Few people treat human beings as substitutes for pets, yet
many people treat pets as substitutes for people. Family pets may be
substitutes for missing children, absent partners, missing
siblings or missing family members. We can also help you sort out your
emotions and relationships with pets.
Healing Relationships with Pets
You may feel loved by pets in ways that you may not have found in other relationships. Pets can do wonders for your physical and mental
well-being, and pets can help people who suffer from physical or mental
diseases. Pets can be loyal and friendly when treated well, whether they are sleeping by your feet or walking
by your side.
Pets can give their owners love and loyalty.
A pet can help fulfill your need to care - and provide a sense of belonging
and sharing. Relationships with animals have many of the responsibilities of human
relationships. You can enjoy the emotional rewards of caring for pets.
Caring for animals can improve your health,
reduce anxiety and help you control guilt and stress. Caring for animals can
improve a child's health, social competence and learning. Companion animals
are common in families with children and with people
who want children.
Scientists at the University of New York
at Buffalo studied the effects of the presence of pets on
stress. Their findings were
God-father or Dog-father: Substitutes
Do you grieve for someone?
Many pets are substitutes for children, especially for infertile or childless
couples, or following miscarriages or abortions. Some pets are substitutes
for loving partners. And some people choose pets as substitutes for
friends, after judging other human beings to be less trustworthy.
We help people explore their relationships to
find compassion and understanding. Healed hearts have the
courage, strength and space to love again. If a pet is a substitute for a
missing person - a relationship with a pet can be a profound and
When our dog was killed by a car,
I asked you to help our grieving son. We were surprised when
you suggested a family meeting. In our meeting, you helped us realize that
our dog was:
- For my wife - a substitute for an aborted child
- For my young son - a substitute for his dead
grandmother (big surprise!)
- For my sister - a substitute for a child that she
- For me - a faithful security guard who
could "father" my son
You helped us express our feelings
and appreciate each other's needs.
Our tragedy became a healing for our whole
family and gave us insights into the loving depth of your systemic work. We
are all deeply touched. Rijeka, Croatia
When is a Pet a Substitute?
Love and friendship with pets can enrich lives. Loving pets as substitutes for dead or missing people can also create
relationship chaos and suffering. For example, if a pet is a substitute
for a partner or child, the motivation to enjoy human partnership or
parenthood may drop.
When a pet is a substitute for a missing or dead child, some children may demand that the pet have special treatment.
My veterinarian friend said that dogs
and cats can carry emotional problems of their owners,
and that dog epilepsy is common if their owners have huge nervous tension.
Similar to children, in my opinion. Zvolen, Slovakia
If a pet is a substitute for a partner or a child, your
motivation to create a partnership or a child may drop. We
help people improve their human relationships, enjoy pets as friendly animals
and honor any missing people as a basis for healthy
Sometimes a pet who is a substitute for a person may
exhibit (or predict) characteristics of the person being replaced ... or try to
fulfill some emotional need of the owners, perhaps a need for distraction, a
need to care for a special child or a need to sort out some conflict.
My girlfriend's dog is hyperactive and
has attention problems, although he is a smart dog and understands orders.
Last week I took her dog for a walk alone, and to my surprise, her dog was
absolutely different ... seemed older and calmer. Ostrava, Czech
When a Beloved Pet Dies
When a pet dies or is killed, the trauma can be severe for
people who felt close to the pet. A pet's death, whether by disease, accident
or old age, can create a sense of loss and grief, and the pain can be intense.
Few people seem prepared for suffering the loss of beloved pets.
After losing a loved pet, create a healing space for
grief and pain. Perhaps you can review
your love for your pet. We can
help you replace your suffering with healing.
my dog died, my suffering was unimaginable. I became ill and I wondered
if I would die. We found that my dog was a
sort of replacement for my mother's abortion
before I was born. Once I could grieve my dead (I think) sister, I could
relax about my dog and wish her well in whatever doggy afterlife there
may be. Boston
We can help you identify your needs
and fulfill your desires. We can help you review your memories, fantasies
and disappointments. We help you accept your loss and express gratitude for
whatever blessings your relationship provided. We help you recover the pleasure
of feeling good in your own skin ... a feeling of wellbeing.
Your next Step?
If you lose an animal companion, we can help you through your
feelings of loss, anger and depression. As you gain insight into your
relationship, you can validate your loss, relieve your pain and explore new
possibilities for happiness.
We can help
you work through your grief at your own pace, as you explore your life lessons
that you learned with your animal companion.
Relationships that share love connect you
to your core. These connections amplify the sense of loss that is felt when
a loved one or loved pet leaves or dies.
Contact us for compassionate
Online Life Coaching, Relationship Counseling and Systemic Therapy
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers
All rights reserved.