How To Find Comfort in a Furry Friend

How To Find Comfort in a Furry Friend

Whether cats, dogs, bunnies, or hamsters, our furry friends can be excellent cuddlers, superb listeners, and energetic playmates. While any animal can be an emotional support animal, some pets may be better suited to fulfill your emotional needs than others. 

Having a pet can help you find joy during your recovery as you bond and build a trusting relationship with them. Pets make wonderful companions because they can help you manage your mental health symptoms and teach you about responsibility. An emotional support animal can also fill you with positive emotions, which will help you combat negative thoughts and feelings that you may experience on your recovery journey.

Rediscover Happiness in Companionship

While holding a soft and furry animal can promote feelings of calmness and joy, you may also find that having a pet as a companion makes you feel less lonely. An emotional support animal can give you someone to talk to when you’re feeling down. Talking to your pet about your emotions allows you to process your thoughts by saying them out loud without having to manage other people’s reactions. Yet, you’ll still receive the love and comfort of having someone by your side. 

Pets are perfect listeners because they can’t talk back with disapproval, be inconsiderate, or devalue your feelings. Often, pets can provide you the safe, loving attention that will allow you to enter a headspace where you can process your emotions, thoughts, and traumas. It’s essential to process your emotions in a safe headspace so that you can understand your thoughts and feelings from an objective point of view.

When people think of emotional support animals, dogs are what usually come to mind. Dogs make incredibly attentive emotional support animals because they are emotionally intelligent. They can understand your emotional state through the look in your eyes or the tone of your voice. Dogs are also very loyal to their owners, which allows you to have a closer companionship with them. The mutual affection you receive from owning a pet can lift your self-esteem by making you feel loved.

Provide Care and Learn Responsibility

Owning a pet comes with a lot of responsibility. Larger pets will take more time, energy, and money to properly care for than smaller pets. However, all pets require you to care for another living creature, forcing you to practice self-lessness. 

Owning a pet can also bring structure to your schedule. For instance, your pet will need to be fed at the same intervals each day. Also, young puppies and kittens especially need structure to prevent them from feeling abandoned and scared. You can achieve this by leaving your pet alone in your home for a certain amount of time and familiarizing your pet with various environments. 

Having a pet will force structure in your life, making it easier for you to implement healthy habits for yourself that can help you reach your goals and promote emotional healing. Having structure is especially important for someone living on their own for the first time since treatment. Often, treatment facilities have a built-in structure that makes it easier for the person to practice healthy coping mechanisms and avoid self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.

Think About Practicality

Keep in mind that adopting a pet for emotional support could potentially affect your living situation. If your dog is a service dog trained in a specific skill set, then the “no pets” rule where you live does not apply to you. However, emotional support animals tend not to fall under this category because these animals aren’t trained in a specific skill. Exceptions to the “no pets” rule for emotional support animals support vary state by state. You can try reasoning with your landlord to allow you to have a pet by pleading your case, but you may have to find another living situation that is more pet-friendly. 

Many apartments or building complexes are more inclined to allow smaller animals for emotional support because they tend to be less destructive. Such pets could include fish, rats, snakes, or hamsters but will vary depending on your landlord.

It’s also important to consider your pet’s needs and if you have the space to accommodate them. Some apartments or building complexes may be more suitable for smaller pets. While dogs are typically seen as the best type of emotional support animal due to their emotional sensitivity, other types of pets can also give you a sense of companionship, unconditional love, and joy. Another benefit to having a smaller emotional support animal is that they’re generally easier to take care of because they don’t require as much attention and are less costly than a cat or dog.