“Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”
There are many ways that we as humans can benefit from being around animals. Since the dawn of time we have sought a deeper connection with nature and thus animals. Most of us see them as friends and family, allowing them close to our lives and enjoying their company on a daily basis. From animal therapy to training, let’s look at how animals can enrich our lives.
Animals can be therapeutic for us
Personally, I have always had animals in my life, from dogs and hamster to goldfish and even a donkey and goat! Children love having a pet and although they may not always understand the implications of owning a pet, the animals can help enrich their lives over the years. As we get older sometimes our mind can also benefit from the interaction of animals, even if it is not on a regular basis. Pets as Therapy is one of many services around the world that have teams of volunteers that bring animals into retirement homes. They have been at the forefront of community based Animal Assisted Therapy throughout the UK for many years. They also work with children and other people who can benefit from times spent with animals.
People are now realising that rescuing animals that have been mistreated by people can now have a positive impact with humans too. At the Man Chance Sanctuary in Surrey they have been rescuing horses that come from abused backgrounds for several years. After much healing work the horses are now very accepting of people and the sanctuary now have special days for disadvantaged children, bringing them to the sanctuary to spend time with the horses. It seems the children feel a positive connection with the horses and this emotional therapy brings smiles to their faces and love into their hearts. Here is a great video showing the positive results in action…
There are so many way animals can help us to be better people. One simple thing animals do that most people don’t realise is that they live in the present moment. By that we mean they don’t worry too much about the past and future like we do. They make the most of the present moment. This is something we could do more of ourselves. Animals also teach us about loyalty, sharing and compassion.
If you are open to alternative therapies there are even more ways in which we find animals really are magic. From animal communication (connecting to animals through a telepathic connection) to animal reiki healing and working with horses to help army veterans overcome their mental issues.
Here are a few more publications that go into more depth regarding how human to animal companionship can help us all.
Beck, A., and A. Katcher. 1996. Between Pets & People: The Importance of Animal Companionship. Purdue Press.
Becker M. 2002. The Healing Power of Pets: Harnessing the Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy. Hyperion Press.
Wilson, C.C., and D.C. Turner, eds. 1997. Companion Animals in Human Health. Sage Publications.
You can also read the great journals Anthrozoos and Society and Animals, which focus on the many physical and psychological benefits of human-animal companionship.