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Trupanion Blog

Trupanion's Blog is dedicated to help educate people with pet insurance and pet health information, but more importantly, to have fun!

Service Animals: Symbiosis in Action

symbiosis

Humans and their pets have symbiotic relationships: we are rhinos and oxpeckers, clownfish and sea anemones. By and large we humans see ourselves as the dominant of the partnership. We do buy the food and carry around the crinkly plastic baggies after all. But just as there are times when a rhino wouldn’t survive if his little bird friend didn’t flit away when a predator approached, there are times when we would fall if not for our animals.

Most of us have heard the studies about how bonding with an animal will chemically improve our health. Simply being in the same room as our furry companion releases oxytocin in our brains – a chemical dubbed the companionship chemical by Neely Tucker on WNYC’s Radiolab. Oxytocin makes us feel stable and connected to the world. In addition, pets are said to lower cholesterol, ease chronic pain, and boost the immune system. Who could say no to that? Pets benefit our health just by being there.

Over the eons humans have come to rely on our animals for more than just happy chemical stimulus. They are our allies. But when did it start? The oldest known domesticated dog, found in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, dates back 33,000 years.

Modern day dog lovers in therapy and wellness fields harken back to those early days of the human-canine bond by employing animals to rehabilitate people with substance abuse and social issues. While it’s commonly accepted by rehabilitation specialists that having family support is vital to a patient’s recovery, more and more programs are now seeing the benefit that a person’s non-human family can have on recovery.

Wolf Connection, for example, pairs troubled youth with rescued wolves. One of the poignant aspects of the program is that the kids can draw parallels between their struggles and the struggles the wolves have faced to get to the sanctuary. Many were abandoned, mistreated, and neglected before being taken in. Canines, when not winning-over youth and recovering addicts, also work in other forms of social service: fighting crime, helping the blind, and alerting owners of an impending seizure, to name just a few.

Cats too are an ever-more-popular choice for companion animals. They’re natural comforters and their purring can be especially calming to people with neurological disorders. Cat expert Franny Syufy recounts the story of Oscar, the cat who rules the third floor dementia ward of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center:

Oscar has the almost mystical ability to sniff out patients who face imminent death, and he invariably stays with them until they have passed over. Often, Oscar will not leave a patient’s bedside until someone arrives.

This anecdote reveals an aspect behind the successful symbiosis between humans and pets. We cannot ask our pets to provide the comfort and healing that they do, it’s just who they are.

We don’t make outrageous demands of one another; rather, we’re allowed to be generous with each other. Extra belly rubs all around.


About the Author: Brooke Faulkner is a writer and animal lover in Portland, Oregon. Every time she walks around her neighborhood, her goal is to pet a rogue kitty. She rarely fails.

 

#BestFriendFriday: Adopt a Pet from the West Coast

Ready to adopt a new best friend? For the next five weeks, we will showcase adoptable pets from different regions across the United States and Canada. On each #BestFriendFriday our goal is to find homes for the pets featured and to raise awareness about some great shelters in North America. Take a look through this week’s pets and share with friends or family that may be looking for a new cuddle buddy or hiking partner. If you’re interested in adopting any of these pets or looking at other adoptable animals, please reach out to the shelter or rescue. Happy #BestFriendFriday!

Adopt West Coast pets


Do you really know your cat?

understanding cat behavior

We all like to think we know our feline friends really well, but they’re far more complex than we think.

It’s a common mistake to view your cat’s behavior from the eyes of a human.  Over enthusiastic cuddles, eye contact and mistaken meows are some of the most common human slip-ups.

Studying a cat’s behavior is hard as they usually know when they’re being watched, but we’ve put together some simple tips to help you understand your cat better.


Doing What Needs to be Done, No Matter the Cost

Maddison - Image 1
“I want to give my sincere thanks for all Trupanion does for our dogs.
Most recently, Maddison was diagnosed with a form of nasal dermatitis.
As with other smaller claims we have had, I am truly amazed with the easy claim process. Within a day (or maybe 2) of the visit, I have an email of the claim being processed, then I receive an email as to what is being paid and within a matter of 2 or 3 days I have the cheque in hand.

I insure our three dogs through Trupanion because our Maska died at age 3 from renal failure. She was apparently born with kidneys the size of a 10-pound dog and she was probably 80 pounds. She was an amazing dog in the two years that we had her and I miss her to this day. We spent about $25,000 on her care which involved diagnosis, treatment and daycare while she was very ill.

With Maska and with our three dogs now, I don’t hesitate to rely on my veterinarian’s advice and do what needs to be done no matter what cost – but to know Trupanion is behind me financially is so reassuring.

Since Maska, we have adopted Maverick, Maddison and Magnum who we all insure with Trupanion with pleasure. When the opportunity arises I tell people that there can be no other way – insure with Trupanion – because they are the best.

I am truly grateful.”


#BestFriendFriday: Adopt a Pet From the Northeast

Ready to adopt a new best friend? For the next five weeks, we will showcase adoptable pets from different regions across the United States and Canada. On each #BestFriendFriday our goal is to find homes for the pets featured and to raise awareness about some great shelters in North America. Take a look through this week’s pets and share with friends or family that may be looking for a new cuddle buddy or hiking partner. If you’re interested in adopting any of these pets or looking at other adoptable animals, please reach out to the shelter or rescue. Happy #BestFriendFriday!

ShelterPetGroup_8_12