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Having Pets When Poor: A Mental Health Companion Animal

No one has said anything, but in some cases I can imagine the thoughts on my lizard and being broke.  However, instead of doing an individualized guilt complex for my lizard, I would like to look at the broader scope and not just offer up my validation for my pet, but maybe also some validation for all of us.  Us being defined in this case as those on a limited budget due to disability or limited due to limited real career options, but whom still have pets we technically can’t comfortably afford.

  1. This is ultra wide-spread – It is actually a documented fact that pets help calm the anxious, and add quality of life for those who are struggling to find any real quality.  This is so well documented, in fact, that doctors can legally prescribe mental health patients companion animals of most any, realistic kind, and these mental health companions are afforded all the same legal rights as, say, a seeing eye dog.
  2. In the event of families, pets are a way of feeling normal when funds are tight, in such a way that won’t cause bankruptcy.  In a world of poverty, there are so many things you can’t have or have to say no to, but a small pet doesn’t have to rack up the cost of living bill.  In the case of a cat or dog, you can adopt them free or cheap at the beginning, but if you have to pay extra on your lease, plus food, it can add about 300$ to the bills, even after a cheap start.  Some can be qualified as being in poverty and still handle that 300$ a month.  There are different degrees of poverty.  And we are all experts at cutting corners to afford what we really need and really want.  Then of course comes something like a snake, a lizard, a frog, fish, or hamsters.  After the cost of the animal plus the set up, you might be paying almost a grand out-of-pocket at the start (but hey, we get great tax returns), however, the month-to-month upkeep can be well under 100$ and most can work that in.  The impact of the quality of life, when you have a warm kitty purring in your lap, typically can help tip the scale in you pet owner’s favor as the cost versus benefit gets weighed out.

Mental Health Companion

 

As for my family: The lizard is my mental health companion, but she’s made Pat her human.  So my heart swells with love when I watch them together and he fusses over her.

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