Search This Blog


Buddhism in the News


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Therapeutic Role of Animals: Dogs Help Victims Testify in Court.

James: Animals are perfect for therapy because their instincts and intuition are heightened to allow them to survive in the wilds of nature. Animals often instinctively know when turbulent weather (or even natural disasters) will strike, before humans do. This intuition enables them to detect subtleties in human behavior.

As I've said before, I often struggle with depression. Well, one day, I was visiting my parents, who care for my sister's dog while she's at work. I began talking about my depression with my parents and at one point, began to cry. Immediately, my sister's little dog, Maya, walked over to me and jumped up on my legs. Then she stretched her little body vertically across my stomach and rested there while trying to lick my face. She instinctively knew that I was hurting and rushed to my side. Her and I have shared a strong bond for a lot of years, and she's a joy and a gift to me.

I had a similar experience with my brother's dog during a bout of depression, and crying over Christmas. I retreated to the basement because all the commotion and stimuli from the party was overwhelming. Yet it depressed me knowing I was missing the family time. Well, not long after I went downstairs, my brother's little dog, Weston, appeared and sat right at my feet. He stayed there the whole time I was lying on the couch. It was like he was watching over me and trying to comfort my emotional turmoil.

Therefore, I'm not at all surprised that these therapy dogs are helping calm victims of crime, so that they can be strong in court. Animals aren't simply here as "scenery" and food. They are our cousins, family, teachers and guides. Animals teach us in so many ways and I think that is partly because they are close to being reborn into the human realm. Or, perhaps they were a human in a past life and therefore are able to respond to human behavior. It could also be the connection we share on the animal level, since all of us who believe in past lives spent time in the animal realm. If we are open to what we experienced and learned in our animal lives then I think our understanding of animal rights will expand too. Maybe it's simply the bond we share of being interconnected as sentient beings. One things is sure, animals are smarter than some humans

I'll finish with this closing thought; animals give us great opportunities to practice our compassion and abilities to care for those who are the most vulnerable. In the past, animals have been an easy target for human exploitation because of their natural innocence. I have found that a good indicator of a person's compassion is to see how they treat animals. If they are mean to animals, then it's likely they treat humans poorly, as well. In some ways, an animals vulnerability is a test for the many powers of humanity; as the saying goes, "With great ability comes great responsibility." We know that we are all interconnected (even science teaches this concept). So, as go the animals, so go humanity. We can't survive as humanity if we allow animals to be eradicated (or abused) through our excessive greed for land, money and power.

~peace to all beings~

Stumble Upon Toolbar



James. I am so sorry you are subject to depression. I will be praying that the One who made you and knows you and loves you will make himself known to you and comfort you.

BD said...

My border collie mix, was able to tell when my youngest had a fever, or epileptic seizure way before I could, she was a fantastic dog. She also provided comfort to all of us, and yes they are super sensitive and in the Now,

gotrabhu said...

I had the same experience. Animals for me are an enrichment of life. They are pure beings and you are right, you can learn from them.

They call him James Ure said...

@Jessica...Thank-you for your concern and hope. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and am so grateful to all my friends; both online and in my regular life. Big hugs to you!!

@BD...Wow!! She sounds like she was really a beloved member of the family, and I can see why. Seeing how easily they give of their love, comfort and protection, I want to help protect them as well.

@gotrabhu...It would certainly be a very bleak and cold world without animals. I hope we can continue to protect them and honor their energy for a long time to come.

Kirsten said...

So true! I think dogs are some of the most sensitive and selfless bodhisattvas I have come across. I think many dog owners instinctively know this, and those who don't realize it can experience so much joy once they tap into it.

I am trying to incorporate mindfulness meditation into my dog training classes. It won't resonate for everyone, but hopefully will make sense for some!

Thanks for the thoughtful post!

Connie Rose said...

Hi James,
I just found your blog and glad I have. I'm a life-long periodic depression sufferer as well as an animal lover. I truly feel animals are way smarter than humans, and that they feel everything we do and possibly more. I consider them the more-than-human beings we live with, and personally I couldn't live without my cat (or another, when he's gone). It is an honor for me to take care of an animal. Re: your comment about abuse, it is becoming more widely known that people who abuse animals also abuse other people, and vice versa. The abuse-awareness community has broadened its understanding of this whole thing.
Blessings to you James.

ShareThis Option