Sitting on my front porch holding one of my many cats, I decided to put to the test what Kerry Pechter had to say about “Pet Therapy” (110). I have already read her essay, “Pet Therapy for Heart and Soul” at least three other times prior to this sitting, but I am more relaxed this time and understand it better that I have any other time. I think that it is because I have the comfort of having my loving, faithful friend sitting here with me. In her essay she talks about pets and the health and well-being of humans.
She claims that, “Pet animals, in short, may affect our health” (111). Pechter even describes how pets may help us live longer. I am a pet-love to all ends, before reading this I didn’t really think too much about it when I would talk to my animals, or just hold them to calm myself when I get upset. Now it has put a new appreciation in my heart for my pets and all animals. Pechter describes in the first six paragraphs of her essay, the relationship between elderly people in a nursing home and the pets the home has adopted. I think that this opens our minds to what she has to say.
Even to people who may not like animals, helping elderly people find happiness and comfort in their later years touches many hearts on a personal level. Most people have an elderly person in their lives that they care about, whether it be a grandparent, parent, aunt, or uncle. I can’t really relate to what the elderly people feel when the animals are around, or how well the animals help those in a nursing home; however, I can relate well when Petcher says, “Pets typically influence the communication that goes on between family members in a normal household” (111).
In my family there are a lot of strains and communication barriers. This was the basis for another personal test of what Pechter had to say. I went into my kitchen earlier this evening to attempt a conversation with my parents about some decision I have recently made. The conversation got very awkward and uncomfortable quickly. It came to the point of me leaving the room, and my parents’ chain smoking their way through a pack of cigarettes.
A few hours later, I asked my parents to come outside; the conversation began as very uncomfortable as it had the first time, but as the very loving and friendly cats started settling around us the mood lightened. We began to talk on a totally new level, even in a happy tone. Pechter was right, in her writing she tells of researchers finding that observing or touching a friendly animal, “…can produce the kind of deep relaxation usually associated with meditation, biofeedback, and hypnosis” (111).
I am confident in saying that the researches that developed this theory did their jobs well, and that Pechter did an outstanding job bringing their work to the public in my opinion. Now I understand the deep connection I feel to my pet, and to comfort I feel when I am with other people when my pets are close by. Petcher captured my attention with the very opening of her writing, by describing the relationships between people and animals. Petcher then made me a believer in “Pet Therapy” (110) by giving evidence and research done by specialist that I could test at home and prove to be true.
I do think that Petcher gave sufficient evidence to support her claim as I have described, I am very excited to try other things she has described with my pets. My close friend has high blood pressure; after reading what Petcher had to say about researchers finding that pets could help with blood pressure, maybe there is more that could help her than just medication. This kind of information could better the lives of many. I am very pleased that Petcher chose to give the information she had.