The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
Classifying animals as emotional support animals has long been permitted under antidiscrimination laws, allowing owners to take them into restaurants and shops or to residential buildings that have no-pet policies. To demonstrate the need for an emotional support animal, the animal’s owner needs a letter from a mental health professional.
But their presence on airplanes is increasingly facing a backlash from flight attendants, passengers with allergies and owners of service animals, like Seeing Eye dogs, who say that airplane cabins have become crowded with uncaged animals who have no business being there. The Department of Transportation does not require airlines to keep data on emotional support animals. One that does, JetBlue expects more than 20,000 emotional support and service animals this year.
This is an NPR piece about the value of pets in healing and caring.
"Those of us who own pets know they make us happy. But a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier. That helps explain the increasing use of animals — dogs and cats mostly, but also birds, fish and even horses — in settings ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to schools, jails and mental institutions."
He was the greatest companion a person could have. He was ideal company on long walks in the woods, and kept my feet warm at night. When I got scared or lonely, or felt the weight of the world bearing down, he stayed present with me, offering comfort and love in an endless and effortless way. Aussie looked at me as if I were the greatest human on earth.
If ever there was a true caregiver it was Austin. I think he felt his job in life was to love me. He couldn't have done a better job. A few days before he passed, I had the chance to thank him for the eleven years of love, comfort, and healing that he provided.
Here's what I learned from Austin. 1. We all need to seen, truly seen for who we are. We need to know that others are happy to see us. 2. We need to be trusted. Aussie always reminded me of my own inner goodness. 3. Caregivers go the extra mile. They show they care by going out of their way to do the right thing, not to prove anything but because it is a privilege to love. 4. Taking space when we need it is a good thing, it allows us to come back and be present, being present is the main ingredient of true caregiving. 5. Take lots of long walks, there is healing in the woods.
Mostly Aussie taught me this. Love is the essence of what we are, by loving him, I became more of who I am. What more is there to say? What more is there to do but pass it on.
Thanks, Aussie, I will never forget you, buddy.
Author Bio: Rebecca Walsh is a therapist and special education teacher living in Lenox, Massachusetts. She is the mother of two grown children and is looking forward to being a foster parent in the near future. Also a professional cook, and budding artist, Rebecca sees her work as an opportunity to pass on to others the abundance of well-being, healing and wisdom others have shown her. Rebecca's Email.