Happy National Adoption Weekend! Since 1994, pet lovers and PetSmart Charities have saved over 8 million fur babies through adoption. WE’RE GOING TO DO IT AGAIN! Join those 8 million animal lovers and adopt your very own dog or cat. I am here to share with you how my rescue dogs have changed my life and to encourage you to find your forever love.
Many people with a mental health challenge have pets. That pet, becomes that person’s therapist, best friend, and source of love. Pets provide stability and security that is sometimes difficult to come by in a fast-paced tech-filled world. I believe, in this perfect relationship between pets and humans, the pet owner can grow in their mental health recovery with Fluffy or Fido just as much, if not more as would the next person with a mental illness who sees a human therapist.
Jake and Sam
I had my recovery dogs well before I knew I had bipolar 1. Jake is the Beagle/Dachshund mix and Sam (short for Samantha) is my Lab/Shepherd mix. Both dogs have their own personality and way of helping me in my recovery.
Both Jake and Sam intuitively know when I am slipping into a depressed episode. Jake sits so close to me on the couch, it is as if we are glued together. Sam senses the tears. When the tears flow, Samantha comes near and attempts to kiss the tears off my cheek. She snuggles beside me as if to say I will be okay. And that she will mend my broken heart.
In general, they keep me calm. I am a writer full time. I am sure most writers have a special place to write, free of distractions. My place is on the couch. No TV. Sometimes music. Definitely Jake by my side and Sam at my feet. I feel safe. Loved. Secure. It is almost spiritual at times.
10 Basic Emotions
According to Robert Plutchik, psychologist, the following are the top ten basic emotions every human being faces in their life:
- Love and
These emotions help us feel and then act. For instance, Fear can be motivating. If the doctor told you some bad news after your last blood work, you may be afraid at first. Then, something will stir inside you and that fear will turn into motivation to work on your health. Likewise, love is compelling. Take this adoption weekend. You may have loved animals when you were a child. Now, you do not even allow your children to adopt a puppy. Take that love that is deep down inside and allow it to compel you to do the right thing – adopt a pet. Don’t you want to give your kids this opportunity to bond with an animal, learn responsibility, to learn about loyalty if it is a dog and how to make appropriate choices?
Jake and Sam give me the love that I need that humans are often unable to express. I would rather spend all day with Jake and Sam, sitting on the couch writing, then at the mall, in the movie theatre or going on a road trip. Those two bundles of fur can be credited for saving me from depression, darkness and even suicide (more than once) time and time again.
My fur babies bring me joy when they are standing at the bottom of the stairs or on the other side of the front door, so excited to see me their bodies just might burst. When I am away from “Jakers” and “Sammie”, I feel great anticipation to see them when I get home. Their love surprises me when I feel anything but loveable.
My relationship with them has also taught me a great deal about fear, anger, disgust and unfortunately remorse.
I hope I have convinced you to get a dog or a cat to share love together. Go to PetSmart, enter your zip code. A page from PetSmart Charities will pop up with pictures of pets. You can set the filters on pet type, gender or age. If you can’t adopt right now due to your situation, you can help someone else adopt a forever love today.