Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pet Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

OurtheImage by NguyenDai via Flickr

I read an article recently about service dogs being used for people with Mental illness, this was a surprise to me, like most people when I think of those who use service dogs, and they have a physical handicap.

It has also been long known that dogs, most commonly, are used for therapy , helping those who are hurting to feel better, change mood and find hope. A tall order for a small animal, but vital just the same.

While therapy dogs are a common thing I have always heard of, I had never been in their presence, until about 3 weeks ago. It was not a controlled setting, such as therapy, but at home. We took in my daughter's dog, a Shih Tzu named Pork chop. He is a big baby and the cutest thing you have ever seen. The presence of this dog has had a profound effect on me, I didn’t expect it or thought about it when we took him in, but the other day it came to me after a friend noticed I had been more relaxed and focused lately.
Could it be because of Pork chop?

This small dog has attached himself to me. He does spend time with the others in the house, but he has become my shadow, my “baby,” and the one who has managed to calm my mind – no drugs, no talking, no complicated techniques from my psychiatrist – just a day spent with the cutest dog.

I watched him today playing in the back yard. We had 8 inches of snow last night, outside he was in heaven. He ran through the yard, or hopping rather looking more like a rabbit than a dog. But in his playing I saw the freedom and joy that can be found in something as simply as a day in the snow. We tend to forget such thing as we grow older.

I am thankful for him now, a dog who unexpectedly calmed my mind.

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  1. It's wonderful that you found something to calm your mood the natural way.

    My best wishes to you. I can sympathize with how hard it is to live with mental disability. My family and I are breathing a little easier again after months and years dealing with my son. At least now we know why he behaved the way he did. Two weeks ago he was diagnosed with "Bipolar One With Psychotic Features." The meds are really making a difference. He just got out of the hospital last Friday. He still doesn't believe that he has mental issues and doesn't believe in taking his meds, so, I have to remind him. Fortunately, he's been obeying.

    I don't envy you with all that snow. My sister-in-law lives near Hershey, PA and says that there's tons of snow there also. Stay warm.

    God Bless,

  2. Hi,

    You might be interested in my book: PUPPY CHOW IS BETTER THAN PROZAC.

    Best wishes,
    Bruce and Ozzy