People and Their Pets….Got Cat? Why I Ask About Pet Ownership During an Assessment

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When I meet with an individual to perform a vocational assessment, I ask many questions to gather information about their work and life background. One question I ask, underlying other questions regarding psychosocial factors, is about pet ownership. Asking about pet ownership during an evaluation can tell a lot about a person.

Got Cat?

Of course pet ownership is not for everyone, but if the individual is a pet owner, and a discussion develops about the topic, it offers me insight about the person. Pet ownership allows for psychosocial benefits accruing within an individual from the one-to-one type interactions with their pets.

Pet ownership can also influence broader social interactions and perceptions, experiences of sense of community, and social capital at the neighborhood level. In addition, a pet owner’s sense of health and well-being often emerges as a valuable and positive feature of daily living.

SamiJo The Love of My Life!
SamiJo The Love of My Life!

This is SamiJo, the Love of My Life!

Okay: I have 3 cats (Felix, SamiJo and Alaska), a dog (Bella), a guinea pig (Peggy), and a fish (Bluebee). Oh, and a hedge hog (Sandslash). My beloved rabbit, (a mini rex named Patches) died last week.

It’s a big responsibility to own a pet. You must provide basic care which includes food, water, shelter, veterinary care and exercise for your pet. And you must abide by the City’s bylaws around pets and animals.  For Bella’s 5th birthday awhile back, she received a dog pass to the Riverwalk Dog Park!

Patches
Patches

Patches was a grateful rabbit

Patches had plush, velvet like fur and a happy personality. A mini rex is known as “The Velveteen Rabbit”. Patches was small, weighing 3-4 pounds. He liked to lunge out of his wooden hut when his cage door was opened. Some people (like my husband) got a little frightened of this burst out thinking they were in danger! But I saw his behavior as a great show of energy! I also loved his happy hops!

 Patches loved rose petals….He ate them! 

Patches always was thankful when he was fed (and especially when he received a treat!) with a little snorty sound. I had noticed he was getting very thin, however he still was eating. And then one morning, he was not lunging out of his hut, and he was very still, yet he was breathing. I checked on him several more times.

Later in the afternoon he did lunge out, although it was a very unusual lunge. He bonked off his litter box and landed on his side. I started to pet him……continuing to stroke his very soft fur….until he died.

Think about pets you’ve known and understand why I find it important to ask about pet ownership. Have you ever gone to a dog park and learned dogs’ names, but never asked the owners for theirs? And observed their behaviors (both dogs and owners) to compile evidence about your theory of dog parks!?!

In a previous post on April 2nd 2012, I blogged about another question I ask about the person’s nutritional intake and habits. Want to Heal that Injury? Focus on Your Nutrition!  Healthy nutritional intake is just as important for your body as it is for your pets. Please feed everyone well!

For You Patches. I Love You!

Let me know if you have questions about how I perform a vocational assessment. You can also click over to the right under documents for download to see a sample vocational assessment and evaluation report.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

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