The friendship between animals and humans began from very ancient times. The pet animals have become man’s most trusted and wanted companions and assistants. Pets always try to help and cheer their master and foster companionship. The relationship of a man with pets is different from his friendship and kinship with other humans. It is more emotional and intimate. This relationship is less threatening and less obligatory.
Even from the prehistoric period, the relationship between man and dog began. Andrew Sullivan says “Owning and loving a dog is one of life’s greatest joys”. From BC 10th century, cats were domesticated. Horses were also used by man from BC 10th century onwards.
In 600 BC Greeks noticed that the presence of horses seemed to lift the spirits of seriously ill patients. Florence Nightingale identified the benefits of animal interaction for her patients in 1800. She found that small pets reduced anxiety in her psychiatric patients.
Sigmund Freud found that dogs had a calming effect over his patients. He used his pet dogs in the treatment of patients. He noticed that presence of pets can lower blood pressure in humans. Even when they visualized the presence of pet dogs, their B.P and anxiety were lowered. It was in 1960’s that first formal research on animal therapy began by the American child psychiatrist Dr. Boris Levinson. He found that his pet dog had a positive effect on his mental patients. Dr. Boris Levinson coined the term Pet Therapy and popularized it. His findings became basic concepts of pet therapy. In 1977, Ohio University started a pet therapy centre under the department of psychiatry.
Various studies have shown that animal assisted therapy dramatically improves patient’s feelings of wellbeing and promotes cure and shorter hospital stays
Animal Therapy Concepts
Animal Therapy is based on the concept of human-animal bond. People inherently desire to interact with and relate to animals. Stroking, hugging or even touching a loving animal like dog or cat or horse can elevate the levels of serotonin and dopamine in humans and can instantly produce a calming state in them. Your pets can fulfill the basic human needs of touch and love. Your companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness and boredom. You will get enough opportunity for more movement and activity through walks and play.
Today, animal therapists use cats, pigs, mongoose, birds and dolphins in addition to dogs and horses.
Research has shown that your pet animals can help you heal yourself by improving your physical and mental health.
Studies show that pets can improve your cardiovascular health by lowering your blood pressure. Heart patients with pets were found to survive longer than those patients without pets.
As per the study conducted in residences of seniors in Ontario, seniors with pets found to make thirty percent lesser visits to their doctors than those without pets.
Pet owners have found to have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without pets.
Pets can provide you with overall comfort and well being. They can help reducing levels of pain.
It is found by researchers that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression compared to those without pets.
Pets can help to lower your anxiety and stress. Pets can reduce your loneliness and boredom. Pets help to increase the mental stimulation and to recall memories. Pets are seen to reduce chances of Alzheimer’s disease. Pets play a crucial role to make their masters more happy, thrilled and active. There is a saying “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
Studies show that the presence of pets can induce enthusiasm and joy among the family members in 70 percent of families.
As the famous American novelist Dean Koontz pointed out ‘Petting, scratching and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer’.
He is a Human Resource Consultant, National Trainer, and Counselor. Formerly he was the Deputy Chief Engineer, Kerala State Electricity Board and is still working as an external faculty of HRD Programmes of KSEB. He is also a faculty of Department of Management Studies, Mar Augusthinose College, Ramapuram, under M.G.University, Kerala. He is the PG course co-ordinator of MHRM.
He is a columnist in several Magazines, like ‘Business Deepika’, ‘Creative Business’, ‘Donbosco’ etc. His articles have been published in many magazines and journals. His several speeches have been aired by All India Radio. His interviews on various subjects have been telecasted by Power Vision TV.
He is the author of five best-selling books
- ‘Stress-Manassasthra- Aathmeeya Pariharangel’. (Current Books, Thrissur) 4th Edition
- Vijayiyude Vyakthithwam (Current Books, Thrissur)
- Jeevitham Santhushtamakan, Nithya Yauvanam Nedan.(CSS, Thiruvalla)2ndEdition
- Emotional Intelligence-Jeevithavijayathinu (CSS, Thiruvalla)
- Vijayarahsyangal (Current Books, Thrissur)
As a trainer, he has conducted more than a thousand seminars and workshops for teachers, parents, students, executives and others, on several subjects like Stress Management, Time Management, Personality Development, Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual intelligence for Excellence, Communicative Skills, Assertiveness, Motivation, Study Skills, Effective Parenting, Counselling Skills etc. He is an external training faculty of Power Engineers Training and Research Centre of KSEB. He is an external faculty of IMG Cochin. He is also the Secretary of Upasana Cultural Centre, Thodupuzha.