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Do you have a pet therapist?

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Do You Have a Pet Therapist?

Pet therapy or animal-assisted therapy utilizes trained animals and handlers to achieve specific
physical, social, cognitive, and emotional goals with patients ( We may have
witnessed these interactions firsthand in the hospital setting, nursing home, library readings
with children, or even during crises. However, have you ever considered how much your
household pet does for your well being on a daily basis? It maybe your dog getting you up to go
for a daily walk even if you don’t feel like it, therefore keeping you physically active. Maybe it’s
your cat snuggling you just when you feel lonely. It maybe the peacefulness of the aquarium
glow and the way the fish greet you when you feed them. These are just a few examples of
some of the benefits of how pets can greatly impact our lives.

During the pandemic many people sought out companionship from a pet. According to an
article written by the Washington Post (January 6, 2021), the national pet adoption rate was up
34% over the same time a year earlier (Covid -19 Impact Report) and that the last time the D.C.
animal welfare official saw such a rise of pet adoptions was after 9/11. This goes to show many
people sought comfort in an animal friend.

Pet therapy is one of the most widely used treatments of care inside one’s home. Our personal
pets can greatly improve our health by decreasing our blood pressure and cholesterol,
decreasing our loneliness, and increasing our physical activity. However, having a pet is not
right for everyone and finding the right pet for you and your family is also just as important. The
CDC article Healthy Pets, Healthy People (last reviewed April 15, 2019) discusses many of the
benefits of owning a pet. This article also elaborates on picking the right pet for you and your
family as well as staying healthy while owning a pet with special considerations for the elderly,
young and pregnant populations.

Know that opening your family and hearts to a pet can be a renewing and life changing
experience, not only for the pet, but for you as well that provides great physical and mental

Shelters (just a few of many)
Friends of Homeless Animals 
Loudoun County Animal Shelter 
SPCA of Northern VA 
Homeless Animal Rescue Team- HART - 
The Cats at Longstreet—find them on Facebook

Pet Therapy Resources
Heeling House, Sterling VA
K-9 Caring Angels, Manassas, VA

About Pets & People | Healthy Pets, Healthy People | CDC
During coronavirus, animal shelters don’t have enough dogs for the demand - The Washington Post
Pet Therapy |

Posted by Sandy Kurtyka with

Resources on Fear

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Resources for Fear and Faith Series


Types of Fear: 

Two ways to look at fear:   

The (Only) 5 Fears We All Share:   

Anxiety vs. Fear: 

Fear is Physical. Fear is experienced in your mind, but it triggers a strong physical reaction in your body. As soon as you recognize fear, your amygdala (small organ in the middle of your brain) goes to work. It alerts your nervous system, which sets your body's fear response into motion.

Existential crises: 

Existential dread: 

Existential crisis: 

What Is Fear?: 


Fears, Phobias and Anxiety

"The potential effects of chronic fear on physical health include headaches turning into migraines, muscle aches turning into fibromyalgia, body aches turning into chronic pain, and difficulty breathing turning into asthma," said Moller. Nov 11, 2017

Fears and Phobias:   

Social Anxiety Disorder: 

Living with Social Anxiety: 

Social Phobia:   


Books to consider:

A Death Lived by Martha Calihan MD

Its Ok That You Are Not Ok by Megan Devine

Healing After Loss by Martha Hickman

Tear Drop Soup by Chuck DeKlyen/Pat Schwiebert*

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst*

Bearing the Unbearable by Joanne Cacciatore

Grief One Day At a Time by Alan Wolfelt

Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie*

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman***

Leading the Way by Meagan Moody*

The Next Place by Warren Hanson

My Beautiful Broken Shell by Carol Hamblet Adams *especially for children

Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley

The Blessing by Gary Smalley and John Trent


Additional Resources: 

Is faith the opposite of fear?

Faith is a choice and a gift from God; it isn't something you can really feel, though it can lead to feelings such as assurance and confidence in the Lord....Faith is not the opposite of fear. Because faith is a choice and fear is a feeling, they can't be opposites. May 25, 2020

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." "Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the LORD, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand." Jul 7, 2020

Biblical Counseling - Resources on Anxiety, Fear, Panic Attacks, and Worry: 

How to Overcome Fear, Anxiety, and Worry: 

10 Scriptures on Fear: 

Moving Beyond a Fear-Based Faith: 

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