07-31-2011, 03:13 AM
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I completely agree with service animals. I have extreme social anxiety and I can't even begin to tell you how much my animals help me. Granted, they can't come everywhere with me, but simply KNOWING they're at home when I get there is a big help.
I used to take my hedgehog, Hemi, to visit the elderly at nursing homes. For a creature covered in teeny little needles, she was the gentlest thing. She loved meeting all the seniors and they loved watching her waddle around the floor and being able to say they held a real, live hedgehog. She was so good.
Now, I take my rescue dog, Sonya, to nursing homes. My mom used to work there and it's a common sight to see her with her black lab and me with my Rhodesian Ridgeback X Pitbull wandering down the halls, peeking in and visiting with residents. Both dogs have a very different "style"... Taz stays back for a bit to assess, while Sonya basically crawls into bed with the person. She'll lay her sweet head on the side of their bed, and just implore them with her eyes to 'please, please love me'. Most people cannot resist her yellow eyes. I think they do a lot of good for the residents - it's very relaxing and mentally healthy to be able to stroke a dog.