The Power of a Pet | Rustin Moore | TEDxOhioStateUniversity

The Power of a Pet | Rustin Moore | TEDxOhioStateUniversity

Translator: Theresa Ranft
Reviewer: Leonardo Silva How many of you grew up
with a pet, or have one now? Wow! That looks about right. Actually, over 70% of people in America
have at least one pet or companion animal. In fact, kids are more likely
to live with a pet than they are with their biological
father or siblings. And children seven to eight years of age
rank pets higher than people, as providers of comfort,
self-esteem, and as confidants. “Animals are such agreeable friends,
they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms”,
so wrote George Eliot. That’s a big reason we love them so much. Uh-oh! Oh my gosh! I don’t know who stuck this photo of me
when I had some pretty long hair. But anyway, back then when I was
growing up in rural West Virginia I had all types of pets and animals. I became a veterinarian,
and an equine surgeon and have treated countless
animals in my career. However, one patient sticks out. While on faculty at LSU, I treated a very special patient,
a pony named Molly. After Hurricane Katrina, Molly became
stranded in a barn for nearly ten days before she was rescued, adopted,
and taken to a nearby farm. Unfortunately, about two months later
she was attacked by a dog, and the power of the dog’s bite
crushed the blood vessels and effectively killed the lower part
of her right front leg. Her veterinarian contacted me
to ask if I would be willing to consider doing an amputation,
and fitting Molly with a prosthesis. After some debate and being very skeptical
I decided that, after watching Molly, it was, in fact, her that convinced me that if there was ever a patient
to perform this on, it was her. Fortunately, ten years later,
Molly’s still going strong. However, her purpose
and role in life have changed. She now visits cancer camps,
children’s hospitals, veteran care and elder care facilities,
and gives them hope and courage and lets them know that it’s OK
to look and be different. I will never forget the confident smile
on this young boy’s face who lost a leg to bone cancer,
or to this elderly veteran amputee, who literally came to life
when they met Molly. Molly is the perfect example of the power
of a human-animal bond. In many instances, an animal or pet is the most important or stable part
of the family structure, perhaps the only positive
relationship someone has. We know that women who are
in situations of domestic violence would oftentimes not leave it
simply because they’re fearful for what might happen
to that pet left behind. And yet, very few shelters
will allow a pet. Bev and Roy are homeless,
here in Columbus, Ohio. They have been offered shelter
and housing, but will not take it because they would have to leave behind
their four-legged furry family members. When asked why not just give up your pets,
get off the street and get into housing, they both said to me, “We cannot do that. I cannot
give up Boo-Boo or Tigger, he’s my family. That would be like me giving up my child.” Now listen to that. People in situations of homelessness
or domestic violence will not give up their pets. That’s a powerful bond. Research has shown and is recognizing
the importance of this human-animal bond on the health and well-being
of individuals, families and communities. Researchers have coined a term
for this phenomenon: Zooeyia. Zooeyia are those positive
health benefits, whether physical, social, behavioral,
emotional, mental or psychological, for people who have a pet,
or interact with one. So why care about this? The reason is it’s important for us
to convince the healthcare community of the need for change. From physicians to caregivers,
insurance providers to policymakers, they need to understand
and recognize the legitimate impact and importance of animals
on the health and well-being of people. You’re probably sitting there saying,
“OK, show me the proof.” Well I will share some examples and data that I’m pretty confident
will convince you of this phenomenon. There’s been substantial research
documenting this and I will provide some,
including some physiological evidence, including hormonal changes,
decreases in stress and blood pressure, improved weight loss, decreases
in cholesterol and triglycerides, among other health benefits. Billions of dollars are saved each year
in the healthcare system when people are healthy, and it’s been shown
that animals play a vital role in that good physical and mental health. I will share three examples with you,
where it’s been shown that pet interaction is actually having a positive benefit
on these individuals: autism, Alzheimer’s,
and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Autistic Spectrum Disorder is actually
a complex developmental disability that typically first manifests
in early childhood, and is characterized
by an inability to communicate or interact socially with others. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention have estimated that the prevalence of this has increased
to 1 in 68 births in the United States, or 1 in 54 boys. Take a moment and read this letter
from a 14-year-old autistic boy who was at a correctional facility
in Marysville, Ohio, and he was being treated for physical,
emotional and learning challenges. Isn’t it ironic that what
he identified that Oswald needed, who was actually trained
to become an adoptable dog, were the very things that he needed
as a child, but did not experience: family, love, fun, people to be around,
and a set of rules to follow. Oswald gave this boy
a chance for a better life, and that’s only one of the reasons I’m so passionate
about the human-animal bond. Research with people that have Alzheimer’s
or dementia is remarkably similar. Nearly 5,5 million people
in the United States have Alzheimer’s, and millions more
have other forms of dementia. So how can an animal or pet
help these individuals? They serve as companions;
dogs are naturally born listeners and can provide positive non-verbal
feedback and communication. And animals have been shown
to decrease anxiety, agitation and aggressive behavior. This is Alan when he was 78 years old. He has non-Alzheimer’s dementia
and was participating in an equine therapeutic
intervention study along with some others, and part of that was
to visit horses on a regular basis. After every visit to the horses,
Alan would repeatedly ask, “When can we go and see Jack? Can I ride Jack? Can I have Jack?” Well, Alan couldn’t remember much, but he never forgot
these horse experiences. In fact, four years later
on his 82nd birthday, he asked again,
“When can we go and see Jack? Can I ride him? Can I have him?” So you can see the power and importance
of the human-animal bond is as strong as ever,
regardless of age or mental capacity. Post-traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD,
is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the witnessing or experiencing
of a life-threatening or traumatic event, whether that be combat in a war zone,
a serious accident, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack,
or a physical or sexual assault. Nearly 8% of Americans will deal with PTSD
sometime during their lifetime. Meet Ryan. Ryan is a first-year student
at our college of veterinary medicine. I first became acquainted with Ryan
last year when I read his personal essay as part of his application
for veterinary school, and with Ryan’s permission
I’m going to share his story. Ryan grew up like I did
in rural West Virginia, and he had a Cocker Spaniel named Jim
that was his confidant for 11 years. When Jim died, Ryan experienced true grief
for the first time at the age of 17. Seeking adventure in his life,
he joined the army, and was later deployed to a war zone
where he was critically injured. In fact, so much so that he had to retire
from the military with medical conditions, and also with a diagnosis of PTSD. Ryan said that although
he recovered physically, the damage that was done would require
more than medicine to heal. His mother, watching him struggle,
gave him a life-changing gift, a runty Great Dane puppy
that Ryan named Izzy. In Ryan’s application, he said, “This dog saved my life. It amazes me how the bond we developed
brought me back to life. Izzy got me through some difficult times.” When Izzy died about two years ago, Ryan’s roommate noticed
that Ryan was slipping backward in dealing with his PTSD,
and he said to Ryan, “Maybe you should get another dog.”
And Ryan said, “Maybe I should.” And so together they went out
and found another Great Dane puppy, and Ryan appropriately and ironically
named this new puppy and companion “Maybe.” Ryan says that he’s thankful and grateful
for Maybe to help him get through and be successful in the stressful
and rigorous demands of veterinary school. Now this Great Dane puppy
will become a big dog, and not everyone can handle a Great Dane. So it’s wise to consult a veterinarian
about the most appropriate type of pet for a given situation, so that you can actually
achieve the health benefits that are meant to be had by having a pet. Also, not everyone can have a pet
for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, it’s been shown
that even brief interactions with a pet can have those same positive benefits. So, therefore, seek out
opportunities and activities, or you can interact with a pet or animal. Perhaps you volunteer
at a local shelter and walk dogs, or maybe just go and visit
your friends or family who have a pet. So armed with this information,
what can we do? We can tell our family
and friends about Zooeyia and the positive health benefits on us,
which is scientifically proven. We can talk to healthcare professionals
on the human side and encourage change. Medical teams should be asking patients
about pets in the medical history taking. The reason is, this has been shown
to increase rapport and trust with the physician
and the entire healthcare team, which is likely to lead to the patient revealing information
important to their health care. If you have a pet and you’re not asked
about it in the medical history taking, take the time to tell them about the pet, and the important role
it plays in your life. We can also heighten the awareness
among the healthcare profession about the importance of incorporating
a pet into a therapeutic or wellness plan, because this has been shown
to increase patient compliance. You can also simply ask your doctor
or healthcare professional how a pet might improve your health,
or that of a loved one. And finally, encourage your physician
to write a prescription for a pet, or an interaction with one. Speaking of that, and on a personal note, about a year ago
I was given this prescription: “Adopt two black miniaturize Schnauzers, and spend at least 10 minutes with them
as needed to decrease stress and anxiety.” I took that advice. (Laughter) Since adopting Travis Lincoln
and Teddy Luther in December of 2014, my life and perspectives
have changed dramatically. My stress levels are down,
my priorities are different, and my personal and professional
relationships are enhanced. I can tell you that Travis and Teddy
make me laugh and smile multiple times a day, every day. So what can we do? We can actually encourage
the healthcare profession, the public, governmental agencies,
health insurance providers, and others, to understand, accept and embrace the power and importance
of the human-animal bond and Zooeyia. Remember the power of a pet. Now I couldn’t end this without
introducing you to the two boys in my life that have actually enriched it,
and inspired this presentation. So join me in welcoming
Travis Lincoln and Teddy Luther. (Applause) (Laughter) I don’t think they’ve ever seen
these many people. Thank you very much. (Applause)

57 thoughts on “The Power of a Pet | Rustin Moore | TEDxOhioStateUniversity

  1. Great talk. Thanks Dr. Moore. I wasn't aware of the positive impact of pets on us, as well as for those with autism, Alzheimer's, and PTSD. As you suggest, I'll do what I can to influence the medical community's understanding of the therapeutic benefits. Thank you!

  2. I am pleased to announce that I contributed to this talk's translation, and the Portuguese-BR subtitles are now available.
    (July 26th, 2016)

  3. If you would like to read more about Zooeyia: An Essential Component of One Health, please see our article in the Canadian Veterinary Journal

    If you would like to read more about Pets' Impact on Your Patients' Health: Leveraging Benefits and Mitigating Risk, please see our article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

  4. Such hypocrisy from a veterinary dean who extolls the positive mental health benefits of pets yet has done absolutely nothing about the abysmal mental health issues caused by veterinary schools that treat students like crap.

  5. I have 2 cats. They help me with my PTSD and my hallucinations. I know it isn't real if they ignore it. When I have an episode they comfort me. I can't describe the amount of times these cats have kept me alive. I've been told to give them up so that I can get a house that will have space for my baby. I'd sooner take to sleeping on my sofa with my partner for the extra space than to lose my cats. I will not get rid of my cats.

  6. when one of my cats sits in my lap the other waits at the door peeping waiting for his turn he will not share me with even his brother excellent idea getting those in medical field, etc realize the power of a pet! many people are truly lonely and would physically benefit not to mention mentally

  7. I had a dog who sadly died at only 2 years old since he ate a poisonous bug or plant by accident when my mom was playing with him in a public garden, I never got over his sudden death

  8. as a person with aspergers i gotta say sometimes i can be non verbal or just cant understand humans but if i meet a dog i know that i dont have to speak or even communicate and that animal will still treat me like a living being. humans are getting better but if your non verbal at times or just getting overloaded, petting a dog or cuddling with a animal is great.

  9. I love this TED Talk and what's talked about. It just disappoints me that the doctor wants to call out specific breeds and even about talking to a vet about picking out a dog, but doesn't seem to acknowledge issues with some breeding/breeders as well as the amount of dogs that are killed in shelters.

  10. Thank you,Doctor.I can sense our society maturing into a new appreciation of our relationship with animals,and it gives me hope and touches my heart deeply.

  11. I can guarantee with 100% certainty that I would be dead right now if it wasn't for my ESA, a Basset hound mix named Dora-Bella (aka Dora-Smella) I was lucky to be given the opportunity to adopt in the summer of 2010. She has saved my life multiple times, and given me a greater quality of life ever since she became a part of my life. She is my best friend, my constant companion, and always knows when I'm upset, anxious, or in distress, and she knows just what to do to help me get through those rough times when life seems so bleak and all I can see is darkness in my future. Having her as my furever friend has been an enormous help to me, in too many ways to count. I'm very lucky to have her in my life. She's also the most well behaved roommate I've ever had 🙂

  12. Animals connect with us on a universal level.and the bonds are powerful.
    No words of communication is all thru our communicating by are very acts of kindness..which in turn our pets sense and return.
    Pets have primal instincts and tuition.?

  13. over 70% of People have a pet…. yeah. and how many of them actually give them a good life where they can run around outside every day for an hour or 2? how many leave them alone all day – alone or dont walk the dog for more than 5 minutes a day? how many are actually interested in the NEEDS of these animals? and how many of these wonderful pets end up in a SHELTER sooner or later? well lets not talk about it, right…. lets look away and pretend ist not happening…

  14. oh my god i was in a domestic violence situation while also having a substance abuse problem, i didnt want to go to rehab because i was worried about my cat who was really attached to me as I was to him, I completed my 6 months only to find out the day I got back home that my cat had DIED 2 months in to my treatment. RIP Teddy I hope you knew you were not alone in your final moments, I did not abandon you, I always worried for you. 🙁

  15. Pets help keep you feeling loved, grounded and sane in a world where loving and caring for each other in general, feels as though it is diminishing with the burgeoning pressures of day-to-day living……………………………May God Be With You.

  16. Hey guys… please follow this anti-abuse instagram if you love animals and want to stand against animal experiments. My friend made it and I'm trying to help her get the word out

    Insta: StandForPaws

  17. Awesome Video. Just confirms that dogs are awesome. I am teaching my Ruby to be my service dog and we would love your support and subscribe to our channel to watch our journey.

  18. My dog Hampton looks after me. Every night he sleeps in my arms (94 lbs lol) he spends time with me most of the day making sure that everything's cool with me no matter where I go he follows me if I lay down he lays down. If I sleep in the morning and don't wake up until 4 in the afternoon just as an example not that I really do this, he will also lay in bed until 4 in the afternoon with me. Hampton is my best friend. He knows it. He knows he's loved

  19. My life has been saved, literally over a dozen times by my best friend. Even if he had not, life would be miserable without a dog. Everyone needs a dog, few are worthy of the dogs they have. 4.8 million dogs are euthanasied each year Due to overpopulation. 5 MILLION DOGS IN AMERICA KILLED EACH YEAR! SPAY NEUTER ADOPT

  20. Unfortunately not all people can take care of pets just like some people aren’t meant to have kids. You have to love and take care of animals not just treat them as an object

  21. well does this apply for all animals or does he talk just about certain animals ? what about the needs of the animals? do they matter at all ? why do animals have to fix what humans are responsible for ? like the dog has to fix the war injuries caused by humans…. all he talks about is money and how to use animals .. not that great..

  22. I have had a dog for the last 11 years that has caused me a great deal of stress. She was a rescue that has been traumatized and although I’ve put out a great deal of effort to help her, living with her is still stressful. Not all animals make their owners lives better.

  23. I adopted my dog 2 save his life, I wasn't thinking of my own. He ended up costing me every cent I had & then some when I took out a loan when he got seriously ill but I still consider him the best thing that ever happened 3 me. I love u Zeus! ???

  24. CRIKEY! That's the 1st time I saw a hcrse with a false leg – I assumed it was impcssible, because they are always killed by a vet, if they break a leg. That is really great!
    My little Maltese terrier died 6 weeks back, it was the big 'C'. The vet felt a large liver mass & despite a big surgery & chemc tablets, she died as I held her, 8 weeks later. She was 13 yrs & 5 mths but she was always healthy, with a massive appetite – I assumed I'd get her 2 age 16 at least.
    I miss her dreadfully, & cry 4 her every day. I struggle 2 sleep – she was always right beside me, the bed is empty withcut her. I fret that she misses me & is sad – I pray she is at peace. Shelters shud admit pets – they are family. It is cruel that they refuse.
    Great Ted Talk. If this sweet guy reads this – I was desperate 4 a sedative, that I cd give my fur-baby if she started 2 die at a time the vet was shut. That sadly is what happehed. She was restless her last 8 hrs alive. I wished I had a pill 2 relax her as she died, & I had asked the vet weeks ahead but they refused. They glibly said I must take her 2 them at that time – but as she struggled the vet was shut.
    I have read that a US vet gave a lady a sedative suppsitcry 4 her elderly, termihal pup, & said she cd give him 2 much, because he was dyihg. I wish 2 be aware 4 my future ref – is there a drug I cd have had ready 2 help her as she died, if the vet was shut… Bless U 4 the advice. XXX

  25. Four dogs, three cats, a parrot, a lizard, and four laying hens… it takes a village to raise me 🙂

  26. My dog Cooper died at the beginning of 2018. He was 12 years old and everyone who ever met him fell instantly in love with his warmth and vivacious playfulness. Since his sudden passing, I've found my depression and anxiety have steadily gotten worse. It's strange to think that him getting excited when I came home or waiting by the bathroom door for me to come out or my bedroom door to greet me good morning had such an impact on my state of mind. I remember when it was the hardest for me, he was always by my side. But, now that he's not here on this earth anymore, I find it so hard to be alone with myself. I can't motivate myself to do anything. I miss him. If I think about him too much, it feels just like the moment he left.

  27. His point about homelessness is SO important, we need more shelters to accept animals. When people aren’t familiar they will often look at someone who is homeless with an animal and think of it as selfish, what an awful life for an animal. In my experience, and like this doctor pointed out, they love these animals like family. They will make sure their animals eat before they do, they will go from org to org trying to get them medical care if it’s needed. Instead of trying to force these people to give up their animals, we need to be taking them in. They also provide them hope, love, a purpose, they are necessary for that persons well being.

    Great talk, that story about Molly almost made me cry, it just hit me out of nowhere for some reason.

  28. We love our pets (sometimes more than family). Thank God Hospice (Bless You All) allowed a few visits with her pet before she passed. It was so good for her but also for her pet doggie.

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