There is no disputing the positive effects of coming home each day to a wagging tail. A beloved pet offers unconditional love, providing their humans with feelings of abundant wellbeing and joy.
When considering residential treatment for a substance use disorder, one of the most difficult barriers to overcome is the unbearable thought of leaving one’s pet behind. We form tight bonds with our animals, so the idea of an extended period without their daily company is unthinkable.
At Ken Seeley Communities, we understand the important health and wellness benefits associated with pet ownership, thereby establishing a pet-friendly policy for our program. Showing up for rehab is a difficult hurdle for many. By allowing our clients to bring along their pets, this obstacle to getting needed treatment is removed. We also understand that the pet will actually become an inherent part of the client’s healing process.
Heading off to a pet friendly drug rehab can be a source of anxiety for many. The anticipation of going through detox and then spending weeks away from home and work can be anxiety-provoking, at the very least. While there is no easy way to get through addiction treatment, the process can be made more edifying by having one’s pet along for the journey.
The healing power of pets is well known, and animal-assisted therapy is not a new concept. Using the presence of animals to provide comfort, distraction, and stress relief for individuals recovering from a variety of physical and mental wellness conditions is a time-honored practice. In recent years, this concept is being adapted to addiction recovery, where multiple benefits have been identified.
There is ample clinical evidence of the psychological and physical benefits attributed to pet ownership. A recent meta-analysis that reviewed 17 sources of data decisively highlights the value of pet ownership for individuals struggling with a mental wellness disorder. The studies overwhelmingly point to the positive influence a pet can have on one’s mental wellness. In fact, the co-author of the meta-study, Dr. Kelly Rushton, concludes, “We feel that pet ownership has a valuable contribution to mental wellness, so should be incorporated into individual care plans of patients.”
A nationwide cohort study out of Sweden studied the health effects of owning a dog. The study results found a relationship between dog ownership and a reduction in cardiovascular disease. Other health benefits associated with pet ownership, according to the Centers of Disease Control include:
A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that petting animals induces serotonin production, especially when petting dogs. Serotonin can help stave off depression. Other mental wellness benefits of pet ownership include:
If you do not own a pet, but want to experience the benefits of being around animals in addiction recovery, there are other options available. For example, you can volunteer at an animal shelter. Spending a few hours a week at an animal shelter allows you to mingle with the animals while also helping to match an animal with a prospective new owner.
Equine therapy is another excellent option for experiencing positive effects of animals in addiction recovery. This involves assisting in the care of horses at an equestrian center that offers this therapy. You will be involved with grooming and exercising the horses, which can provide positive self-esteem, as well as a sense of accountability to the horse’s wellbeing.
If your neighbors have dogs, offer to help walk the dogs on occasion, or join the neighbor on dog walks. These 20-30 minute excursions provide many benefits, including exercise, getting outside in the fresh air, and socializing.
Volunteer for an animal rescue organization. These groups abound in every metropolitan area, offering plenty of opportunities to help care for the animals, foster an animal at home, or to help them be adopted at pet adoption events in the community.
Contact Ken Seeley Communities for more information about the pet requirements for admissions at 844-230-4911.
One-time Fee of $500.00 with the Admission of a Pet