Pets are great company and always help raise our spirits, but what if your companion was a wild iguana?
The use of animals for therapeutic purposes is nothing new. Many people, whether coming to terms with the loss of a loved one or facing up to problems associated with drugs, unemployment or isolation, end up adopting a pet, usually a cat or a dog. The benefits of having a pet are, whist not scientifically substantiated, countless, and begin with an improved sense of temperament.
There are NGOs and rehabilitation centres that, as opposed to domestic pets, work with horses and other large animals. Whilst not as commonly used as dogs, cats, birds, hamsters or even fish, horses or dolphins are not unheard of when it comes to the use of animals for therapeutic purposes. There are also people that venture out of their domestic surroundings in search of peace and tranquillity, and interact with animals in the wild, including ducks and pigs, among others.
Some therapists have begun using chickens to help patients. That’s right, chickens. The theory being that chickens serve as a source of comfort, especially among the elderly, traumatized or those suffering from shock, given that chickens tend to remind these people of the contact they may have had with them during their childhood years. However, some cases among children suggest that this form of therapy still works with or without this supposed bond formed in earlier years.
It now remains for the field of psychology to study and assess to what extent this type of therapy is actually functional. Social media networks are full of videos of people that have benefitted psychologically thanks to the help of animals, including some that we would never have previously imagined, such as bees, iguanas, penguins, lizards and even snakes. Is this proof that humans ought to make peace with the animal kingdom and strive for harmony with the natural world at all costs? Without a doubt!