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Thread: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

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    Talking Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    I was wondering what made everyone decide to adopt their piggies!

    The reason I got my pigs was because of my depression, dissociation/depersonalization disorder, and anxiety disorders (social/generalized/panic).
    I was home by myself for several hours a day, other than being at work, until my husband got home. I don't leave our home much without him because of my social anxiety which literally mentally paralyzes me.
    I have history of struggling with self harm and my self destructive tendencies and urges (triggers) were becoming unbearable and I was slipping up.
    Mentally, I was deteriorating. I was dissociating frequently (mentally shutting down), I needed something to keep me busy and give me something to get up in the morning for everyday.
    That's when I decided to get guinea pigs!

    I grew up with hamsters, dogs, bearded dragons, ball pythons, frogs, and toads. I always had an animal with me! As soon as we got our pigs everything improved!
    I've had less anxiety and panic attacks, my depression has subsided substantially, I've stopped dissociating and depersonalizing as often, I rarely get triggered to self harm, and have even gone out (on my own) to have lunches and dinners with friends and family! My guinea pigs have not only improved my life, but have also SIGNIFICANTLY improved my mental health! I almost feel normal

    If anyone has been in a similar situation as me and had their pigs (or other pets) literally save their lives, please share your story!

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    My story isn't quite like yours, opposite actually. I did self-harm a while back but it was for selfish reasons I won't go into. I've actually always been an animal lover. Lizards, Dogs, Cats, Hamsters, and more. When I was little my aunt had 2 guinea pigs and I was obsessed with them. I was the only one who really payed any attention to them. I would pet them and talk to them in their basement. I even risked my life during a tornado warning when they were upstairs.

    After a while I had stopped going over there and one of them died from a bladder infection. The other (Lacie) was sad and lonely. I feel really bad for them because they treated their pigs very poorly. In small cages in a basement with no light or activity room.

    What caused me to want guinea pigs is moving out of our "No Pets Apartment" 3 years ago. I was so happy I could finally get my own pet! Sadly my Dad said no. I gave up trying all through 6th grade. Then in 7th grade I really wanted rats. I had everything picked out and was about to go to the store to buy them. But my Aunt told me she couldn't handle animals and didn't take me. I was heartbroken. I gave up and then found this website. I saw all the cute piggies and huge cages and fell in love all over again. I saved up $200 and begged my Dad to let me get a guinea pig. He finally gave in and let me get one! I was so happy.

    Once I got her I kept learning more and my Dad slowly fell in love with piggies as well. I am looking to adopt my second pig and add to our family



    (ALSO : I'm so glad your pigs helped with all of the mental issues. It's a touching story.)

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    I can't say that my pets have saved my life but I can say that I get tremendous joy from them. I'd rather be at home in my computer room with them than away on a vacation somewhere. Just hearing them move around in their cages makes me happy.

    I tend to be a hyper and fast moving person. The guinea pigs slow me down and help me relax.....

    I noticed you said owned toads. I love toads. I find them around my house sometimes and I always pick them up to look at them. I think they're adorable little creatures.

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alicia Lannan View Post
    My story isn't quite like yours, opposite actually. I did self-harm a while back but it was for selfish reasons I won't go into. I've actually always been an animal lover. Lizards, Dogs, Cats, Hamsters, and more. When I was little my aunt had 2 guinea pigs and I was obsessed with them. I was the only one who really payed any attention to them. I would pet them and talk to them in their basement. I even risked my life during a tornado warning when they were upstairs.

    After a while I had stopped going over there and one of them died from a bladder infection. The other (Lacie) was sad and lonely. I feel really bad for them because they treated their pigs very poorly. In small cages in a basement with no light or activity room.

    What caused me to want guinea pigs is moving out of our "No Pets Apartment" 3 years ago. I was so happy I could finally get my own pet! Sadly my Dad said no. I gave up trying all through 6th grade. Then in 7th grade I really wanted rats. I had everything picked out and was about to go to the store to buy them. But my Aunt told me she couldn't handle animals and didn't take me. I was heartbroken. I gave up and then found this website. I saw all the cute piggies and huge cages and fell in love all over again. I saved up $200 and begged my Dad to let me get a guinea pig. He finally gave in and let me get one! I was so happy.

    Once I got her I kept learning more and my Dad slowly fell in love with piggies as well. I am looking to adopt my second pig and add to our family



    (ALSO : I'm so glad your pigs helped with all of the mental issues. It's a touching story.)
    Oh my gosh I am so happy for you! I am sorry to hear that you went through self harm, I know all too well how bad it gets.
    What does your girl look like? I can't wait to hear about when you get your second piggy! I have 2 girls and an altered boy (and another baby boy who is being rehomed in 3 weeks).

    (thank you! I'm really glad they did too! I was losing myself before I got them. My husband is amazing, but there is only so much he can help me with and fully understand. Animals are just on a completely different level of love and understanding ya know? He loves them too and they've helped both of us bond with each other more and become closer!)

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by pinky View Post
    I can't say that my pets have saved my life but I can say that I get tremendous joy from them. I'd rather be at home in my computer room with them than away on a vacation somewhere. Just hearing them move around in their cages makes me happy.

    I tend to be a hyper and fast moving person. The guinea pigs slow me down and help me relax.....

    I noticed you said owned toads. I love toads. I find them around my house sometimes and I always pick them up to look at them. I think they're adorable little creatures.
    I cannot agree more about the vacation thing! Like seriously I would rather take time off work to stay home and spend time with my fur babies than go on a trip haha!

    and my pigs do the same for me with the joy! Right before I replied to your post I was laughing and watching my girls zoom around their cage and run through their fleece forest! They keep me relaxed and calm whereas before I would be anxious and stressed waiting for my husband to get home so I wouldn't be alone!

    Yep! :3 When I was little I used to find toads all the time and raised a few baby ones to full adulthood before releasing them! I lived in the mountains/woods when I lived with my parents and always had wildlife around me! I've even raised tadpoles! They're so cute! I find frogs hiding in our broom closet at work all the time!

    My favorite memory growing up was when a friend of mine and I rescued a trapped newborn fawn. It had fallen into our neighbors carport (we were watching them from my parents room) and got stuck in a crate. The mom was distressed and calling to it so my friend and I grabbed towels and ran down to the carport. The mom backed up and calmed down when we slowly approached the trapped baby. We picked it up and set it down in front of her and they were all okay! We got to watch the fawn grow to be a buck over the years! It was amazing. We nicknamed the mom "Trust" and she used to follow us around and let us pet her. We could always tell it was her because she had a crooked nose If I can find the photo my mom took I will post it to show you! I think I was around 11 or 12 when this all happened.

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    @pinky I could only find the photo of us picking it up out of the crate, I think my mom has the other ones of them being reunited (she had twins right there in our neighbors yard! the baby was probably only 30 minutes old when it got stuck!) I'm the one in the blue shirt, my friend is the one in red this was 8 years ago so I was 12!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lagertha View Post
    Oh my gosh I am so happy for you! I am sorry to hear that you went through self harm, I know all too well how bad it gets.
    What does your girl look like? I can't wait to hear about when you get your second piggy! I have 2 girls and an altered boy (and another baby boy who is being rehomed in 3 weeks).

    (thank you! I'm really glad they did too! I was losing myself before I got them. My husband is amazing, but there is only so much he can help me with and fully understand. Animals are just on a completely different level of love and understanding ya know? He loves them too and they've helped both of us bond with each other more and become closer!)
    She used to be bright orange and brown so I named her Pumpkin but now her colors are darker (She's still adorable though.)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I actually just took her out for some lap time She was licking my leg in the photos haha. I can't wait till I get my second piggy. I keep checking my Animal Welfare League for new piggy's everyday!

    *edit* That deer is so cute.

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alicia Lannan View Post
    She used to be bright orange and brown so I named her Pumpkin but now her colors are darker (She's still adorable though.)
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    I actually just took her out for some lap time She was licking my leg in the photos haha. I can't wait till I get my second piggy. I keep checking my Animal Welfare League for new piggy's everyday!

    *edit* That deer is so cute.
    Oh my fosh! SHE IS ADORABLE! She looks a lot like my Freya!
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    It's so cute that she licks you xD Ikarus (our boy) licks all the time!
    I'm on my computer all the time, maybe I could help you keep an eye out and contact you if I see anything??? if they have a website of course xD

    haha thanks! We nicknamed him Survivor!

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lagertha View Post
    Oh my fosh! SHE IS ADORABLE! She looks a lot like my Freya!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    It's so cute that she licks you xD Ikarus (our boy) licks all the time!
    I'm on my computer all the time, maybe I could help you keep an eye out and contact you if I see anything??? if they have a website of course xD

    haha thanks! We nicknamed him Survivor!
    Awe she's so cute :O! I'm on my computer as well and there is a website, but you can't see what they have. I just have to keep calling and hopefully they get one. If that fails I may go to a rescue further away.

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    I didn't get my guinea pigs because of my depression, but they did save my life. I got them for several reasons. I love animals, I was lonely, I missed having a pet I could cuddle, and I wanted to give some a good home. However, I did have a similar situation as yours (although not quite as severe). I've struggled with depression ever since I can remember. During my middle-school years, it got really bad, to the point that I would think about how easy it would be if I just fell out a window (the 2nd and 3rd story windows at my school didn't have screens. even in the staircases) or fell down the stairs and hit my head too hard. By high school, I was suicidal, but I didn't really want to physically die, I just wanted the pain to stop. It wasn't until my sophomore year that I could bring myself to ask for help. I never had a serious plan to do anything, but the impulse was sometimes so strong that I had to fight to keep from stabbing myself or swallowing too many pills. I'd look for things to stay alive for. One of the biggest things was my guinea pig, River. I knew my family would provide for the basic necessities, but they wouldn't take her out and play with her. They might have forgotten to change her cage every week. They wouldn't have loved her. So, I made myself hold on for her. Eventually, I did get help and I'm on prozac, now. I have moments where I'm really depressed sometimes. But never to the degree where I was.

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosewhite View Post
    I didn't get my guinea pigs because of my depression, but they did save my life. I got them for several reasons. I love animals, I was lonely, I missed having a pet I could cuddle, and I wanted to give some a good home. However, I did have a similar situation as yours (although not quite as severe). I've struggled with depression ever since I can remember. During my middle-school years, it got really bad, to the point that I would think about how easy it would be if I just fell out a window (the 2nd and 3rd story windows at my school didn't have screens. even in the staircases) or fell down the stairs and hit my head too hard. By high school, I was suicidal, but I didn't really want to physically die, I just wanted the pain to stop. It wasn't until my sophomore year that I could bring myself to ask for help. I never had a serious plan to do anything, but the impulse was sometimes so strong that I had to fight to keep from stabbing myself or swallowing too many pills. I'd look for things to stay alive for. One of the biggest things was my guinea pig, River. I knew my family would provide for the basic necessities, but they wouldn't take her out and play with her. They might have forgotten to change her cage every week. They wouldn't have loved her. So, I made myself hold on for her. Eventually, I did get help and I'm on prozac, now. I have moments where I'm really depressed sometimes. But never to the degree where I was.
    I am so glad to hear that you were brave enough to ask for help! I was too scared to ask for help and started dabbling in self harm to make myself feel nothing or everything. It got bad, REALLY bad. By the time I finally told my parents I have been addicted for 3 years (I started when I was 11). They didn't react well and threatened 72 hour lock down. 2-3 years later I screwed up big time. At school. It was a wake up call and I should have gotten stitches but I was too scared to tell any adults (they all thought I was better or ignored me). So I started recovery on my own. I've been a LOT better than I was before that point, but I still struggle and trying to cope definitely wasn't easy. I don't respond well to medication which is why I chose to try and retrain my brain (cognitive behavioral therapy). I'm glad the prozac works for you! and that you have your fur baby to keep you positive It can be so hard sometimes, but having their cute little faces and noises to look forward to everyday makes it easier!

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alicia Lannan View Post
    Awe she's so cute :O! I'm on my computer as well and there is a website, but you can't see what they have. I just have to keep calling and hopefully they get one. If that fails I may go to a rescue further away.
    So is your Pumpkin! They are like long lost twins
    Oh bummer! Have you tried craigslist??? That's where I found my babies!

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lagertha View Post
    @pinky I could only find the photo of us picking it up out of the crate, I think my mom has the other ones of them being reunited (she had twins right there in our neighbors yard! the baby was probably only 30 minutes old when it got stuck!) I'm the one in the blue shirt, my friend is the one in red this was 8 years ago so I was 12!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    What a great photo! You're lucky you have that memory captured with the photo!

    I

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by pinky View Post
    What a great photo! You're lucky you have that memory captured with the photo!

    I
    Right?! My mom snapped a bunch A few years after this was taken the same doe had another set of twins in the same spot! They were so cute!!! Sadly one got hit by a car We found it...

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lagertha View Post
    So is your Pumpkin! They are like long lost twins
    Oh bummer! Have you tried craigslist??? That's where I found my babies!
    Yeah but it's hard because my family isn't the most fond of how I treat my guinea pig. They think I spoil her but I really just give her proper care. They don't want to do craigslist because so far it's been an hour or so away for all of them and they don't want to drive me that far If I could drive I would though.

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    I have similar issues as you do and animals help so much to keep busy and feel less alone. If you aren't already I would also recommend online video games. MMO's like Guild Wars 2 are great ways to keep busy and meet people. Games make me feel like I can go more places and be more confident around the people there than I do in real life due to the social anxiety.

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fay View Post
    I have similar issues as you do and animals help so much to keep busy and feel less alone. If you aren't already I would also recommend online video games. MMO's like Guild Wars 2 are great ways to keep busy and meet people. Games make me feel like I can go more places and be more confident around the people there than I do in real life due to the social anxiety.
    I play Halo on xbox live with my husband and some of his friends It does help a lot! I also cosplay (costume play) at anime/video game conventions and that has really helped me grow more confident too :3
    My piggies for sure though have made me so much more happy! :3

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alicia Lannan View Post
    Yeah but it's hard because my family isn't the most fond of how I treat my guinea pig. They think I spoil her but I really just give her proper care. They don't want to do craigslist because so far it's been an hour or so away for all of them and they don't want to drive me that far If I could drive I would though.
    Aw! I'm sorry. My parents and my in-laws always send me home with veggies for them when we have visited xD my mom calls them her "grandpiggies". They spoil them more than I do haha!
    That's a serious bummer have you tried searching in your county specifically? That's what I did and that's how I found my babies!

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lagertha View Post
    Aw! I'm sorry. My parents and my in-laws always send me home with veggies for them when we have visited xD my mom calls them her "grandpiggies". They spoil them more than I do haha!
    That's a serious bummer have you tried searching in your county specifically? That's what I did and that's how I found my babies!
    Ooh I never thought of that!

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    Re: Emotional therapy animals: the reason I got my pigs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alicia Lannan View Post
    Ooh I never thought of that!
    I didn't think to try it either until I was like "wait, I'm in the middle of two counties xD"
    Hopefully it works!

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