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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 (encyclopedia.com). 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
benefits.

Shelters (just a few of many)
Friends of Homeless Animals http://foha.org 
Loudoun County Animal Shelter http://www.loudoun.gov/animals 
SPCA of Northern VA http://spcanova.org 
Homeless Animal Rescue Team- HART - http://hart90.org 
The Cats at Longstreet—find them on Facebook

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

Resources
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 | Encyclopedia.com

Posted by Sandy Kurtyka with

Selfcare During A Pandemic – A Candid Look Inside A Parent’s Life

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When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit early Spring this year, although the seriousness of the medical side of the situation caused many of us to worry, others (including myself) also enjoyed how time almost stopped for a moment. We had nowhere to go. Our families were all together. No sporting events to run to every night, family meals prepared together, and we had a lot of game and movie nights. Now let’s fast forward that to eight months later. We are not quarantined anymore, but we are not free to live our lives as we did a year ago. We are in this limbo of wanting freedom, but still being in fear of this virus that lingers among us. And for most of us, it means we are still all at home. Working from home and schooling from home, extracurricular activities from home, and church from home. Home is now not a place for rest, but a full functioning business. As a parent you now are “On” twenty- four hours a day. In between your work calls, you are checking in on your school age child’s web meeting, and coordinating social distancing playdates for your preschooler, while making lunch and folding laundry. There is no more down time once the kiddos are in school to take a power nap, have lunch with a friend or even go to the gym. So, the biggest question is how do you do selfcare in a time of quarantine? How do you score some alone time for self-reflection? Well, most answers people will give for selfcare are easy. Get exercise, take a nice bath, read a book, go for a walk, meditate, read scripture, talk with some friends, or watch a favorite movie. Basically, do something you love, that makes you feel good that is for you! This is all great and good, however from one parent to another this is not going to work unless you do two things:

  1. Schedule it on the calendar (it’s a meeting for yourself)-if you don’t do this it will get pushed aside for other matters of the household or it will get interrupted!
  2. Get your partner on your side- Have someone willing to give you the time you need to step away and you do the same for them- everyone needs some “me” time!

Taking time to take care of yourself will help you take better care of everyone in your family! Make sure to set up your appointment today!

Posted by Sandy Kurtyka with

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