Can Birds Be Therapy Pets?

The past year has been a difficult one. Seeing your child suffer from extremely low self esteem and major depression is not something that I thought I would ever be facing. Let alone suicidal thoughts and cutting himself. Yes, the year up to this point was difficult, but we persevered. Through counseling, medication and “natural” therapies my son has improved wildly over the past few months. We have become closer as a family and now he knows that he can talk about something if it is bothering him. Yes, the teenage hormones are still kicking in but regardless, his attitude has greatly improved.

I mentioned above counseling, medication and “natural” therapies as being part of the help he has gotten. Counseling is an important part of any type of psychological issues and played a huge part for us. Medication is a part of his therapy. I know there are naysayers out there about medication, but for “us” it was the correct decision. I will leave the medication discussion to other blogs and experts.

This “natural” therapy I mention is what I really want to talk about. During this difficult time, my husband and I started to think about getting a pet. Of course the first pet that came to mind was a dog, mans best friend… We started looking into getting a dog that could provide comfort and know when my son needed some extra caring, a therapy dog, if you will. We spoke about it on and off for about a month or so until my son came to us with an idea. Here’s what he told us.

I was down the street this afternoon at the neighbors house. He has a bird. Its a Cockatiel. It was so cool. I got to hold it and it did not run away from me. They let it stay out of the cage for a while. I really like handling it. So I was thinking…. (here it comes). Maybe I can get a bird. It will be really good for me, teach me responsibility because it will be my pet and I will take care of it. Also I can talk to it, especially about things that I can’t talk to you about…I mean I will still talk to you about things, but some things I can talk to the bird about.

So we thought about it and decided to let him get a bird. And it all fell together quite nicely. He started doing research, and a lot of it. He decided on a parakeet. Simple. Easy. Talking to the lady at Pet Supermarket, she got us set up with a starter cage and everything we needed. And she also took great interest in my son’s questions. On the side I told her the plan, and she said she had some experience with that because of a family member. We talked a lot to her and and go to visit her every now and then.

13044662_sMy son seemed to be very happy. He was handling the bird and trying to get it used to him. Well, long story short, we now have 3 birds. A Cockatiel and 2 Parakeets. My son is more than thrilled with his role with the birds. And he has set new goals for himself. He wants to work with birds. So we shall see going forward, what role this all will play later on in his life. For now, he is happy, feels wanted and needed.

I have been doing research on pet therapy and never really realized that there are roles for all kinds of therapy pets. I ran across this article Therapeutic Birds.

As addressed in the article written by Connie Cronley of Tulsa People Magazine:

Horton tells of non-responsive patients in wheelchairs who suddenly begin speaking again while petting a Cockatiel as their relatives weep at the transformation. She describes how a group of young but violent criminals — murderers, arsonists and rapists — clamored to touch a cockatoo named Bela.

“For a few minutes,” Horton says, “these hardened criminals became children again.”

Birds can make great therapy pets. I have seen it work with my own eyes!

What do you think about birds providing therapy? Let me know down below…

Comments

  1. Viviane says:

    There is absolutely no doubting that animals make great therapy pets, as long as they are well matched to the individual’s interests. Pets find a way to connect no matter what the issue is, whether with children with autism, depression, ADHD, teens who don’t make friends easily or are battling with drugs, and even hardened criminals.

    They are non-judgmental and are blissfully unaware of any “issues”; they are also forgiving and never give up.

  2. Erica Stone says:

    I’ve learned that pets are great for children in so many ways. I’ve seen my niece learn to care more for others as a result of taking care of her hamsters. I’ve seen my youngest son learn to be more gentle by playing with our small Chihuahua. I’ve seen animals become the catalyst for families spending more time together. So I can certainly believe that a pet can help with the challenges your son faces!

    And I’m absolutely LOVING the tweets in your sidebar! Hysterical! ;)

  3. I love all animals and it is because they give so much to us.

  4. About a year ago, I found myself feeling a bit down and started considering getting a pet. I really struggled with thought because I had never owned a pet before. Well, I convinced myself that getting a pet would teach my son responsibility and at the same time, give him something else to be interested in (other than video games). Things didn’t go exactly as I had planned with regards to my son but I found myself being in a better place and enjoying my pets very much. I now have two yorkies and two fish. My yorkies are so funny and I love seeing them interact with each other. I would love to have a bird and can definitely see myself getting one in the near future.

    Thanks for sharing…

    • Thanks for your comment Shawn. I think our birds have had an effect on our entire family. I definitely like to go in and talk to them and watch how they interact with each other.

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