One of the things I love most about South Florida is how “Doggie-Friendly” it is. Many places here – especially in Delray Beach – are tolerant and even happy when a dog accompanies you as you shop. Many restaurateurs allow you to dine in outside seating with your canine pal. Sipping on a beverage while kicked back with one of “The Boys” (our Poms) and people/pet watching is a fantastic way to relax.

I understand some folks are bothered by dogs, and animals in general. They feel that animals are dirty, or they may suffer from allergies. Some folks may even assume that the pets will be disruptive and invade other people’s space. But I would love to point out how many occasions I have had to “put up with” someone’s unruly child who decides to make a scene or demands my attention while I am merely hoping to enjoy my own personal space. I am not being anti-kid; I am merely suggesting that well-behaved pets, just like well-behaved children, tend to get a bad rap from ignorant or self-indulgent “parents.” The fact is – some folks aren’t pet people and some folks aren’t kid-oriented and neither should be forced to deal with the other. That being said, I do feel sorry for folks who never experience the magic of the human and animal bond.

Even science is catching up. The effect that animals have on the health and well-being of humans is starting to become better known. But so much more is out there to be explored. I have witnessed so many “miracles” for which animals have been the catalyst …

Turning a perfectionist/OCD/highly driven businesswoman into a tender-hearted, happily-laid-back doggie momma with less than spotless floors who laughs and hugs her three Labrador “Ladies” and can’t imagine life without them

A big, intimidating, Type A real estate tycoon, who put up with his girlfriend's mutts but never even touched them (allergies…) turned into a baby-talking marshmallow by a tiny Pomeranian puppy who helped him keep his spirits up through a life-threatening illness and now rules the roost with his younger Pomeranian “brother.” (Take two – they’re small!)

I have had the pleasure to watch a normally cranky elderly woman, who says she doesn’t want to be bothered with company, light up when our Pom Jack, and now his 'little brother' Mack, trot up to say hello with their smiling faces and puffed up personalities. Fannie would laugh and allow Jack to sit up in her lap or on her bed and announce to anyone who happened by that she was being visited by her favorite Grandson.

“He doesn’t talk back and lets me hug on him.”

And other patients and staff members also light up when we take the Poms to visit. One of the most amazing things to witness is a person who is assumed to be nearly catatonic reach forward toward one of the pups with what sounds to be a little chuckle.

The therapy work that is now being done with pets is not new but is maybe less exploited than it could be. Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimer’s, Autism, and severe Depression are just a few of the conditions that have seen improvement through the use of pets. Take a moment to Google 'pets +______(anything)' and you might be surprised at what you find.

We know animals are used in positive ways as partners and protectors in many fields such as police work, bomb squads, military work and even as detectors from everything from lost people to the discovery of cancer in a person to the whiff of peanut product in an allergic person’s food. We all know we also use animals in less widely accepted roles such as product and drug testing. And if you ever want to become seemingly charming and easy to talk to just have a puppy in your arms or ask someone about their pet. Notice how easily the ice is broken and how eager your companion is to share with you?
This may help you understand my own wild proposal for world peace

What do you think could happen if we placed opposing/feuding leaders together in a room with a couple of well-mannered, lovable mutts? Do you think a bit of infectious smiling might break out? Maybe a shared chuckle? Baby steps…

Author's Bio: 

Janus Moncur - The Co-Creative Coach™, is a Certified Professional Coach, CEO and Founder of Co-Creative Coaching, LLC, Creator/Owner of LovePetz, LLC and Author of "Rusty -n- Nikki: Doggie Lessons in Life and Love". She works with groups and individuals to overcome overwhelm, face fears and conquer challenges to navigate transitions and take charge of one’s personal and professional success. Learn more at Personal and Professional Success Coach , where you can sign up for our Free Report "Seven Surefire Tips for Successful Change: How to Break Bad Habits and Develop Good Habits to Take Control of Our Lives and Create Success".