.. This is more of a light-hearted blog meant to help pet owners see the humor in why they are drawn to treating their pets like therapists.