My son had his tonsils out last week, as well as a broken nose repair. His recovery has been rough, as you can imagine. We are doing all we can to keep his pain in check and his discomfort at bay. Pain meds are working, most of the time. Ice packs and popsicles offer some relief. He has better medicine though.
He is receiving a daily, constant dose of Vitamin Fur. The kind of medicine that can only be administered by someone of the four legged variety. In his case, his nurses are two tiny chihuahuas with a penchant for warm blankets. The moment we came home from surgery, their work began. They immediately assessed the situation and reported to work, burrowing into the blankets and cuddling up tight. They have been careful around his face and neck, no rowdy business or roughhousing allowed.
The idea of animals taking a role in healing is not a new one. It is a common sight to see therapy animals working with purpose at hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. According NPR, the benefits of animals in the medical world dates back 150 years! Many studies have show that petting a dog can lower blood pressure. Some studies also suggest that there is a direct link between interacting with animals and the release of oxytocin, which has powerful effects on healing and the body’s ability to grow new cells.
Animals are excellent at knowing when you are ill or in physical or emotional pain. Have a rotten day at work? You can expect that your fur companions will be stuck to you like glue when you get home. Down with a bad case of the plague? Your cat is going to lay on your chest until you feel better. The empathy of our animal companions is endless. We are so lucky and blessed to share our homes and lives with them.
So for now, I will keep slinging the pain meds and pudding, and leave the heavy lifting to the dogs.