AAA – Animals Against Anxiety

I love animals.  I write about them weekly on my blog.  I have two chocolate labs (mother and son) and a Friesian horse.  I’m happy to do anything for my furry friends and can’t imagine life without them.

What I find the most interesting thing is why humans decide to share their lives with furry critters who are not humans. What is inside of our hearts and heads that causes us to gravitate toward living with dogs, cats, bunnies, horses, snakes, guinea pigs, ducks, whatever.

For me, I’d have to say it’s the unconditional love I receive from my dogs and horse.  Whether I am having a good or bad day they’re always so excited to see me.  And they (whoever THEY are) say that dogs don’t know about time.  Sorry, not true.  My dogs act differently when I’ve been gone for hours versus minutes.  They’re big.  And when I come home after three hours at the barn, they’re so excited to see  me, they jump all over me, knock me down sometimes, and Jack (whom I hand-fed to health from birth) has to lick me, nibble on my ears, and whines until he’s gotten his “Patti Fix”.

No human being, besides when my kids were VERY young, is ever as excited as Annabella and Jack are to see me.  And Jack has to sleep right next to me, often near my head on a pillow, to be next to his “mommy”.  And Maximus definitely knows I’m his mom – no doubt.  He acts completely different with me than with other riders and he follows me around like a puppy when we’re walking around together in the huge arena.

It’s been proven that having a pet reduces anxiety.  I know when I’m having a bad day, if Jack cuddles up next to me, I feel better.  I can play with his velvety-soft ears and kiss his face and he’s happy to help.

If you have furry friends living with you, why do you choose to do that?

Posted on July 27, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Great post and wonderful pictures, Patti! We’ve never been without a dog in our house, usually with more than just one. We tried a cat once in college and I’ll NEVER do that again. Like you, I can’t imagine living without animals. No one loves me more than my dogs!

  2. To never have an animal in your life is to never have truly lived. Animals are our best teachers and most loyal friends. Cheers to a heartwarmong post! Tweeted and shared this gem!

  3. Yes, Christy’s comment reminds me of the saying, “No one will ever love you like your dog.” I guess that’s why I already had a Labrador and a hound and just adopted a pit bull mix puppy who is infusing sparks into my life. Groan. No more sleep for a while. But already I’m thinking what would I do without her?

    • Wow, Miriam, you have a houseful! I have a particular affinity for pit bulls though I don’t have one. I do think they get a bad rap but then again, I’ve heard terrible things about German Shepherds too!

      • Fortunately I have a farmhouse, dog yard, two pastures and many acres of open land around me, so it works out. As far as pit bulls go, I’ve had three. One was aggressive with my other dogs and had to go. The other two were great. All of them were wonderful with people. And before that I had an English Bull Terrier, also not an easy breed to handle, and she was a marshmallow. If they’re bred well and raised well, I think they’re like any other dog, you just have to respect that they are very powerful dogs. But so are many other breeds–some of which have been known to kill pit bulls–and they don’t get the bad rep.

        • How I would love to have a farmhouse, dog yard, pastures, and acres of land! I could have my horse live with me instead of miles away in a stall! Wow! Each and every dog and pet is different. That’s something that people have to acknowledge. One of my labs (the male) is so in-your-face and yet he’s a scaredy-cat if anyone makes a move in his direction. If you hug someone he barks and gets very upset. I guess he thinks you’re being violent.

  4. Indeed, Patti–what would life be without our furry friends? For me, life wouldn’t be the same. I often believe I’m more dependent on the dogs than I am upon them – I know that can’t be true because they need me for nourishment and medical care plus the extras of going to the groomer, etc. But, the flip side, they return unconditional love. Many a night when I came home alone from the hospital – if I hadn’t had a little white shit zue to greet me at the door – althought I’d been gone for hours – I’m sure I’d have lost it all those years after Tom’s memory loss. Teddy has passed now and he’ll never be replaced and not a day passes that I don’t miss him. Tom and I each have a shit zue now – Tom’s loves to hang out with him in his art studio and wanders into my office from time to time. Prissy, my shit zue, is content beside my chair here in the office–as long as we have plenty of play time. Great post and great pictures.

    • Ah, Sheri, I am not surprised at what you said about your furry friends. Mine have helped me out during bad times as well. I’m glad to hear that Tom has his own pal. I believe in the healing nature of pets for humans. I just watched a movie last night on Hallmark titled “After the Fall” about a women who falls off her horse and goes through therapy to get back the use of her legs. Her goal? To ride again. And she did.

  5. I never thought much about how much having a furry companion meant to me until my first Pomeranian died at 16.5 years.

    I missed her so much, and I realized she was what grounded me and kept me from doing nutty things. In the back of my mind, I knew she depended on me and that I needed to make it home so I could take care of her.

    When she died, I felt adrift. I realized that the way that loved me was something I needed.

    Despite my guilty feelings, I got another Pomeranian pretty quickly. (You’ve seen pictures of Cosmo at my Facebook) He was just what I needed.

    • I know exactly where you’re coming from, Catie. I’ve had to put three dogs to sleep due to medical circumstances and age and they were in pain and there was no fixing them. I thought that pain would kill me. And it made our other dog freaking crazy and we had to put her on antidepressants because it was her mother. It was one of THE most terrible things I’ve had to do. And then we got another puppy to entertain HER and then she passed away and I thought I’d die again from sadness. Now for the first time in a long time we have two fairly young dogs, 5 and 7, and don’t have to worry about that for awhile but when Annabella dies, her son Jack will NOT be able to function. We’ll have to get a puppy for him then. And the cycle continues.

  6. I can’t imagine not having animals. They connect you to the real world. Can’t have a dog where we currently live, but still have our “puppy” cat (acts more like a dog than a cat) and three horses. Good post.

    • Hey, the horses will fix me up every time. I am in another world while riding and that does not occur at any other time in my life. It’s the ONLY time I think of nothing else BUT the riding and Maximus. It’s a great thing.

  7. Great post and wonderful pics! I just don’t know what I’d do without my cat, Samantha. She cuddles with me and talks to me. Yes, I know … but she does. LOL I have to tell her I’m leaving or she sits and whines for a long time at the door – I know this from when my parents stay with me when they’re in town. If I take the time to tell her I’m leaving she’s fine – so I do. She’s funny and smart. Anyway, in case you can’t tell, I just think she’s awesome. 🙂

    • Oh, I definitely believe you. Animals know more things than we give them credit for – like time and food and treats and people who are scared of them. It’s not any stretch of the imagination that your cat feels you left without saying goodbye.

  8. We were just having the conversation today about whether animals can tell time. Whoever says they can’t doesn’t have one!! My dog knows exactly when dinner should be served, when the bus is supposed to drop the kids off and when my husband will be home. Horses are no different. They know when it’s time to go out to pasture and when they come in. And trust me, they also know when dinner is supposed to be served!

    Great post, Patti.

    • Yeah, you know I know that, Tracy. When I take Maximus out for a trail ride and he’s gets all squiggly, when we come back to the barn the flakes of hay are sitting in his stall, waiting, and he can’t WAIT to get into his bedroom!

  9. Our dog Cody is no different. He’s a yellow lab and smart as a whip but importantly, he’s a member of our family. Couldn’t live without him! Though we do share custody…but that’s a long story for another day!

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