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Mama_Cakes's avatar

For someone in a slump, do you find that owning a pet may help them?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9777points) September 18th, 2012

Do pets lift our spirits?

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17 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

They life mine for sure! For some people it’s additional stress, depends on the person and resources I’d say. Like if you had 5 kids to feed, bathe and educate, I’d say having multiple pets would add to your stress level…I hear a lot of my mom friends griping about cleaning up after pets.

gailcalled's avatar

The slumpee would need enough energy to care for and love the pet. If so, then “yes.’’

A lot does depend on attitude. You know my story (I have told it often enough). Although I was not in a slump, I was very reluctant to open my home to Milo. The love affair that ensued caught me completely off guard.

And even though he scratched and bit me at 3:00AM this morning while I was sleeping peacefully (as far as I know), this happens rarely and I always forgive him. A depressed person might not, and might not be able to overcome an aversion to the litter box, the dead critters and the occasional hairballs or other gastritis-related accidents.

DigitalBlue's avatar

If they don’t like animals, it certainly won’t help.
I’m in a slump and I get my daily dose of furry snuggles.
They definitely lift my spirits, but I don’t think they are necessarily the “fix” for everyone. I am certain it could be helpful under the right circumstances, though.

Bellatrix's avatar

There is a lot of research around the role pets can play in lifting people’s spirits. Therapy dogs that go to visit people in homes for instance. I could track down some specific examples but it’s 4 am so I can do that later if you want. So yes, definitely animals can do this.

If you are thinking of buying a pet for someone who is down you need to make sure they have the capacity (mental and physical) to look after it. It won’t help if it is seen as a burden to them or becomes a real burden to them. They may not be able to go away for instance and it may create problems that will lead to more stress and anxiety rather than less. So, you would need to talk to the person about managing having a pet before you went that way.

noodle_poodle's avatar

absoloutley. Get a dog. Best thing I ever did. Gets you up and out and their pure joy at you and the world is very contagious.

anartist's avatar

Not if you are too much in a slump to take care of him or her.
Pets are a lifetime commitment not a bandaid.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I was thinking of the girl.

Coloma's avatar

I think, for the average slump yes, but not if someone is so depressed they cannot even take care of their own basic needs. I love my pets dearly and slump or not, sick, tired, broken leg, it matters not, I HAVE to spend at least an hour a day on my animal chores.
If I don’t get up who’s going to unlock the barn, chop the greens, break the bread,freshen the swimming pools, feed the cats, fill the bird feeders and birdbath, and save all the little tree frogs and lizards that get in the house?

Short of death I would never neglect my pets.
Infact, one of my fears is that I will die in my sleep and the geese will be locked in their barn for days before anyone would know. :-O

janbb's avatar

i have been thinking of getting a dog as I am currently in a slump and keep weighing the pros and cons. Thinking about rescuing a Havanese….

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

My mother-in-law used to say “a change is as good as a holiday.” A new pet would be a change, but if that is too much commitment, then make some other change to cheer yourself up.

YARNLADY's avatar

A mild, temporary slump, maybe if they like pets. A full blown clinical depression, only if someone else has the primary care of the animal – they are a big responsibility.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

yes I believe they do. but I also think there are certain pets who are better for doing that than other pets. I guess I’m basing that on the fact that not all animals are born therapy animals. Some need guidance & sometimes a person who is leaning on an animal for support do more harm than good for that pets personality.

DarknessWithin's avatar

Animals have been proven to be greatly therapeutic and for a lot more than just “slumps”. There used to be this show on Animal Planet, one of my favorites about animals who do amazing things for humans.

I recall this one story about a young woman who was attacked and raped in an alley while she was in college. She had been so traumatized that she dropped out of college and for years after that she was extremely paranoid, to the point where she could not sleep, had trouble leaving the house and had panic attacks.
One day she is advised I think by a therapist to get a dog, so she does, I forget the breed. She wasn’t very into the idea thus I think she struggled to get along with the dog at first but by the end of the story you could hardly tell it was the same woman. She begun to get out more and feel happy again.
I think she even returned to college, an art student I believe she was. She had grown to love that dog and was grateful to it.

Dogs are energetic animals that love to play so they are good animals to get you off your ass and moving around outside. They also also very genuinely affectionate and without being judgmental or offering unwanted pity as humans can.

Shippy's avatar

Lot’s seem to agree it does make a change in your life for the better. Pets are so great, to cuddle and be there for you, and love you without reserve. For me personally I am not so sure I get too neurotic. Plus all my plants die, .

tinyfaery's avatar

Never purchase an animal for another person unless you know, 100%, that he or she will be able to care for that animal as much as necessary.

My answer is obvious, I think.

DarknessWithin's avatar

Another thing you should know, is that if your friend did get a pet, it won’t be for his/her slump, it will be for life. It’s not medication which you can stop or ignore once you don’t need it anymore. It’s a large commitment, it’s a living thing just like a child.
Make sure it’s THEIR decision not yours, professionals themselves discourage pets as gifts because you need to be willing and ready to take on that responsibility.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

There is much in the way of documentation and study reports to indicate that they do. Even really bad ‘news’ websites like yahoo mention such studies on their health pages (I say bad, because it’s usually bad news), and it is even mentioned a few times in my psychology books. As for full blown psychological issues, yes they DO help.
Now you can ask how I know.
My girlfriend has BPD, a mental health issue under much debate and discussion within the UK’s NHS and the government (as useless – and I do mean totally useless – as they are). She has two cats, and she loves them dearly and it does help her to maintain some degree of uplifted spirits shall we say. It doesn’t help outright given the severity of her condition, as she relies on medication to be able to beat the bad times she has during the day, but the cats do help.
It helps with older people too, especially single senior citizens who have no other form of contact with close friends and relatives immediately to hand.

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