Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs are painful processes emotionally and, often, physically. Their goal is not to punish addicts, but to help them heal.  What better healing aid that a non-judgmental pet?


Man with dog



Relatives, significant others, and friends may have negative histories with an inpatient, making the addict feel worse when they visit.  They know the history of the addict, and they have opinions. Maybe they are supportive for the addict, maybe not. Though they could aid the process of rehabilitation, they may hurt it.

Dogs and cats have no opinions about their owner's addictions. Pets help us get our minds off ourselves. We have to feed them, give them exercise, and love them. We communicate with them, hopefully, in positive ways. They give us nothing but love back.  Pets also help their owners

  • communicate more easily with other persons
  • lower stress and anxiety
  • reduce feelings of isolation
  • lower cholesterol, high blood pressure, and triglyceride levels
  • reduce focus on self
  • reduce feelings of isolation
  • And they may help to reduce medication dosing


And the above list says nothing about how much a pet needs to be with its owner!

Fortunately, there are more and more rehab programs that are allowing pets to be with their owners in one way or another. While some centers allow dogs and cats to actually live in their owner's room, other centers provide more restricted access to one's pet.  For example, some rehab centers allow specific visitation times, exercise visits, or visits with a handler present.  Some centers have their own 'house dog' or 'house cat' that residents can spend time with - that's not quite as good as having your own pet, but it's better than nothing.

It's no surprise that pets can help recovery. While right now there are not that many rehab centers that allow pets, but there's an organization called The Recover, an online addiction and recovery publication, that tries to keep track of the rehab centers that do allow pets.


via GlobeNewswire


also read:

Want To Train A Search & Rescue Dog: Here Are 10 Basic Things You Should Know

Don't Share Holiday Meals With Your Pet: Here's Why....