For individuals who are living with a disability, having a pet can be a huge help. Some are specially-trained emotional support animals, while others are simply loving pets that provide comfort and company to those who need it most. Some pets can be trained to complete physical tasks that are too difficult for their human companions, such as opening doors or carrying shopping baskets.
Whatever your needs are, there’s sure to be a pet for you. It’s important to make sure your pet’s needs are met as well, however, by giving him lots of attention and care. This begins the moment you bring him home, meaning you’ll need a good plan for keeping him happy and healthy. Bonding time is especially important for support animals in order to keep a connection that will last a lifetime.
Here are a few of the best tips on how you and your support animal can take care of one another. Guest blogger Ashley Taylor of disabledparents.org shares some great information here.
Form the Bond
As soon as you bring your pet home, the bonding should begin. Clear your schedule as much as possible so you can play with your new pet and let him assimilate to his new home. Allow him to explore his surroundings and, if possible, only have immediate family there when he arrives. Keep things calm and conversational, and let him meet everyone at his own pace. This will set the tone for your relationship and will give him a sense of trust, which is imperative when it comes to support animals.
Pets can help you stay social and active, which is important for many individuals who are living with a disability. You might visit a local dog park for a walk after dinner, or join local events that include pets. Emotional support animals can be extremely beneficial when it comes to loneliness, but it’s helpful to get out and spend time with other people as well. Talk to your doctor about which exercises are best for your needs and which ones you should stay away from so that you and your pet will stay safe, especially during colder months or when the weather is inclement.
Pet-Proof Your Home
Many animals will explore their new home eagerly, so it’s important to make sure each area is safe and free of trip-hazards, toxic plants or foods such as chocolate, and exposed wires or cords that might look like fun chew toys. Take a look at the outside of your home as well, especially if your pet will be spending a lot of time there. The yard should ideally be fenced in to keep him safe, and should be free of any rocks or small items that could damage his paws. For more tips on how to get started, click here.
All new pets, like children, need a bit of guidance so they can understand the rules. Even those that have been specially trained as emotional support animals may need to learn how things will work in your home. Go over basic commands to ensure he knows how to sit, heel, and stay, and make sure your family members understand the rules as well. Keeping everyone on the same page will ensure that your pet doesn’t become confused.
If you need help with service dog training, Pro-Train is a top pick for people with disabilities. Founder and owner Mark Castillero has a phenomenal staff who he has mentored and trained. Whatever the disability, your dog will be trained with your specific needs to your specific situation. Lifetime guaranteed.
Having a pet can make a world of difference for an individual with a disability, but it’s necessary to choose the right animal for your needs. Whether you’re a dog person or someone who loves cats, making sure you are compatible with your pet is essential. After that, it’s just a matter of loving and being loved.