Do Our Pets Help with Depression?

By Leah Kay –

Before I came into my mommy and daddy’s life a year ago. My mom had suffered from a nervous breakdown. She had just gotten out of the hospital for her depression when I came into their lives.

Now we all know they use us 4 legged pets for disable and handicap folks and we are allowed in some nursing homes to help lift spirits of those that can’t get out or have pets. But what about depression?

Now mind you, I”m no doctor nor are my parents but we can tell you from our own experience with depression if I have done any good in my mom’s life.

Can Pets Really Help with Depression? We sure can!! We may not know what really is going on in the person with depression’s head, but we can act silly just at the right time, or maybe we can give you one of our funny faces that actually put a smile on your face. Mom still has a bad day or two once in a while and she will try her best to isolate herself from both me and dad. She will go up in bed and close the door. The only problem is, when you live in a fifth wheel, mom is not able to “lock” me out. So I go up on the bed with her and when she tries her best to push me away, I make a game out of it and start playing. Then she will try to ignore me, I lay as close to her as I can. She may be able to tune dad out, but she can’t tune me out. And before long she is petting me and I’m calming her down; she will get out of bed and be back into action again. She will then talk to dad about what’s bothering her so much.

Do We as Pets get Depressed? Yes we do! When oiur master is down, we also feel down. But we try not to show it, instead we have learned to turn on the charm and to work in getting our master back on the right track again. Sometimes mom won’t spend the quality time that I want her to (I blame the depression on that), so therefore I will let her know that I’m just a wee bit upset with her. If I don’t lay on her lap in the evenings, then she knows she has messed up. Or if I don’t fall asleep in her arms at night, again she knows that she didn’t spend the necessary time that I require out of her.

When mom spends those quality time with me, then I feel as a pup, she doesn’t get as depressed and she seems happier. But when she is stressed, neither one of us do our best and so for now, we both are working on the stress part. Mom has lately made a promise to me that she is going to focus more on me than on feeling sorry for herself.

Now, on a much more serious note: Depression is a VERY serious illness that just cannot be cured over night or by going out and getting that special pet. Mom was on meds for about a year and saw a counselor as well. Today mom is doing really good for the most part, she still does occassionally have a down day, but it don’t last long anymore.

If you or someone you love dearly suffer from depression; SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY!! Mom was one of the lucky ones, she realized she was in serious trouble and needed help and got it.

Signs of depressions are:

loosing interest in the things that they love to do
Over eating and gaining weight (in some cases the opposite)
Aches and pains that they didn’t have before
These are just a few of the symptoms. But if you care of love someone and you notice the changes, don’t look the other way and think it’s nothing. Do something about it before it’s too late…

And if you do suffer from depression and have a pet. Don’t turn us away, instead look to us for support. When you cry, we also cry, but we will be there to lend a paw or shoulder or what have ya. We will listen with open hearts and we won’t give advise or judge you. We love you unconditionally and we will always be there for you. But always seek professional help as well.

Love Leah