Last week I was flipping through the channels and caught the tail end of this MSNBC segment that follows up with a few dogs that were once prized fighters in Michael Vick's pack. We've already seen how well Leo has turned out through intensive training, and now we get a glimpse at the lives of Lucas and Georgia, who are being rehabilitated in California and Utah. Although Pit Bulls are generally stereotyped and given a bad rep from horrible stories (like the Vick case) and irresponsible pet parenting, these pooches prove that no matter what your past looks like, there's always room for love.
Obviously, I love animals! And I believe that they contain a special ability to help us heal – whether it's dogs, cats, or even horses! This time, our pony pals are taking the spotlight by helping disabled children, especially one boy stricken with extremely rare disease in the UK. The disease is called Chromosome 8 deletion (no super scientific name since there are only five cases in the world) that hinders a patient's ability to walk and talk. So far, a program offering "Hippotherapy" has been able to help 3-year-old Dyfan Wynne learn how to do just that!
Being offered at the Clwyd Special Riding Centre for the Disabled in the UK, Hippotherapy is a form of therapeutic horseback riding that allows special-needs children to learn how to use their limbs to sit, kneel, stand, and walk. Dyfan arrived at the center unable to perform these basic tasks, but after six months, he is joining in on vaulting competitions, and is even considering training for Dressage!
Not only are pets great companions, we now know what good therapy having a pet can be. Petting our furry friends, or even just watching our fishies swim around their tank can lower our blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack. But as much as pets benefit humans, I can't help but wonder how we can help them in return. I know from experience that pets can get stressed and anxious too, showing it by tearing up your couch cushions, or ripping to shreds their fave toy in five seconds flat. Now, a recent report says there's an easy way to return all the healthful favors.
A study conducted in 2000 shows that the sounds of a harp aid in lowering the blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety in pets that were recouping at a Florida vet hospital, leading us to believe that classical music could be as calming to Fido as it is to humans.
While I don't personally leave tunes on for North to chill to while I'm at work, he does get treated to the soothing classical sounds when he's staying at our fave Pet Camp and at our local Wag Hotel. Now I just might add a few classical tunes to our road trip soundtrack! Until then, I'm curious to know: do any of you leave music on for your pets while you're out?