The ‘i’ newspaper recently ran a story about the UK’s first officially recognized guide horse. Now, we’re used to seeing assistance dogs at work, helping people with visual impairments, and sometimes other difficulties to get about and to live more fulfilling lives, but a horse?
It seems that the US has led the way with the introduction of miniature guide horses, according to the ‘i’ and now the first one is here. Digby, an eight-month-old horse that will grow up to be the size of a large dog is being trained to assist a young man with failing sight who works for the BBC in the North West, and who happens to be fearful of dogs.
Of course, working animals, as Digby will become, are never pets. They are workers, just like most people, and like humans, they get time off and in due course retire. Pets are different. You could say they are permanently on holiday. All they have to do is be themselves, have fun, let their owners fuss them, play with them, and take care of their every need.
But that’s not the entire picture. Pets can be a lifeline in all sorts of situations. For instance, the cat jumping onto your lap or the dog who nuzzles up and is obviously trying to help is a great comfort when you have received bad news. Stroking a pet’s warm fur is said to be good for relieving stress.
Some people prefer to call pets companion animals, because they make brilliant companions, and claim that they never criticize their human best friends. Anyone who has been cold-shouldered by their pet after a couple of weeks at the cattery or kennels over the holiday period might disagree, but it soon changes back to unconditional love.
Perhaps we have things to learn from our pets. There is certainly much to admire about the ways that both pets and working animals help us.
Even though pets are a great form of social and emotional companionship, perhaps not all of your needs are being met by only this.
That’s why we have a 24 hr Helpline available to help you with whatever you need. Whether you just need to open up to someone or you would like some guidance as to how you can come out of your situation, our helpline is dedicated to helping you get better.
Give us a call on 020 7686 6000.