Doggie cuddles take away health troubles

doggie lovingDealing with sickness and disease is never easy, but a little love helps big time. The source of “love” doesn’t need to be human, four legged friends are just as capable of giving an emotional lift up.

A recent study, published in Women’s Health Issues, suggests pet pampering is a health pick me up for many.

Coping strategies

Managing a chronic health condition means staying on track with the meds, following the doctors’ orders and living a healthy lifestyle.

Researchers interviewed 48 women, in small focus groups, to find out how they were doing it. All the middle aged women interviewed, were dealing with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis. Most of the women had kids (90%) , but not all had partners.

The researchers found six social roles influenced how the women handled their situation.

  • Mother/grandmother
  • Faith believer
  • Advocate
  • Employee
  • Pet owner
  • Stigmatized patient

All the roles, except the stigmatized patient, helped empower the women to deal with the stress and strains of living with the difficulties of HIV/AIDS.

Pet pick me ups

The idea that family and work impacts health is well established, but the role of pets is a little less recognized.

The women in the study reported how their pets supported them, providing empathy…..

“Dogs know when you’re in a bad mood…she knows that I’m sick, and everywhere I go, she goes. She wants to protect me.”

And encouragement….

“She’s going to be right there when I’m hurting,”

Both dogs and cats helped the women make it through difficult testing moments.

Dr Fido and Nurse Fluffy

Science can’t explain the healing power of the human/animal bond, but animal therapy can definitely lift ones spirits.

Give your body chemistry a lift and enlist the services of a dog or cat.

NOTE : If you’re like me, not up to the challenges of a full time pet – you can always” borrow” a dog. I have a quite a long list of furry friends I regularly share a few hairs and cuddle with. They’re always happy to see me, never criticize what I look like and laugh at my jokes. A little unconditional love is ALWAYS good for the soul.

The Relationship Between Social Roles and Self-Management Behavior in Women Living with HIV/AIDS. Women’s Health Issues 22(1):e27-e33.   Allison R. Webel, Patricia A. Higgins
 

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind cuddles ?

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Further reading

dog taking his human for a walk greyhound under pressure in front of the vet connecting with others
Walkies – it’s time to take your human for a walk If you have a little greyhound in you beware of white coat syndrome Don’t bother counting your blessings rather count your groups of “friends”

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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