My guinea pigs are my source of pet therapy, and they’re so important to my mental health. Watching them play is an easy way to be mindful in the present moment. They’re very interactive, so even though I live alone I never feel alone. When my depression is so bad I can barely get out of bed, they’re a reason to force myself to get up. And when things get so bad that I start to feel suicidal, my responsibility as their mom is a motivator to keep hanging on.
This is Squeaky, my grumpy old man. His buddy died a few months ago, but he’s a trooper and keeps on going.
Casper is the baby of the bunch, and she likes to play. Of all the guinea pigs I’ve ever had she’s the only one that likes to jump on top of the wooden hidey-house.
Guinea pigs love to eat grass, but they’re not so into being exposed to the big bad world. Oreo has found the perfect compromise being partly hidden under my skirt.
They have a variety of cute sleeping positions, Here’s Squeaky with his leg tucked up against the food bowl.
The guinea pigs are very smart when it comes to knowing what sounds are associated with getting food, like the fridge door opening or the rustle of their food bag. And sometimes they just want to let mama know that they think they’re entitled to a treat. So they will put their front paws up on the cage door opening and stick their cute little faces out as far as they can, because they know they’ve got their mama wrapped around their little feet. Cookie (the all black one) is the biggest of the bunch so she tends to muscle the other two out of the way.
So that’s my little family. Do you have pets, and if so, how do they benefit your mental health?
Visit the Mental Health @ Home Store to find my books Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis and Psych Meds Made Simple, a mini-ebook collection focused on therapy, and plenty of free downloadable resources.