Pets and PTSD

I've known about pets being supportive to people who suffer from quite varied and difficult health issues.

I do believe that pets have a very emotionally therapeutic benefit to people who are ill and suffering.

My partner and I have Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Daisy who is 11 and she is a very loving dog and extremely perceptive when either of us is feeling unwell even though we might not initially think we are extra unwell. Daisy becomes very attentive when either of us is having an extra bad day. She adopts a very close position and remains close, just maintaining body contact and watching you.

I am the 24/7 carer for my partner who is a very special little lady in my life with whom I share an extremely unique and particularly unpleasant experience. We are both victims of hit and run car drivers in two separate accidents before we met. Both of us were left very badly injured at the roadside by drivers who did not stop and we're never found. We have both lead very adventurous lives and certainly never turned away from challenges.

But we love dogs and have had some fantastic members in our families.

Any vets with pets out there?

My previous dog before my accident was a Doberman bitch called Tasha. Slightly different to the north American version.

She was my prodigy and she stayed with my ex wife and kids when I became homeless. Best place for her to be.

8 Replies

  • Totally agree, Hayabusa. Ours is just a wee Westie but is amazingly intuitive. I only have to feel unwell - or a bit down and he comes across and looks up - then sits between my feet - and stays there. Strange sort of comfort, isn't it?

  • My parents had a Westie and he was a BIG character.

    The Terriers are good company and very interactive/intuitive.

    They are good company when you are on your own and give you some direction and reasons not to vegetate? They provide multiple elements of support even as a distraction from your own suffering.

    We know as dog owners how benefical they are, I wonder how many others have enjoyed the wonderful company of a dog or from other pets?

    A lot of it is about keeping you going ! You have to keep going for them.

    But they also engage you with other people too.

    Having a dog with you when out and about will start off all sorts of meetings and conversations with people. Usually with people who are caring and loving themselves. They are great for socialsing or starting up conversations.

  • I have a very special 8 year old German Shorthaired Pointer called Jake, Just before Christmas in 2010 I had what I thought was just a chest infection but every time I coughed Jake would run up/downstairs away from me as if he knew something was wrong, on the 18th December 2010 I was rushed to hospital by ambulance with what turned out to be double pneumonia, severe sepsis and multiple organ failure later complicated with ARDS, my wife was told by the doctors I had a very slim chance of survival, I spent 3 months in ICU suffering some horrendous nightmares and hallucinations believing people were trying to kill me.

    Somehow I came through it all and when I got home Jake was there to greet me, he's been a great inspiration in helping me through the dark days when I first got home believing my wife and family would have been better off without me, but that wet nose nuzzling against you is a great therapy, I was left with post ARDS pulmonary fibrosis after my illness so I have to walk ( albeit a bit slow) to exercise my lungs, Jake always comes with me in our local nature reserve enjoying his run but always comes back to check I'm ok and now when I cough (which is often) he never leaves, so I believe dogs do have some sort of sixth sense.

  • What a story ! That is brilliant how Jake was with you and motivation for you too?

    Sometimes they can be your reason.

    I am so glad you made it through to see the chappie.

    The love they show you is an amazing thing to receive.

    Dogs certainly have very fine senses.

    You like nature reserves too?

  • Yes I'm very lucky in a lot of ways we have a SSSI nature reserve right on our doorstep in the beautiful Combe Haven Valley in the 1066 countryside, a great place to ponder my thoughts and enjoy my passion for photography, it's an every changing canvas of nature and a great place for Jake to run.

    The peace and tranquility with the odd chat to other dog walkers or holidaymakers from the local caravan park make it the perfect therapy

  • I don't have any pets, got two kids though, does that count?

    Joking aside I have seen services where people take their dogs to old folks homes to act as enrichment activities for those with dementia.

    Pets can have positive effect if your well enough to care for them. I hate to see homeless people with dogs. Mixed feelings on that one...

  • Well yes children can be equally hard work ! lol

    My two are now 18 and 26 so not quite as much effort is needed.

    Dogs perform all sorts of medical and support roles for elderly and disabled people.

    But yes I agree, the owner must be capable of looking after the animal to avoid suffering.

    I have seen it where they take pets to residential homes for the elderly to interact with, I think its brilliant. Very therapuetic and great to see their faces when handling the pets, dogs especially.

  • Being alone is one of the thoughts that upsets me the most.

    I don't like being alone in the house. Not through fear because I just don't have many feelings of fear if any after the accident.

    This may be to do with the nature of my bike smash, when I lay in the ditch and I was alone.

    I would have easily died alone with no one there.

    But also when I had an NDE in hospital on the day I was airlifted, I had a bad experience of what I believe was dying in what felt like a totally dark void. I felt very alone and I was powerless. Very difficult vivid memories, hard to let go of.

    So I think that is why I am concerned about being alone for any length of time. But I like my own company and often spend most of the day in the garage or garden.

    Being alone later in life is a concern I have, I wouldn't want to do that.

    But having a dog or another pet is a way that might work?