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Pets & PTSD

I am not really a ‘pet’ person. My animals tend to be a little bit more for sport than pets.

What I find animals in general are exceptionally good for, in terms of ptsd or depression is ensuring you stick to some kind of schedule. Even if that’s get up, feed the dog, walk the dog - it’s getting you out of bed. Even if it’s only an hour, it’s forced you to get up/dressed/go outside. Mine force me to be up and about now matter how much I don’t feel like it, and it also means I’ve learnt an exceptional amount of control over my bodily ‘emotional tells’ in order to be able to be the most level for them.

Even if your motivation is so appalling you can’t stick to a routine *yourself* I find people will often do it for their pets.

Movement is so powerful that even a quick dog walk can do so much good for you 😊
While I agree with No More, for me, the being forced to do things makes me resentful. So sure, it makes me move but it really turns my mood sour because I don’t have a choice.
Dogs for me are the primary source of this. It is like dogs just need, need, need and have so many sounds that just set my teeth on edge, barking, loud panting, the whining… they follow me around non-stop, want to play non-stop, don’t leave me alone… a constant system overload for me, they are just too much.. I am never mean to them but I assist in taking care of them very begrudgingly…

my favorite way to wake up… Canary song. They sound so happy in the mornings but aren’t overly chipper like some birds. They love it when you clean their cages in the mornings and get them fresh food and water, but there is no forced rush to do so.… then they just slowly simmer down and towards evening just don’t make a peep. That works well for me.

Cats- yeah now if you haven’t seen I adore cats. I love their attitudes. It makes me laugh beyond reason. I love they just up and let you know what they think. Yet cats are very forgiving. They don’t require much from me directly. And when they do want affection they ask for it but it isn’t non-stop, when I am ready to be done, that is usually ok with them and they continue sitting with me. If they aren’t ready then it is nudges, like little gentle reminders. The purring is a calming thing. I can peacefully sleep with a cat purring next to me. I never fully realized, until here recently, just how much they alleviate my anxiety levels.
Like stated above, my animals (mostly dogs, couple of cats) keep me getting up everyday even on the worst days. They force me to do something which makes it easier to then do other things since now I’m already up. Plus, gotta keep a job so I can keep feeding them, etc.

I genuinely have no idea where I would be if I didn’t have my dogs when I was at my worst. Actually no, I know I’d be either dead or 600 lbs and about to be dead.
Pretty sure my dearly beloved cat Ferdinand (r.i.p.) had the feline version of PTSD. We were each other's emotional support animals for many years.

My current cat also just seems to know when a member of the family is feeling bad, sad, or out of sorts and will lie next to them/on them. I don't know how she knows, but she totally does. It's a huge, huge help on my bad days.
My dog is a huge source of both joy and pain. Brilliant company, unconditional love and doesn't care about my symptoms that can produce some 'odd' behaviour. Pain because when I got him, I wasn't sick, I feel guilty that he hasn't had the life I intended for him when I took him in.

Currently doing some equine assisted therapy as part of a trauma package, didn't think it would be for me, but it's brilliant. Definitely not as a stand alone treatment 'cure' but to practice grounding and being in the moment it's ideal.
My human family failed to support me so I learned about emotions and empathy from animals. I agree with a lot of the comments in this thread.
ensuring you stick to some kind of schedule.
Agree. Prior to recovery when I was enmeshed with my abusers and rejected routine I had a very complex set up of breeding reptile colonies. They were uncommon species of lizards and it took me hours every day to care for them. I could care for them but not for myself because I didn’t even know that I had a self. I used to dream about being captive in a false world like the Truman show. My reptiles reflected my own captivity with my abusers.
want to play non-stop, don’t leave me alone
My dog now is the most hyper and focused-on-me dog I’ve ever had, out of pit bulls, cattle dogs, a husky. This one I got thinking it would be a lazy chihuahua. He is a rat terrier and his energy and eye contact are through the roof! I was depressed and in the death throes of my addictions when I got him. His energy got me out the door, talking to strangers. I feel the animals bring the energy you need. In your case, Shaylee, those dogs aren’t yours and are a reminder of the difficult relationship you have with their owners. Totally understandable that they would be so irritating to you!
Canary song. They sound so happy in the mornings
💛❕ I’ve never had a canary but maybe some day! There’s a character in a Dickens novel of a big burly guy with a little canary. I love the juxtaposition.
force me to do something
In my worst depressions I had to still feed my animals, give fresh water, and with this rat terrier I still have to walk him or else he can’t sleep at night.
seems to know when a member of the family is feeling bad, sad, or out of sorts
The best thing about animals! I think this is why I feel I was raised by animals. I was drawn to them for emotional support and they provided it. This thread is about pets, but I extend this to wild animals. I have had some amazing encounters with wild animals that taught me deep lessons and encouraged me to continue seeking them.
I found solacein animals growing up.. my dad had a dog and sadly he used to get hit and kicked regularly...I felt when we looked into each other's eyes there was an implicit understanding about being in a shit situation and having no control over that... I felt love from him and I think he did from me... there was something so important about not being alone in those situations...

Now I can't have my own pets for various reasons.. however a local neighbourhood cat has chosen our place to make their second home.. so I essentially have a pet for all the good bits and none of the bad! She is one of the most important beings in my life and I'm not even exaggerating... before I was a dogs person, but now I can see, with more time and trust-building, cats can provide a different but equal level of care as dogs can.. but you need to put more in to them in terms of trying to connect and gaining their trust... the best thing about cats is they are over all lower maintenance... but they are also very loyal, just in not such an obviously desperate way as dogs can be lols

That's my experience anyway
dogs. Most of my life I would have told you that my dog was my best friend. If you are young and curious with room to roam, you need a dog if for no other reason than they will come home alone if you are in trouble or just asleep in the shade by the pond for too long. They were my liaisons into the lives of my children when they were growing up with room to roam. Aint that poetic? Now my kids have dogs for my grandkids and that's the way it is supposed to be.
I like dogs and PTSD doesn't matter a hoot to them. If they could go live where no one gets depressed and no one gets angry and everyone sleeps all night, every night, they would say no, they belong here, and that's the deep truth about dogs. We belong to them in a lot of ways.
Dogs have helped me immensely.

They bring my hyperarousal symptoms way down, they help me with my behavioural activation, they break the isolation that feeds my low mood, they get me out of my head and focused on something external and positive, they keep me grounded which means my flashbacks becomes rare (rather than routine), they’re there providing immediate comfort when I wake from a nightmare,…there’s probably more.

But yeah, pretty much every major symptom I have is ameliorated by having a dog.
i'll give up my psychotherapy network before i give up my animals. dogs and donkeys are my most effective therapy supporters. the dogs are better for the fact that they do well in buildings and cars, but time on the bio-web is my truest balancing agent. plants, animals, bugs, birds, etc., etc. they keep me reminded that we're all connected and life is bigger than me and the screwed wiring in my head.
I would not be here if it were not for my cats. The very fact that they depend on me and love me is what keeps me here. One of my girls was adopted and then abandoned. I can't imagine family taking me in and then leaving me.

I don't have many friends (and all my close ones have died), so I talk to my girls, give them hugs, and spend the bulk of my time in their company. Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.