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Is it a bad idea for someone with Depression to own a dog or other animal?

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 1.6%
  • No

    Votes: 109 89.3%
  • Unsure

    Votes: 11 9.0%
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Discussion Starter #1
Is it a bad idea for someone with Depression or a similar mental illness, to own a dog or any other animal?

* I do not intend for this to be hurtful or rude, I mean no harm and am only curious and that is why i am asking the question.
 

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There have been many studies that show a dog is a good thing for those who suffer from depression, anxiety, bi-polar, and many other mental illnesses there are actually certified "service" dogs that do nothing but cater to those with these types of mental illnesses.

My therapist has 4 legs :D
 

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I think it's helped me greatly with my bipolar disorder. I have something I NEED to take care of and can't just do whatever I want because of the mood I'm in at the time. Gunther has kept me active and out of my head at times where it would be overwhelming. The unconditional love is a great plus as well :)
 

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Having a dog legitimately made the difference between me returning to the mental health hospital and learning to live a normal life. He provided structure, motivation, and responsibility. I lacked all three qualities when I was non-functional. Even though I didn't care enough to take care of myself having him to feed, walk, groom, and train meant that I couldn't just 'go'.

I believe people with hoarding tenancies as part of their mental illness should NOT be permitted or encouraged to own any animals, as it is dangerous for all parties.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for sharing guys!

I was going to wait for a while before I said why I posted this poll.

However, I am going to pipe in, I asked this question because I see from all different points of views on this.
Zelda has helped me overcome my most severe depression i personally have had. I've had depression most of my life. I actually asked my counselor (Whom i no longer have to see, just saying!) if I should get a dog, i told her my reasoning why i think it would help me and my concerns- overall i think she thought it would be a good idea. And like what Diesel and Lace said, that they have a special therapy about them. And anyways, basically i dont just sleep all the time doing nothing, i dont fantasize about my death and i dont think about quitting my job because i need it to provide for Zelda. I find a lot of happiness lately, and i feel like she has done so much for me just by being my girl! And i dont know where i would be right now without her. So i have personally overcome my severe depression because of my Zelda. (And i apologize for being so personal, i just want people to realize, who are on the other side, my story and view on this)
However, i work at a shelter, and recently a dog came in because the lady said she got him to see if he would help with her depression and that he just added to it.. And it broke my heart for both them. Because i could see in her face she was very sad about this.. And i felt bad for him too, because he didnt do anything wrong (not that they ever do really..) and it just made me think that I also was unstable before i got Zelda and it could have gone either way really when I got her. Now I am just so afraid of loosing her!
The other thing is, someone told me, for lack of better words, that I shouldnt have gotten her because she could currently have a better home with someone who is fully stable and not have any depression. So i sort of see where the other side is coming from as well. But i do know Zelda has helped me, and i do hope i am good enough of a mom for her..
This is why i wanted to have input from different sides to see what the reasoning was.
 

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you're taking good care of your dog and your dog is taking
good care of you. tell the person that told you that your
dog could be better off somewhere else to (_X_).

Thanks for sharing guys!

I was going to wait for a while before I said why I posted this poll.

However, I am going to pipe in, I asked this question because I see from all different points of views on this.
Zelda has helped me overcome my most severe depression i personally have had. I've had depression most of my life. I actually asked my counselor (Whom i no longer have to see, just saying!) if I should get a dog, i told her my reasoning why i think it would help me and my concerns- overall i think she thought it would be a good idea. And like what Diesel and Lace said, that they have a special therapy about them. And anyways, basically i dont just sleep all the time doing nothing, i dont fantasize about my death and i dont think about quitting my job because i need it to provide for Zelda. I find a lot of happiness lately, and i feel like she has done so much for me just by being my girl! And i dont know where i would be right now without her. So i have personally overcome my severe depression because of my Zelda. (And i apologize for being so personal, i just want people to realize, who are on the other side, my story and view on this)
However, i work at a shelter, and recently a dog came in because the lady said she got him to see if he would help with her depression and that he just added to it.. And it broke my heart for both them. Because i could see in her face she was very sad about this.. And i felt bad for him too, because he didnt do anything wrong (not that they ever do really..) and it just made me think that I also was unstable before i got Zelda and it could have gone either way really when I got her. Now I am just so afraid of loosing her!


>>>>> The other thing is, someone told me, for lack of better words, that I shouldnt have gotten her because she could currently have a better home with someone who is fully stable and not have any depression.<<<<<

So i sort of see where the other side is coming from as well. But i do know Zelda has helped me, and i do hope i am good enough of a mom for her..
This is why i wanted to have input from different sides to see what the reasoning was.
 

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My friend used to be depressed and when she got a dog, it was like therapy for her. If anything it will help you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks doggiedad, I just might!
 

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I don't think there's a universal answer.

For many depressed people, having a dog is a tremendous help: it gives them something to care about, something that depends on them, a reason to keep going. Having a dog forces them to get some exercise and walk in the fresh air and sunlight, all of which are noted as helping alleviate the symptoms of depression. In these situations, the dog can literally be a lifesaver. I have friends who have been pulled back from the brink of suicide by having dogs in their lives.

But there are also cases where a person just does not have the capability to care for a dog. Particularly if the dog has unusually high exercise demands or behavioral issues that the caretaker finds stressful and is unable to handle, and/or where the depressed person self-medicates via substance abuse (again, as some of my friends have), these situations can become frustrating and harrowing.

So I don't have an answer beyond "it depends." I've seen it go both ways. I think that for most people it's worth trying, though, because if it does work then the benefit is tremendous, and if it doesn't... well, hopefully the person realizes that in time to get the dog rehomed without too many problems.
 

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There have been many studies that show a dog is a good thing for those who suffer from depression, anxiety, bi-polar, and many other mental illnesses there are actually certified "service" dogs that do nothing but cater to those with these types of mental illnesses.

My therapist has 4 legs :D


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I think in the case of a service dog who is prepaired for that inviroment, I think they are beneficial. My cousin has a service dog can't remember the breed but he is bi-polar. He excels because of hia dog. The dog is trained to sense an apisode before it actually hits him.

As for a run of the mill pet, you got me. I think if you get lucky and happen on just the right dog, yeh. But if not it may not be much more than another burden.
 

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i think it just has to be a dog. any size, any color, any breed (mixed included).

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I think in the case of a service dog who is prepaired for that inviroment, I think they are beneficial. My cousin has a service dog can't remember the breed but he is bi-polar. He excels because of hia dog. The dog is trained to sense an apisode before it actually hits him.

>>>>> As for a run of the mill pet, you got me. I think if you get lucky and happen on just the right dog, yeh. But if not it may not be much more than another burden.<<<<<
 

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There are some people who shouldn't have dogs whether those people suffer depression or not. That being said, I think dogs make everything better. It is nice to be needed and appreciated.
 

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It depends on the degree of the depression. If you were severely, clinically depressed, I think it would be poor judgement to own a pet, especially if there were indications that the person had thoughts of hurting themselves or others. Moderate to severe depressed may be too fatigued to exercise a dog, have sleep disorders, poor concentration, may not be able to make a decision if the dog needed care.

Mildly to moderately depressed, a dog may be a good motivator to get up, go outside and move. That makes everyone feel better. Maybe the person could express their feelings and mood to the dog, feel better talking their problems out. People generally do not have just one mental disorder, but cluster. Anxiety often goes along with depression. From my own personal experience with anxiety, having a dog has greatly improved this disorder (plus other lifestyle changes). The dog leads to meeting other people, improves social anxiety, having a GSD made me act like a leader, training increases confidence, and recently our dog trainer held a self defense class for humans (we could bring our dogs). Now I feel like I can protect my dog rather have her protect me! It's a great feeling, so you never know how owning a dog may lead you in your life.
 

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When my husband was going trough a depression getting our first puppy really helped bring him out of it.
 

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My parents got me Mia as a way to help me with sever depression and social anxiety.

Before being allowed to actually get my own, I spent the majority of my spare time sitting at an animal shelter about 10 miles from my house. The workers and volunteers knew why I was there and came to know me pretty well, and they were very welcoming and supportive. It helped tremendously. When my parents saw the effect the dogs had on me they decided to let me bring home my own.

There are days I can't bring myself to do anything, but she never suffers from it, having her around knowing she depends on me makes me get up and out with her. In the 8 months I've had her she's helped me cope tremendously.
 

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I suffer from BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), Depression, Anxiety and PTSD. Before I got Diesel I was a complete wreck, yes I tried to kill myself and once I got Diesel, it didnt all go away but it made me clearer, I didnt suffer so much, it gave me strength where had none before, made me confident, a leader, was able to be out in public and not have major anxiety, I still had mood swings but were at that time manageable... Diesel was great, she understood and from the time she was 10 weeks old she was by my side constantly and we did a lot of things together.

When she was killed **** hit the fan. I was stable while I had Diesel, had something to work for that needed me on my game all the time and when I lost that it turned bad quickly. I almost succeeded in killing myself was in the hospital for 3 weeks in a coma. When I came out of it I still didnt care and thats when my parents bought me Penny for christmas to help me like Diesel did as I became a hole 'nother person. Penny has stressed me as she is nothing like Diesel and is hard to work with, but she HAS still helped me, Penny has given that "reason to be here" back to me. Do I get stressed of course, but she is well taken care of, Im doing my best with her she gets more exercise than most dogs ever get, she gets good food, she is well loved and gets to go with me everywhere...

So do I think they help, yes they do... but in my eyes a dog to me is a child there is no "if I harm myself who cares about the dog" sort of thing, its I cant even think like that because I would be too worried about where Penny would end up what kind of life she would have as I feel no one would take as good of care of her as I do... which isn't necessarily true but I cant even think about that. But it does depend also, there are others out there less devoted to a dog they get and dont care what happens to the dog, or ones who really cannot take care of the dog.

I know I went a little too personal but that is my story and my opinion.
 

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you're taking good care of your dog and your dog is taking
good care of you. tell the person that told you that your
dog could be better off somewhere else to (_X_).
Agreed
 

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I think it helps a person, but may not be in the dog's best interest.

I'm a clinical depressive. I don't rely on my dogs to keep me healthy, though. I seek and actively engage treatment. I am proactive with my therapist, and when needed, I take my prescribed meds. I don't depend on my dogs to keep me healthy. I only expect them to be my dependents. If a patient is noncompliant with therapy and medication, the dog can end up with the short end of the stick. And that's Not fair.

A dog can be a great motivator, but when a person is seriously ill, no amount of "responsibility" for a pet can pull them up out of bed or off the sofa. There's depression, as in a person who has the temporary blues... And then there's clinical depression... And then there's depression as a symptom of psychopathy. A dog can get a person up and out of the temporary blues. A dog can not cure psychopathy. And I don't think a dog can answer clinical depression without additional support and treatment.

If I, or my practitioner, believed I weren't managing my illness successfully, I would Not have a GSD. Maybe another breed. Maybe a kill shelter small breed less exercise, fluffy, snuggly lap dog. Or a cat. But I would Not have the dogs I currently have. It just wouldn't be right.

For example, right now I am here for Mattie Lynn's final 48 hours. If I were a tear jerking hot mess... She does not deserve that! She has given me the last two years of her life, with her full joy and abandon. I am not about to return her investment with my own little pity party. I am smiling and engaging her and doing everything I possibly can to celebrate her. Were I ill, I probably wouldn't be capable of making that choice. And her final days would be the lousy product of watching me fret and mourn :( She doesn't deserve that.

So, it depends.


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I voted no. I have depression and my animals are the reasons why I get up in the morning.
 

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I have to agree that everyone and every dog are different, but with that said my counselor has stated on many occasions that there is documented evidence people with pets do in fact have better overall mental health and coping skills. In my darkest days, the love I have received from my dogs has truly been a life saver. Through triumphs and failures they love you no matter what.
 
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