Psychologists have time and again advocated the belief that pets are remarkable for a human being’s mental health. But can pets cure us too of our illnesses? Dogs are known to contribute towards treating and even preventing a number of mental disorders, by providing psychological and physical benefits. And let’s not forget the unconditional love that pets shower on us, because their whole world revolves around us.
They wait for us to feed them…they wait for us to come home everyday to them…they wait for us to take them for walks. Even though they depend on us for their survival and good health, we depend on them too for our happiness. Speaking as an animal lover and someone who has 3 rescued dogs, losing one of them to cancer 2 years back was a huge blow.
You realize how empty your home and life becomes when they cross over the rainbow bridge.
Can Our Pets Absorb Our Illnesses?
I love animals. They are powerful conduits of unconditional love. My editor wanted me to remove this story from “Emotional Freedom” about a dog’s compassion because it wasn’t between two humans. I disagreed and kept it in. Here is an excerpt from the last chapter of the book called “Facing Anger, Building Compassion.” I hope you like it. I hope you know that love exists between all sentient beings.
Compassion also provides the crucible for healing miracles to occur. One of my workshop participants told the following story.
Two years before, she’d longed to get pregnant but she had a rare, serious type of kidney disease. Her doctor warned that pregnancy would overly stress her body, even endanger her life. Still, this woman’s desire for a baby was so strong she decided to risk it. Fortunately, she stayed well those nine months and her disease stabilized, which isn’t typical during pregnancy, a great relief to her, her husband, and the doctor. However, in that same period, her young Golden Retriever, her constant companion, and soul-mate with whom she was so attuned was diagnosed with kidney failure. Soon after the birth of her daughter, this loving animal died, as if having held on just long enough to see her through.
“Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.” – James Cromwell
Though cynics would dismiss as “mere coincidence” the fact that both contracted the same rare disease–especially when the dog had been perfectly healthy–I read this quite differently.
For me, it seems rather to be a moving reminder of the interconnectedness of our hearts and the power of compassion.
There was a special love between this woman and her dog. Could it be possible for one life to so empathize with another that it can sense, even assume illness? Certainly, something to contemplate. As a physician, I know that love can create miracles that defy logical explanation.
Selfless giving resonates with such mystery. How wondrous and far-reaching compassion can be among all living beings. Each of us is capable of limitless love. The monumental implications of this fact continue to reveal themselves over the years, always giving me chills and re-clarifying my emotional priorities.
Humans might be the “superior” beings, but animals have a lot more love to give. What makes them more special and powerful is that they love without any expectations and conditions. For them, only one thing matters the most in their lives and that is their human. Pets enrich your life and make it a million times better.
Written by Dr. Judith Orloff MD
Originally appeared on Dr. Judith Orloff MD