Pets as Therapy

Well I’m debating getting a pet – current thoughts are a hamster or a pair of guinea pigs.

Many years ago when I was relatively new to psychiatric services my then psychiatrist suggested I get a pet as this might help me.

Shortly thereafter I got two guinea pigs, Babs and Hetty, then it got out of hand and I ended up with 13 guinea pigs for while which was more than I could manage.

How useful this was for grounding I’m unsure – on one level I had to look after them so it kept me grounded a bit; on the other hand I used to have conversations with them that to me were as real to me as conversations with people.

I found guinea pigs are better listeners though!

There were certainly helpful at keeping me emotionally more grounded when they were closely around me, and gave me a sense that I could be depended upon and so I wan’t just a person that needed other people, I could give support too.

Whether this was truly animal-assisted therapy I do not know; but from what I can gather dogs, cats, equines and dolphins are more commonly used.  In some way it helped me, which I suppose what mattered most.