Pets Influence on Mental Health by Linda Hansen & Alysha Clark

May is Mental Health month.  What would we do without our animal friends, of all kinds, to support us and bring joy back to our lives during and after recovery?Animals can be a very important part of maintaining a person’s mental health.  As pets, they know how their person is feeling at all times. As therapy animals, they can enrich our lives by being an additional means of support.

Pets and therapy animals can help someone just by their presence alone.  The care that is also required for their health and deposition is also beneficial for the person caring for them.

Some great examples of pets contributing to good mental health are found right here at Chrysalis. Lily, George, and Patches are wonderful examples.  

Dani’s dog Lily is often in the offices and spaces of Chrysalis. She greets and welcomes all who come through it’s doors. Her presence is very friendly.

Jess’s dog George is a bundle of energy and is cute and cuddly when is at Chrysalis.

Scooter’s cat Patches has really helped her mentally also.

An example of therapy animals is at “Three Gaits, Inc.”  Therapeutic Horsemanship Center. Their mission is to provide equine-assisted activities and therapies that enhance the live of people with physical, Emotional, or Intellectual challenges.” For more information about Three Gaits Inc, email threegaitsinc@gmail.com.

We interviewed Chrysalis staff member Jean, for a more in depth perspective on how having a pet has changed her life. Jean has been with Chrysalis since 2016 and has a passion for animals.  She has a Cockatiel that will be 21 years old July 4th. Jean moved into an apartment in 1998 that had a no dog rule and her sister suggested that she get a bird. Jean found Milwill at Noah’s Ark and it didn’t take very long for Milwil and Jean to bond. Whenever Jean is down or not feeling well, Milwill sings in her ear, “it’s like he knows” she says.  He is a “ray of Sunshine” and looks like one too. Jean says it’s like talking to a person and the more she sings and talks with him, the less likely he is to get into a depression and neither will she.

Jean recognizes that you have to be committed to getting an animal as it is a lot of responsibility, no matter how small the animal. But it’s worth it, Jean says, then you have something to look forward to when you come home from work, because “You are the center of their universe.”