Bring Your Pet To Treatment
“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.” -- Samuel Butler, Notebooks, 1912
Morningside Recovery is one of the few places to offer clients the opportunity to bring their companion animals with them. In many cases, the presence of pets provides a sense of normalcy and reassurance to clients. Dogs and cats can help clients laugh and create a sense of trust. With lack of trust being a benchmark of many addictions and personality disorders, this trust with a companion animal can be vital for clients. Companion animals can potentially develop and restore trust and thus make a huge difference in recovery. Perhaps most of all, a pet provides unconditional love and unconditional friendship. As clients progress through their phases of treatment, pets help clients cope with many of the overwhelming restored emotions and feelings.
“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” Acceptance and non-judgment are perhaps the two most important gifts that animals offer. The majority of the companion animals that clients bring to Morningside are dogs. Several studies have proven the powerful effects that dogs can have in reducing the stress, anxiety, and other mood disorders. These therapeutic qualities have a long and well-documented history, and a pet’s love can help reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, moderate the effects of stress, and build a sense of empathy. Most importantly, these qualities incorporate into the recovering client’s treatment.
A companion animal can help to facilitate a bond and sometimes override the client’s initial defenses by offering a talking point. More generally, a relaxed atmosphere develops with pets present, resulting in a bond between clients. Caring for a pet shifts focus to something outside of the individual, and pet ownership helps clients stay physically active, reducing the risk of depression that often haunts early recovery.