Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Petpositive Letter in Star, 26 July, 2006

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Wednesday July 26, 2006

Keeping pets can help reduce stress and suicidal tendencies

PETPOSITIVE welcomes the recent discussion in the media on suicide – its causes and how to prevent it.

We believe that one of the best ways to address and overcome this usually taboo topic is when more people talk about it and bring it out in the open.

As a newly-registered society which firmly believes in the power of meaningful companionship with animals for a higher quality of life and positive living, we would like to suggest animal-assisted therapy (AAT) as a stress and depression buster.

The bond between humans and other animals has untold benefits, especially among the disabled and elderly.

Animals have assisted human beings in profound ways such as improving a patient’s cognitive or physical functioning, usually from a one-on-one relationship, to enhancing a person’s sense of well-being and reducing loneliness.

Proximity with animals such as touching and caring for them helps to bring about positive reinforcement in people’s lives.

We know of elderly and disabled people in Malaysia who, through their successful partnerships with animals, now have less need for medication, have much calmer personalities and have cut down on suicide attempts.

Bonding with pets have also helped animal lovers achieve other goals such as improving communication, building trust, decreasing stress and anxiety and perhaps most important of all, motivating themselves.

Pets are also inexpensive and accessible to everyone.

Having said all this, those considering to take on a pet must realise that keeping an animal is a huge responsibility, and consideration must be given to neighbours and the laws that govern pet-keeping.

President, Malaysian
Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (PETPOSITIVE).

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