Category Archives: healing power of pets

The Healing Power of Purr Therapy

By Julia Williams

I have nothing against medical doctors. They’ve certainly played a role in my care since birth, and have even helped me a time or two. But there are times when I opt for a more unconventional mode of healing, one I’ve taken to calling “Purr Therapy” for lack of a better term. Sometimes, Purr Therapy is all I need to cure whatever ails me. Whether I suffer from a physical, mental or emotional malady, Purr Therapy can miraculously take me through the illness and into perfect health.

What is this strange healing power I call Purr Therapy? Well, it’s not some mumbo-jumbo snake-oil tactic, I assure you. Purr Therapy is simply believing in and allowing the natural healing power that my cats have. Though some might dismiss this notion as fallacy, the miraculous healing powers of pets have been well documented by doctors, veterinarians and animal lovers alike. And truly, just about everyone who has a close bond with their pet has experienced this natural healing ability firsthand. Purr Therapy – and its companion Wag Therapy – can be holistic complements to your wellbeing regime.

Purr Therapy allows my body’s own natural healing ability to shine, thereby creating health and wellness in every cell. Purr Therapy centers me, lifts my spirits and makes me feel glad to be alive. Who can feel sad or sick with a cat lying on their chest so close to their heart, purring like mad? Certainly not I. Who could allow pain to diminish their happiness when there is a pet nearby, so willing to give and receive love? Oh…not I, that is for sure. Purr Therapy has the miraculous ability to make everything seem all right, even when it isn’t. In fact, I think Purr Therapy can be a thousand – no, a million! – times more effective than any anti-depressant medication.

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Do Pets Make the World a Better Place?

By Julia Williams

If you’ve ever shared a special bond with a pet, that question probably seems a bit silly. Of course the world is a better place because of pets, you’d say. As a lifelong animal lover, I wholeheartedly agree. However, I also know there are people who have no use for pets. Just as I can’t fathom why anyone would ever want to live without a pet, the non-pet people don’t really understand how humans can form strong bonds with animals, or why they would want to. I suppose the universe is big enough for all kinds, but just between us, I am eternally thankful that I’m a pet person. My world is absolutely a better place because of my pets, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am the polar opposite of the cat-hating boyfriend featured on Must Love Cats, who demanded that the bedroom be a “cat free zone.” I have very few cat free zones in my home. For sanitary reasons, I do try to make the kitchen counters and table cat free zones, but Rocky challenges that notion daily. I don’t have cat free zones because my home is their home too, and they should be allowed to live in it.

I certainly could have been – but sadly wasn’t – the person who came up with the funny saying, “If you don’t want pet hair on your clothes, stay off my furniture!” True, this policy of letting my pets sleep wherever they feel like it does present some moments of embarrassment. I’ll never forgot the day a visitor turned to leave and I discovered he was wearing what amounted to “half a cat” on the seat of his pants. It was mortifying in the moment, but I laugh about it now. I came to realize that if he was a pet person, he’d understand, and if he wasn’t…c’est la vie. I don’t much care.

“I could not imagine my life without pets” was a recurring comment in response to my article “My Best Friends All Wear Fur.” Nor could I imagine life without my cats. Well, actually I can imagine it, and it’s certainly not the life I would want for myself. I find that no matter what might be wrong with my life “in the moment,” a head-bump from my heart cat Annabelle can make it right again in an instant. I think I love her exuberant kitty head-bumps more than anything else on earth, and I simply can’t imagine life without them.

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My Best Friends All Wear Fur

By Julia Williams

I think if I were to write a book about my relationship with cats, that title would be “purrfect.” I have never been a social butterfly or a people person. Although I have family and good friends that I love dearly, and acquaintances whose company I enjoy, these relationships are judiciously chosen. There are only a handful of humans that I trust explicitly and feel deeply connected to. Animals are a different matter altogether. I’ve felt a strong connection to animals since childhood, and as each year passes my feelings of love toward these amazing creatures grows deeper. All of my best friends DO wear fur, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I know there are people who consider that quite sad – hence all the jokes about Crazy Cat Ladies – but it’s not sad to me in the slightest.

We all experience life in different ways, and sometimes we don’t even really know why certain things appeal to us more than others; they just do. I like who I am and who I love, or I would do something to change it. I may live with cats instead of other humans, but I’m never lonely. I don’t have anyone telling me what to do, when to clean or what I should eat, and I like it that way. Um, wait…that’s not exactly true. My cat Rocky often tells me I shouldn’t eat that chicken breast or piece of fish and should give it to him instead. I just laugh, pour him a bowl of FELIDAE kibble and tell him to get over it.  

Recently I’ve been thinking a great deal about my pets, about how much they mean to me and how thankful I am that they’re sharing this journey with me. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at my cats and smile, or laugh at their crazy antics. Every day I get to experience the feeling of a heart that is full of love, and I feel blessed to have such wonderful companions. That they happen to wear fur coats is inconsequential, really. Love comes in many forms, and if we have an abundance of it in our life, then we are fortunate indeed.

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The Health Benefits of Dog Ownership


By Anna Lee

We love our dogs and they love us. As responsible pet owners we do the best we can for our furry friends and they repay us in kind. We also know that laughter is the best medicine and dogs are very funny. Therefore, it makes sense that owning a dog is healthy for us! I am extremely lucky because Abby is a funny dog. She also knows how to melt my heart.

We know that pets enrich our lives. Recent scientific studies have begun to pin-point the ways that companion animals improve our minds and our bodies. Beyond walks and games of fetch, eager faces at the end of the day and many kisses, pets provide documented health benefits.

A 1993 report in the Harvard Health Letter explains that companion animals have more consistent behavior compared to our human companions and that they offer unconditional affection. The effect is lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety levels for pet owners. We repay our pets with love and attention. More than 60 percent of pets receive “as much attention as children,” according to the 1994 American Animal Hospital Association pet owner survey. In my house Abby receives 100% since we have no children.

Laughter has been proven to reduce stress, increase muscle flexion, lower blood pressure and boost immune function by raising T-cell levels. Laughter also releases the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins, and increases emotional well being while decreasing feelings of depression. Dogs are natural born comedians; mine is and your dog mostly like is also. Abby makes my husband I laugh on a continual basis. With recent studies suggesting that depression is more deadly than many other chronic diseases, spending some time with a canine goof-ball might be the best health insurance available. If I am in a bad mood and Abby does something typically Abby, the bad mood lifts away!

Exercise – In a Columbia University Study participants lost an average of fourteen pounds when they started walking the dog for just 20 minutes a day five times a week. Dog owners are more likely than non-dog owners to walk regularly and longer. Taking responsibility for someone else’s well being is more compelling than looking out for your own health. I agree with that totally. I put off going to the doctor myself, but if Abby looks a little ‘off’ I call the vet instantly for an appointment.

Socializing – When we walk our dogs in the park or around the block people are more apt to speak to us. Dog lovers will naturally start up conversations. When we socialize with others we feel good about ourselves. We were on vacation a few years back in Chattanooga and visited Rock City. This is a huge mountain with all kinds of fun and interesting things to look at and squeeze through on the climb to the top. At the summit is a fantastic view of several states. That day there were many families with kids who had no desire to look at a view.

We sat down to relax and within seconds were surrounded by kids all wanting to pet Abby. Just watching their little faces made us feel better and Abby certainly didn’t pass up one kiss or pat on the head! Finally, parents realized the kids were having a better time with our dog because they were all on vacation and they missed their dogs back home. Rock City is pet friendly – check their website for more information on a great attraction! (www.seerockcity.com)

Sleep – I don’t know about other dog owners, but I know feel confident at night knowing my dog is in the same room snoozing – with one ear and one eye open! Our quality of sleep has a big effect on health. Lack of sleep has been linked to some cancers, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Now if I could just get Abby to sleep later than 6 AM I would be very happy.

All of the health benefits of canine companionship are good for us. Better brain chemistry equals better sleep. More exercise makes for less depression. Better sleep eases mood problems. And wet sloppy kisses can mend a broken heart!

Dogs are good for our health! Since they provide us such a beneficial service we need to make sure we take care of them in return. What better way to take care of your best friend than to feed your pet a premium food like CANIDAE?

Read more articles by Anna Lee

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Forget Laughter. Pets are the Best Medicine!


By Julia Williams

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Now, I have nothing against laughter and its genuine, proven ability to heal people of emotional and physical maladies. Laughter has given my own mental state a boost many times. But pets are the real “Super Healers” in my book.

My beloved cats are more than just good friends, great listeners and remarkable teachers; they’re powerful medicine no matter what ails me. They’re the glue that holds my chaotic life together. In times of deep sorrow and depression, they’ve even been the reason I got out of bed in the morning.

According to a 2009 survey by the American Pet Products Association, 62% of all U.S. households have a pet. What then, is so magical about this thing we call “animal companionship?” How can our lives be transformed by the loving presence of a pet? How do pets help people? Let me count the ways.

1. Pets give unconditional love and acceptance whereas very often, society does not. This is especially critical for those who suffer from low self esteem and self-worth, and those who are deemed “different” or “odd” for physical or mental reasons. For some of these people, a pet is their only friend.

2. Pets are natural born teachers. Watching, caring for and interacting with pets can help people of all ages (especially children) learn to be responsible, empathetic, loyal, loving and kind human beings.

3. Pets reduce the detrimental effects that stress, loneliness, fear and worry have on our bodies. Petting a dog or cat has also been shown to reduce blood pressure.

4. People who have been hurt by others sometimes put up a “wall” so it won’t happen again. Loving (and being loved by) a pet can help those with “closed hearts” learn to trust other people again and open themselves up to human relationships.

5. Dogs can help their overweight owners get in shape, shed pounds and live healthier lives. Most breeds require regular walks and/or play time at the dog park, which motivates responsible pet owners to get some exercise of their own.

6. Pets don’t care what kind of car we drive, how big our house is, or what we wear. They’ll be our friend and love us no matter what our social status is.

7. Pets give the elderly a sense of purpose and much-needed companionship.

8. Pets can warn people of danger; for instance, if there is a fire in the house, a burglar or other intruder. I have three “watchcats” in my home – I know instantly when someone is approaching my house, because I see them making a beeline for the bedroom.

9. Pets can help us get to know another person’s true nature, since there is a direct correlation between how people treat animals and how they treat each other. Kindness to animals speaks volumes about a human being’s character. Any form of animal cruelty, on the other hand, should be a giant red flag and a relationship deal breaker.

10. Some believe pets save lives by warning their owners of health issues. Dogs have been known to “smell” cancer before it’s detected by medical means, and some have a sixth sense that can alert their owners to an oncoming seizure.

11. Pets can reduce or alleviate depression and anxiety disorders. Winston Churchill suffered from depression, which he called “the black dog.” But for many, a black dog (or any other color) might be exactly what they need to help them get well.

12. Studies have shown that owning a dog increases survival rates in patients who have suffered cardiac arrest. This is attributed to the increased physical activity of walking, grooming and petting the dog, which strengthens the heart, improves blood circulation, and slows the loss of bone tissue.

13. Pets help the blind, paraplegic and other handicapped individuals perform everyday tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. Although assistance dogs are not classified as pets by law, close bonds almost always form between them and those they help.

12. Pets inspire us to be better human beings. When we see the unfailing way that pets give their love and devotion to us and demand so little in return, it makes us want to be kinder, more generous and more appreciative.

13. The biggest reason that pets are the best medicine for body, mind and soul? It’s simple really– they make us happy. What could possibly be more therapeutic than that?

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Animals as Healers


By Julia Williams

Dogs are often called “man’s best friend,” but given the proven healing power of pets, I think all animals qualify for the title. Any human who’s ever shared a close bond with an animal has undoubtedly witnessed their natural healing abilities firsthand. Be it physical, mental or emotional healing, our pets can greatly improve our lives.

There have been many reports in recent years of these remarkable healing agents — of dogs who can “smell” cancer before any medical diagnosis has been made; dogs who can alert their owners to seizures before they happen; horses who help handicapped riders develop balance, strength, and confidence.

Cats and dogs are frequently used as “therapy animals” for seniors in nursing homes because they provide love and attention to those who might be feeling lonely, sad or forgotten. Many prisons now have dog training programs, which gives the inmates a sense of purpose, and helps them deal with the depression, anxiety and tension caused by their incarceration.

The Many Health Benefits of Pets

These natural healers with wagging tails and furry coats enhance our lives in so many ways, whether we are conscious of it or not. The peaceful purring of a cat or the friendly nuzzle from a canine can calm our frazzled nerves. Stroking their soft fur is therapeutic for both body and soul; it can lower blood pressure and reduce stress, while helping us to open our hearts to love. Walking the dog and playing games with our pets provides beneficial exercise for our bodies; it also lifts our spirits, and provides a much-needed respite from the stress and strain of busy lives.

Pets can improve the quality of our life and positively influence us in so many ways. They inspire optimistic thoughts in those who are disheartened, and gently remind us how important it is to nurture not only ourselves, but others. In his book, The Healing Power of Pets, Dr. Marty Becker writes, “Our beloved pets are life vitamins fortifying us against invisible threats: like seat belts cradling against life’s crashes; like alarm systems giving us a sense of security. Taken together, the healing power of pets is powerful medicine indeed.”

Our pets also seem to have an uncanny ability to recognize when we are suffering, whether it’s with a physical ailment or emotional distress. They also seem able to know exactly where we hurt and may concentrate their healing attention to that part of the body.

I’ll never forget one particular healing experience I had with my own three cats. I was incapacitated by a stomach flu so brutal that at times I almost wanted death to release me from my pain. I somehow managed to fall asleep, and when I awoke the first thing I saw was Annabelle. She wasn’t lying down nor was she asleep; she was sitting on my pillow, gazing at me intently. Mickey and Rocky were lying close to my body, one on each side. Now, these cats almost never sleep on my bed during the day, yet here they were, and I keenly felt that they were keeping watch over me. I smiled at Bella weakly through my pain; I knew then that I would fight to live, if for no other reason than to be with these earth-bound angels for one more day.

It’s not just our family pets who have this innate healing ability, either –virtually any animal can serve as a healer to human beings. Both wild and domesticated animals can sense changes in the human body and the mind. People who have encounters with wild animals –such as dolphins and manatees –have experienced amazing, life-changing healing. Watching the silly antics of a wild squirrel in the park can provide gentle healing through laughter. Observing the industrious nature of ants and bees can heal through inspiration. And seeing a butterfly or hummingbird float gracefully through the garden can remind us to slow down, relax and enjoy the simple pleasures life brings.

Animals truly are the most remarkable healers, and they ask so little of us in return. I am honored by their presence in my world, because I know they make it a much better place to be.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.