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Depression, Pets and Unconditional Love

02-19-08

Hello, my name is Wayne Lamb and I am a  Veterinarian and one of the Administrators here at Depressionforums.org.           

Over the years I have volunteered to bring pets on a regular basis to senior’s homes, mental health wards and schools for autistic children and have always been astonished at how even nearly catatonic seniors, isolated patients and hard to get thru children come out of their shells with an animal around.



Sharing your life with a cat or dog seems to definitely help your mental health. A study conducted at Australia’s University of New England found that people who own feline friends may experience fewer psychiatric disturbances than those without cats. I’m sure the same could be proven about dogs.
02-19-08

Hello, my name is Wayne Lamb and I am a  Veterinarian and one of the Administrators here at Depressionforums.org.           

Over the years I have volunteered to bring pets on a regular basis to senior’s homes, mental health wards and schools for autistic children and have always been astonished at how even nearly catatonic seniors, isolated patients and hard to get thru children come out of their shells with an animal around.



Sharing your life with a cat or dog seems to definitely help your mental health. A study conducted at Australia’s University of New England found that people who own feline friends may experience fewer psychiatric disturbances than those without cats. I’m sure the same could be proven about dogs.

Pets can help their owners overcome depression through their companionship and unconditional love. They seem to possess the natural ability to help you relax and enjoy life more. Pets can also help when you experience times of loneliness.

English poet, Alexander Pope, has stated that histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.

According to a Chinese proverb, dogs have so many friends because they wag their tails, not their tongues.

When you take care of a pet you have to develop a routine of getting out, buying food and providing exercise. This can help fight off depression and loneliness. The simple responsiblity of pet care can help you get your mind off yourself and your problems.

Unconditional love is what we seek as human beings. Our pets give us that, and nearly always it comes right from the start. Unless an animal is in recovery in a rescued situation or have been wild-caught, they stand ready and waiting with open hearts to love us.

Through the unconditional love of our pets, we learn what true loyalty is, what true acceptance is, and what true companionship is. This unconditional love is a true gift, one we may not always deserve but one that is always there.

In my profession I see this all the time and you don’t know what spiritual joy it gives me to be able to return a pet to its love ones when they thought they had lost one of their dearest friends. And I don’t know how many times I have stood with owners crying with them when they have lost their friend.

So, share with us what your loving pet has meant to you, especially in terms of your mental well being. We, here, all want to share your joys with you as much as we are willing to share your bad times. So get out the hankies and share……..

Throughout our lives, we have all heard a tremendous amount about unconditional love. We hold it as the ultimate form of love. We feel it for our children, and for many of us, we feel it for our parents. But even those bonds can be torn within the realm of human experience, for we easily become victims of hurt feelings or the backlash of our own words towards others. Most of us are fortunate to have had loving families and have been the recipient of the true unconditional love from our parents. And every parent knows the unconditional love for a child, even if the child does not return the love.

Sadly, many people have never known what it feels like to share true unconditional love between other human beings. Many have become disillusioned at what they thought was unconditional love, only to find in the end that there were indeed conditions in place that were not met. In fact, except in the case of parent’s instant and lasting unconditional love for their child, nearly all human relationships begins with conditions in place before we trust other human beings with our hearts. The unconditional love of adults for other adults generally is a gift of the heart that is opened and offered over time as trust, respect and character are observed and friendship develops.

So where is the unconditional love in this world that we hear about? We hear that Love loves us unconditionally, and yet we do not see it or feel it or receive it from most of our human relationships. If one has never had children or did not grow up in a loving home, they might never have experienced that instant and lasting love that is beyond conditions and stands through all time.??

Where do we find this love within our daily lives pouring from Love’s heart and falling directly upon us in a personal way, through relationships of others in our lives? We truly do know that Love loves us. It provides many miracles in the lives of each of us and we see Its protection, Its mercy, Its grace, Its guidance and we feel Him in our hearts. And yet, because we are human, despite Love’s gentle hand upon our lives, we still reach out to find expressions of Its unconditional love through our interpersonal relationships with others.

We need that living love to be expressed to us and from us in a reciprocal “real” relationship, for Love has created us as social human beings. We need the love of others in our lives or we fall into depression and despair. it is a proven fact that those that have someone to love live longer lives and remain healthier for a longer period of time. Having someone to care for and having someone in our lives that cares for us in return is actually important for our physical and mental health, as well as our longevity!

So where do we find this unconditional love within the expression of our interpersonal relationships? Where do we find the ones that love us without conditions, who stand by us no matter what is going on in our lives? Who loves us no matter how we look, no matter what we weigh, no matter how many wrinkles we have or what our hair looks like? Who thinks we are beautiful from the inside out because they do not care about physical appearance? Who loves us when we come home from a bad day at work and is happy just to have us with them even if we are in a horrible mood?

Who loves us the same and expresses that love without question? One of the most common reasons that marriages break up between “soul mates” are financial problems. Who loves us just the same even if we are unable to pay our bills, if we have found ourselves deeply in debt or unable to balance a bank account? Who loves us the same whether we are meticulous housekeepers or creatively messy slobs? Who stays with us and stands by us when we lose our jobs, lose our health, lose our own dignity and self-respect, lose our financial stability or our ability to function under such stresses? Who stands by us when we make poor decisions or make mistakes that cost us through misjudgment or ignorance?

Who forgives us when we make mistakes, or worse yet, continually make the same mistakes? Who stands with us without question even though we are so flawed in our humanness? Who is glad to see us even when we are very late coming home? Do our human family members jump up and greet us excitedly with smiles and jump for joy just for the mere fact that we have walked through the door? Who loves us in such a way as this? Where is this unconditional love to be found? We all know that except for most parent-child relationships, most human love does indeed have its limitations and conditions.

The ones that bring us this unconditional love are our pets. These are the ones that provide us with Love’s Living Love and become our loyal companions, who stand by us through thick and thin. These are the innocent hearts that are able to love us in the way that they do because love is who they are. They accept us as Love accepts us. They forgive our shortcomings and mistakes. They don’t care what we look like and see our hearts clearly as if our bodies were transparent. This is how Love sees us. It created our bodies and knows its limitations, but It looks at our hearts. Animals bring us unconditional love in a personal way so that we can feel that love of Love in our everyday lives.

This is especially important for those who are alone in this world, having lost their human loved ones along the way or for those that are loners or for other reasons such as physical disabilities remain cut off from their communities. Our pets are like little droplets of Love’s love that have rained down from heaven into our lives, bringing us tidings of great joy.

We hold unconditional love as the highest expression of love and we know intuitively that it is divine in nature. And our pets bring us that in their innocence because that is the only way they know how to love us. It takes a great deal of abuse, neglect or even training to turn domesticated pets from naturally reaching out to a human being with their open hearts. We find pets that have become dangerous or vicious, if it cannot be explained by ill health or pain that the pet is suffering, we can generally trace such behaviors back to mistreatment, abuse or neglect of the animal in the hands of people. It takes a lot to turn pets away from their natural state, which is so accepting and expressive of joy and love.

Unconditional love is what we seek as human beings. Our pets give us that, and nearly always it comes right from the start. Unless an animal is in recovery in a rescued situation or have been wild-caught, they stand ready and waiting with open hearts to love us. They are Love’s innocent messengers of Its ever-present grace and love. And through our close relationships with these special little souls, we ourselves are brought to our higher expressions of living spirit and grow in our own spiritual development. Through the unconditional love of our pets, we learn what true loyalty is, what true acceptance is, and what true companionship is. These are the spiritual gifts that our pets show us for they are given these qualities from the Father and are born with the natural ability to express them.

Unconditional love from our pets comes directly through the grace of Love. When they pass away, we miss them often more than we miss our human loved ones and often grieve more deeply for their loss. Why? Because they loved us unconditionally and there is perhaps no one on earth who imparted to us that highest form of love, that most spiritual form of love, or perhaps called it up from within our own hearts, than our beloved pet. They call US to love another in that divine, unconditional way.

For Love is great and in Its infinite wisdom, It knows that even when we are not able to love our brethren of our human family, we are able to love Its creatures because they bring sweet messages of a love much greater than human love – that love which is Divine.

Source:
Depressionforums.org

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