A new book, When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them, is a compilation of uplifting first-person narratives about how dogs have saved people’s lives. Each of the 36 portraits in this book features the human subject with their canine companion and is accompanied by short text.
The Power of Unconditional Love
Unconditional love is the idea of loving someone without expecting anything in return. It’s often associated with familial relationships, but it can also be found in romantic love.
Relationships can go through tough times and it’s important to be able to communicate to your partner that you will always be there for them, no matter what happens.
The best way to show them that you love them unconditionally is to do things that make them feel special. It can be something as simple as making their favorite dinner or doing the dishes for them.
When you have unconditional love for someone, you never worry about whether or not they’ll love you back. You know that they will always have your back, no matter what.
The Healing Power of Animals
Across the world, people are experiencing the healing power of animals. From the elderly who feel less lonely to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, more and more people are discovering the life-changing benefits of interacting with animals.
One of the most amazing healing abilities is that animals can heal themselves of illness and injury if given enough time to recover. A new study found that wild animals that are sick or injured have the ability to regenerate their own tissues.
For instance, a little-known African spiny mouse can regenerate the skin and spinal cord of a paralysed animal, an incredible feat. The discovery has implications for medical research.
The Healing Power of Pets
Pets bring love, comfort, and support to anyone who has a need for them. They help ease loneliness and improve mood, promote exercise and playfulness, and even lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
They are a natural mood enhancer, reducing stress and anxiety, and raising serotonin and dopamine levels. They also decrease cortisol, a hormone linked to depression and aging, and increase the feel-good brain chemical oxytocin, which makes you feel more optimistic and relaxed.
In fact, pets may actually boost your immune system! One study found that people who petted a live dog had an increased amount of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that helps protect the body against infections and illness.
They can also help those who are recovering from addiction, as pets are a great way to stay calm and focus on the present moment. They can also help us let go of feelings of anger and resentment, which are often a difficult part of the process of healing.
The Healing Power of Pet Therapy
Throughout history, animals have been used to aid health and healing. They help lower blood pressure and stress, decrease pain, increase feelings of happiness and overall well-being, improve heart and lung function, speed up recoveries, and reduce feelings of isolation.
Today, animal therapy is a growing practice used to raise spirits in nursing homes and assisted living facilities; to soothe terminal patients; to support veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; and to benefit children with special needs, like autism.
People whose mental health conditions are causing them anxiety or depression, for example, can find relief by petting a pet, which triggers the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin hormones. These hormones cause relaxation and lower symptoms of sadness and depression, according to UCLA Health.
Therapy dogs are a staple of the growing pet-therapy movement, but other animals can also be incorporated into programs. For example, horses and cats have been shown to be excellent companions for people with autism and developmental disabilities.