|Contributions of Companion|
Family Members to the Family
The contributions of companion family members (pets)
to overall family functioning is all too often
overlooked. Individual members of the family are
occasionally caught between the demands of and
obligations to parents,
to in-laws, to children, to siblings, and/or to career.
This phenomena can be called the "sandwiched
individual" or the "crowded nest" syndrome. And
individuals often stagger under the such burdens and
responsibilities. With companion pets being
commonplace among households in the United States
and considered to be vital family members, companion
animals may serve as a buffer in stressful
situations. Companion animals may also function as a
temporary diversion away from the emotional strain
associated with modern life.
Dallas holding two babies
What Type of Pet?|
It is surprising that it does not matter
what the pet is to get the therapeutic benefit. It could
be a dog, a cat, a parakeet, a gold fish, a pot-bellied
pig or anything else. The only thing which matters is
that you are satisfied with your choice. Think twice,
|It is important that the pet you have selected
fit your temperament, living space and lifestyle.
Otherwise it will be additional source of stress. So,
look over the pet and see whether the chemistry is
compatible before you decide to adopt one. Think twice,
Too often, people who live alone or are suddenly
widowed die of broken hearts. Love is the most important
medicine and pets are one of nature's best sources of
affection. Pets relax and calm. They take the human mind
off loneliness, grief, pain, and fear. They cause
laughter and offer a sense of security and protection.
They encourage exercise and broaden the circle of one's
Nurturing skills are learned. Many at-risk children have not learned nurturing skills through the traditional channel. By being taught to take care of an animal, the children can develop these skills. Psychologically, when a person nurtures, his/her need to be nurtured is being fulfilled.
Four Of These Individuals Are Members Of Our Family|
Robin & Rosy
Rosa & Butters
Just Unconditional Love
Concepts of Family Dynamics|
Three concepts most central and descriptive of family
dynamics are cohesion, flexibility, and communication.
Within this model, each family member (potentially
including the companion animal) serves different
functions within the family system. Although there is
limited empirical data on human-animal bonds within the
context of the family system, the emotional attachment
between humans and the companion animal may facilitate
healthy family functioning and foster connectedness,
flexibility, and open communication within the family
3 Family Members Snuggling & Napping
"What's Up My Dog?"
Right Hand Man, Radar|
an ineffective means of instilling or evoking prejudice from our four-legged family.
Human family members, on the other hand, can be filled with
prejudice and rage against family by means of
sensationalistic and/or persuasive rhetoric.
love cannot be confabulated or muddled with words.
Reality for him exists only in life's actual experiences,
not in what he is told to think. He does not absorb and then
start experiencing the feelings he sees being expressed
in regard to certain issues like humans do. Therefore, he has no
criticism, no contempt, no misgivings. He is not suffering
from the illusions that are so common for our two legged
family. He loves me as much as I love him. Who could ask
for a better family member and companion than that?
For most people the word "bitch" has negative connotations.
Whereas a bitch is really man's best friend. Even the slang
term of "What's up my dog" when used to affectionately greet
someone is indicative that dogs are loved and highly
|Research has shown that heart attack victims who
have pets live longer. Even watching a tank full of
tropical fish may lower blood pressure, at least
temporarily. A study of 92 patients hospitalized in
coronary care units for angina or heart attack found
that those who owned pets were more likely to be alive a
year later than those who did not. The study found that
only 6 percent of patients who owned pets died within
one year compared with 28 percent of those who did not
The therapeutic use of pets as companions
has gained increasing attention in recent years for a
wide variety of patients--people with disease or cancer,
the elderly, and the mentally ill. Unlike people, with
whom our interactions may be quite complex and virtually
unpredictable, animals provide a constant source of
comfort and focus for attention. Animals bring out our
nurturing instinct. They also make us feel safe and
unconditionally accepted. We can just be ourselves
around our pets without having to worry about
"offending" them in some way.
Bubba Louie & Suzie Q
Loving and Playing and Playing and
love Bubba & Suzie so much, they really add to our family!
mama Rosy & baby Taz.
|More About Companion Family Members
Pets such as dogs and cats provide unconditional,
nonjudgmental love and affection. And pets can shift
our narrow focus beyond ourselves, helping us to
feel connected to a larger world.|
Pet owners often feel needed and responsible, which
may stimulate the survival incentive. They feel they
need to survive to take care of their pets. Plus,
interesting daily activity is the strongest social
predictor of longevity.|
Stroking a dog, watching
a kitten tumble, or observing the hypnotic
explorations of fish can be an antidote to a foul
mood or a very tiring and hectic day.|
The grooming instinct, or what can be classified as
the human need for touch, can be satisfied through
the soothing and relaxing effect of stroking,
caressing, and cuddling our four-legged family
Taking a pet into a nursing home or hospital has
been shown to boost peoples' moods and enhance their
Children occasionally relate to animals better than
to adults or to other children. A pet offers the
child unconditional love, providing a often much
needed security blanket.
|Cuddling And Snuggling
Kamryn kissing his turtle
I've had people tell me before that their reptiles and
tarantulas have always helped them deal with stress.
They enjoy "cuddling" them. (You can cuddle a tarantula?
Well I guess if I wanted to or needed to I could.) I do
realize that these people's way of cuddling with their
pets is different than me with mine. Rosy slips under
the bed sheet and snuggles up against my side. Radar gets
on top of the sheet beside my hip or leg. I guess the
words snuggle and cuddle, even thought they are supposed
to be synonymous, start taking on different meanings to
me when I think about cuddling a snake in comparison to
snuggling up against my four legged family. At that
point I start feeling myself to be more of a snuggle
person than a cuddle person.
My Rosy and my Radar both help me deal with stress. In
fact, I can't imagine life without them. And if other
people find the comfort and contentment in loving their
pets as I find in mine, then it is hard for me to
imagine anyone wanting to live without such a
relationship, even if the animal happens to be a turtle,
a tarantula, or a plant for that matter.