Pets are everywhere. They are in the parks, in the cars, in the supermarkets, at restaurants; but most of all, they can be at home, with us. Whether a cat or dog or a pet possum, we have come to share a truly deep bond with different pet animals. For psychologist Dr. Kim Chronister, this is what makes pet therapy a viable mode of reducing depression and anxiety.
That we enjoy the company of pets can be abstracted from the sheer number of cats, dogs, birds, and other animals people now bring home. We love their innocence, their playfulness, and also their supportive presence. Experts like Dr. Kim Chronister believe that only 15 minutes with pets can help alleviate negative emotions. She says, “We don’t share a spoken language with animals. But there is a bond that goes beyond words. I have seen many people who don’t open up easily to other humans, but respond well to the comforting silence of pets.”
Pet animals often end up becoming a member of the family. We share with them our living spaces, our cars, and even our beds. This is essentially because of how “pets make us feel. The way they greet us, lick us all over even after minutes of separation can help people who are feeling depressed and anxious feel better. Imagine coming back home from work and looking forward to meeting your pet. Just the thought of someone sweet, loving, and kind waiting for you at the other end of the door can keep anyone from moping about,” adds Dr. Chronister.
Pets have long been used for assisting and comforting sick children. The aura that pets exude makes the most vulnerable among us feel safe and protected. There’s some magic to this bond, and it is science through the likes of Dr. Kim Chronister that is committing itself to understand it.