pets and addiction recovery
is getting a pet right for you?

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In recent years, pet therapy has become an increasingly popular method of addiction treatment. Pets are inherently loving and non-judgmental and can therefore provide a unique form of unconditional companionship.

Owning a pet also can add new meaning to a person’s life, provide comfort and facilitate increased activity levels. They are also known to help people overcome loneliness, stress, and anxiety. If you are considering a furry friend to join you on your path of recovery, be sure you pick the animal that’s right for you.


Consider Your Commitment

New pet owners often underestimate the lifelong commitment that comes with pet ownership. Pets require a commitment of your time, energy, and money. Knowing how much commitment each pet kind/breed requires can help you choose the pet that’s right for you. For example, a person who works long hours might not be best suited for large breed puppy ownership (Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Great Dane etc.). Instead, this person may consider a less high-maintenance animal such as a cat or a bird. No matter what animal you choose, it’s important you are spending adequate time with them each day.

What Is Your Living Situation?

Your current and predicted living situation should be a determining factor when deciding what animal to get. If you live in an apartment, be aware of any rules around owning animals and consider whether or not having a yard will hinder the overall well-being of yourself or your pet. If you change rental situations frequently, be aware that many landlords do not allow pets or only allow certain varieties. If you own your own home, consider size – Is my home large enough for the animal I want? Do I have enough yard space for him/her to play? Also, think about how often you will be away from your home and if you can/will take your animal with you. If you love camping and hiking trips, a dog might be the perfect addition to your life. If you love staying in and reading, consider a purring feline.

Do Your Research

There are numerous online resources that provide valuable information about choosing a pet. For example, if you’re interested in a European German Shepherd, Harrison K9 provides a wealth of information about the breed and the puppies they offer. Before adopting a pet, be sure to research potential health concerns, activity levels and time commitments. Also, you want to be aware that humans can be allergic to animals depending on kind/breed and select a pet that will not make you or your family sick. Research is one of the best ways you can ensure you pick the pet that’s right for you.

Get Ready…

Once you have found your ideal companion animal, it’s time to prepare your home. To make your home comfortable for a new family member, make sure you have all the necessary food and supplies (it’s important to learn about the different products on the market before buying anything). You may also consider eliminating clutter (to avoid chewing), blocking off certain non-pet friendly areas and fixing holes in your fence.

When you bring your pet home for the first time, be sure to spend a significant portion of the day with him/her. New animals are often nervous and fearful of a new environment and will benefit from reassurance and companionship. If you have adopted a rescue animal, you will want to spend even more time with him/her to facilitate bonding and correct bad behavior. If you want to create a strong bond with your new pet, make sure you are spending a lot of time with him/her right off the bat.

Adding a pet to your life offers countless opportunities for bonding, personal growth and companionship. For those in addiction recovery, owning a pet can help reduce stress and combat loneliness. Choosing the right kind/breed, doing your research and preparing your home can help seamlessly transition a new pet into your daily life. The perfect pet is out there waiting for you, and all you have to do is go find him/her.

For over 45 years, Harrison K9 has provided the finest European German Shepherds to people from all walks of life. To learn more about what we do and the dogs we offer, please call 803-649-5936 or email us at