A Therapist Called Bonnie
When we looked into adopting a retired greyhound we were told that we would probably not choose our hound, they would choose us, and so it was with Bonnie. Whereas the first two dogs we saw were completely indifferent to our presence, Bonnie made a bee line for us, wagging her tail and excited to meet her new humans. We were well and truly smitten.
There had been a break of six months since losing Topsy and whilst having no dog meant we could come and go without a second thought, and not have to factor in regular walks, feeding, vet-trips, insurance and so on, we missed that doggy face and waggy tail to greet us in the morning and keep us company through the day.
At this point you may ask why am I writing about greyhounds in a hypnotherapy blog. It’s a good question and the reason is one that many dog owners would find themselves in agreement with. Dogs, and indeed many other animal companions are, one way or another, our personal therapists.
Love and Affection
Whatever is going on, however many distractions or challenges there may be, Bonnie adores us. She is pleased to see us when we come in, however long she’s been waiting. Throughout the day she comes and says hello at regular intervals, checking in, giving us a quick nuzzle with her cold wet pointy nose.
Bonnie wants to spend time with us, whether it’s lying by the fire on cold winter evenings, or snuggling on the sofa to watch television, or jumping into the car to go further afield for a new adventure.
Whatever the weather, whatever else is going on, we must walk Bonnie and we are all fitter for the effort. Everyone knows that exercise is good for you and that walking is good exercise. Getting out in the fresh air has stress reducing benefits as does stopping to chat with other dog owners in the community.
A listening ear
Occasionally, if life is fraught, I will take Bonnie out somewhere quiet and tell her what’s on my mind. Even if she doesn’t seem to hear, and certainly she can’t talk back, I find it helpful to ‘set out my stall’ aloud when dealing with a problem. Articulating problems, for me often produces the answers I am seeking so that I can return home with new ideas and greater resolve.
It has been widely reported that there is something about stroking and petting a warm furry creature which produces endorphins in abundance, calming down stress and anxiety. Bonnie loves being fussed by her family, so I think she gets plenty back too.
When we have a pet we are totally responsible for their health and wellbeing. Bonnie needs to know that we will be up in the morning to let her out, that we will feed her and walk her, or take her to the vet if she feels unwell. She has put her trust in us and over the year since we brought her into our home, that trust has forged a strong bond.
So why do I say that Bonnie is like our personal therapist? Because, like a good therapist, she helps us recognise our basic human needs, because she requires a commitment from us to attend to her regularly and take responsibility, and because, no matter what happens, her relationship towards us is unconditional - she will do her best for us and she will never judge us.
For more information on adopting greyhounds: https://www.greyhoundhomer.org.uk/
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