How does your pet help you cope?
We’ve known for a while – forever? – that pets can be a real help to people when it comes to dealing with trauma and working out emotional problems, getting through sad times, and so on. This fact has spurred a real expansion of different kinds of pet-therapy programs in a variety of different, from mental-health clinics to prisons.
Theresa Slayton, a licensed clinical social worker from Lafayette, Indiana, provides therapy and counseling to both kids and adults who are coping with stressful emotional issues. “I’ve had adults, as well as children, who project their feelings on to the dog. Shelly [her dog] can sense that someone will be struggling and will walk over and lay her paw on the person’s lap.”