Image 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.