How Training a Pet is Improving My Chronic Life

How Training a Pet is Improving My Chronic Life

Living Life with CP
About a month ago, I took on the responsibility of a beautiful white-and-gray male baby cockatiel, which I lovingly named Buddy. Buddy was the love child of my mom’s male and female cockatiels. They’ve had so many babies! In fact, about a week ago, I adopted and fell in love with Buddy’s brother, which I named Buster. Another beautiful, white bird, and the only boys my mom’s birds had.

Buddy was just a few weeks old when I took him in. Cockatiels are natural companion birds, so they’re great if you happen to need a friend. Buddy was already sweet, loving and wanting to be attached to me.  Because of that, bonding with him was easy. I wanted to teach Buddy how to do things like step up on my finger, give kisses and sing. He is curious and takes things on himself. He wants to be part of any human pack there is.

I was lucky I had help training him, but I had no idea how much training a pet would improve my mental and emotional health.

The first step to training small pets like Buddy is getting them used to human touch. I held Buddy a lot, which strengthened our bond. I also had to get him used to the way I walked with my limp, in case he was the type of bird that, when older, would like to sit on me when I was doing chores around the house. I’m glad I did all of this in his early stages of life because he is that type of bird. You also need to account for getting him used to his new environment. I held him a lot in those early days, simply because he was uncomfortable.

It was during this heavy adjustment period for him that I played lots of YouTube videos of other birds singing so that Buddy didn’t feel alone, and he could learn to sing. He also had regular long visits with his parents. And while Buddy is also a rather independent bird, which I value, we created a bond so that teaching him anything is a breeze. Even though I added another bird into the mix, Buddy is extremely loving and kind. I think he is even more so now.

These pets have been an amazing experience for me. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to care for another living being on my own. Right now, I have two living beings that depend on me, and we’re doing alright, so it has improved my confidence. Cleaning up after these birds, playing with, chasing them, and rescuing them when they get lost has kept me on my feet, too, improving physical health for the both of us.

Having a pet has benefited my emotional and mental health. These guys are great listeners, and incredibly loving. My struggles with anxiety have almost vanished with all of the extra boosts that having a pet has given me.

Do you have pets? Has doing so helped you, as it has me?

Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.

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Hello, My name is Brittney and I am a columnist with Cerebral Palsy. I focus on writing about lifestyle and believe that everyone's experience is relevant, no matter the disability. I support, and advocate for, the mainstreaming and normalization of children with disabilities and their families, as well as advocating for parents and children who need to go the more specialized route. I hope that my content provides a positive reinforcement that it is possible to live a happy and fulfilled life even with a disability.

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