My Dog is a therapist

We have all heard stories about how a dog pulled out a person from the rubbles of an earth quake site. There are others who have had experiences of bravery like a dog pulling a baby out of a car crash site. And then there was a story which turned out to be real for me. I have heard people talking about researches conducted on dogs trying to smell out certain forms of diseases. For instance, dogs were able to detect cancer in a patient. There were others which detected abnormal heart rates, blood pressure or blood sugar levels. There are cases where dogs were getting very disturbed hours before certain health events like a heart attack to its owners. Oh well these were stories which I never thought about twice. And more over, its normal for us to think that these dogs were probably trained to do so. Until… my mother in law’s black Labrador started acting a bit different one week before my mother in law had a major heart problem.

Dogs are usually playful, happy and a bundle of joy. When they are not acting like dogs, it usually means that they are ill. Some problem with their tummy, the heat being a bit too overwhelming or a probably disease which drains their energy. When you see no symptoms of a disease and yet there is an emotional turmoil in your dog, then there is something which we overlook. It was one of those few days when we sat around after lunch , chatting away happily while the black Labrador, came over to my mother in law and started sniffing her knee. For a moment, it looked like she had spilt some of her lunch on her pants, but there was nothing visible. It was repeated over 3-4 times the same day. It was unusual for the dog to behave that way and nobody thought of it the second time. A week later, my mother in law was hospitalized with High blood pressure. She was bleeding continuously from her nose. She recovered after a week at the hospital.

This was one instance which made me think. How could a dog know when its owner was sick? Was it a coincidence? It had to be because there was no real way to tell. It never happened again. The dog died 2 years ago naturally of old age. But Labradors are known to have special senses and sensitivity towards its human parents. They tend to know when things are wrong. Not just physically, but emotionally too. There are dogs, which will sit along with their owners for hours when the owners are mourning a loss, even far far away at a distant corner of the world. They understand that something is wrong and they feel it as much as you do. Some dogs even stop eating for a while others can be seen with tears in their eyes.

Dogs are also known to be great at relieving stress, depression and anxiety. Though not all dogs are good at it, there are breeds which can calm most people. A Labrador retriever for one can help people who are suffering from anxiety or depression. The dog takes their mind away for a short while, making them unable to think of anything but the dog itself. The chances of people going into depression are much lower with pets at home specially those which will require a bit of attention.

Its also a known fact that pet owners, specially dog owners lead a very long and healthy life. Since dog are required to be taken out for a walk, fed regularly and cleaned up, the dog owners get to be a part of the process. You will see that its normal for most dog owners to take a long walk once or even twice a day. They eat regularly and in time and its mandatory that they keep their home clean. Dogs usually litter and the owners end up cleaning whatever mess they create and also a lot more after that.

While most dog owner’s houses do have a different smell, that of a pet at home, you will also find that they take a lot of time to clean up their home every single day. It’s a process which makes the owners active and takes a lot of time away from their daily redundant activities.

Pets can be unpredictable. You can see them hopping on your new sofa one fine day or chewing your new shoe. Sometimes you can see them chewing your new shoe on your sofa. It can be a lot of pain but which will require your attention and almost immediately. This also requires the dog owners to take their mind away from what they are thinking, whatever it is that is making them anxious and attend to the immediate need.

Whatever said and done, the end results are amazing. Its not the dog you are training. Its you, yourself. Over a period of time, you can be assured to see a polite, calm and a completely loving person of you.

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