I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that most folks living with migraine and chronic pain have a pet. When I was researching the topic of pets and therapy, I came across multiple instances and examples of pet therapy.
The use of pets in nursing homes, children’s wards in hospitals and even the prison program, of allowing inmates to train therapy dogs, was not new to me. Animal Assisted Therapy was and is absolutely brilliant! A therapist who is dealing with an angry adolescent can keep the session free of angry outbursts, by bring a dog along. The teen doesn’t want to scare the animal, thereby leaving the therapist free to guide him in ways to interact with the dog. This eventually cycles to his home and social life, where he can put his new-found anger management skills to work.
I found this statement by Rebecca Johnson RN, fascinating! She heads the Research Center for Human/Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, where studies have been focusing on the fact that interacting with animals can increase people’s level of the hormone oxytocin.
“That is very beneficial for us,” says Johnson. “Oxytocin helps us feel happy and trusting.” Which, Johnson says, may be one of the ways that humans bond with their animals over time. But Johnson says it may also have longer-term human health benefits. “Oxytocin has some powerful effects for us in the body’s ability to be in a state of readiness to heal, and also to grow new cells, so it predisposes us to an environment in our own bodies where we can be healthier.”
Who knew our beloved fur-babies could do all that and bring us such comfort and hope too?! They seem to instinctively know when we are not feeling well and come to our sides to offer comfort. Whether they are a cat or a dog, in my experience the comfort level is the same. My fur-babies have not only given comfort, but they have also given me hope!
Each one of my fur-babies had their own distinct personalities, George was kitten when my son Nathan found him, discarded by the side of the street. He got his name from “The George of Jungle” movie that was popular then. He would try so hard to jump from the arm of a chair to the end table, but just couldn’t quite make it. When he got older his favorite play toy was a wadded up piece of paper. You could toss that to him and he would catch it between his front paws, standing up then bat it all over the place. George went to kitty heaven when he was 18.
Sasha was 4 weeks old when I got her and as fate would have it, one day before I lost my job, due to my migraines going chronic. She was my hope and salvation during a very dark time in my life. I had this adorable little ball of black fur and gold eyes to take care of, she was my sweetheart, my cuddle buddy! Who later thought it was great fun to follow me around while I made beds, so she could hide under the covers and chase my hands! She also loved my husbands singing, it didn’t matter where she was in the house, if he started singing, she would come running and just sit at his feet! Sasha went to kitty heaven at 14, due to medical problems.
Most of you know Belle, the cat we rescued 6 months after Sasha went to kitty heaven. We jokingly refer the her as Queen Belle, she is a total sweetheart. She came from a home with 4 children and two dogs, so coming home to just my hubby and myself, must have felt like heaven to her. We’ve had Belle for 3 years now and she is such a joy to have in our lives!
Lastly is Flash he belongs to our son’s, who insist that they are confirmed bachelor’s! So that would make Flash our grandson! Easy peasy! lol
How have your fur-babies impacted your life, living with migraine? Feel free to comment, I love hearing other people talk about their beloved fur-babies!
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened” Anatole France
Live with hope,